San Diego State handed the Rams womenâ€™s basketball team their third consecutive loss after scoring 31 of the gameâ€™s final 43 points to win 73-54 at Moby Arena Wednesday night.
Sophomore Meghan Heimstra tied the game with two free throws with 10:41 remaining in the game, but the Aztecs responded with a 10-2 run and never stopped until the game was out of reach.
â€œThey just started shooting lights-out,â€ junior guard Sarah Hemmings said. â€œWe struggled with the press there in the second half.â€
SDSU outscored CSU by 16 in the second half by making six of 12 shots from beyond the three-point line.
â€œReally, only six players were able to contribute tonight,â€ head coach Kristen Holt said. â€œWe were worn out.â€
While they improved from the teamsâ€™ earlier meeting in terms of turnovers, the Rams still gave the ball away 21 times, which led to 15 points for the Aztecs.
â€œTwenty one is still too many to beat a team like that,â€ sophomore Kim Mestdagh said.
SDSU collected 11 steals on the evening and blocked five shots.
CSU trailed 27-24, entering halftime following a defensive minded first half. Both teams shot under 35 percent and committed a combined 20 turnovers.
Neither team scored from 8:58 remaining until 3:24 left in the first half, when Heimstra made a free throw to tie the game at 19.
â€œWe didnâ€™t take advantage of their inability to put the ball in the basket,â€ Holt said.
Heimstra and Chatilla van Grinsven scored 16, and macde 15 rebounds between them. Mestdagh put in 13 on the night, 11 in the second half, to go along with five assists and seven rebounds.
Other than that trio, no CSU player made more than four points. Two players did not score at all.
â€œThat puts a lot of pressure on our top three scorers,â€ Holt said.
SDSU pulled down 18 offensive boards and out-rebounded CSU 48-36.
â€œWe just didnâ€™t box out,â€ Mestdagh said. â€œTheir guards fly in there and get offensive boards.â€
The Aztecs scored 16 second-chance points, mostly on put-backs or kick-outs after securing the offensive board.
The loss all but guarantees the Rams the eighth seed in next weekâ€™s Mountain West Conference Championships. Depending on how the final games of the season shake out, CSU could match up with SDSU again in the first round.
â€œI feel a lot better about playing them in the tournament now than after the first game,â€ Holt said. â€œI canâ€™t fault our effort tonight.â€
Womenâ€™s Basketball Beat Reporter Kyle Grabowski can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.