Having a winning streak snapped is one of the toughest obstacles any team can face. How players react to a loss can easily determine the rest of the season. The San Diego State women’s basketball team (17-5, 7-1 MW) saw its milestone 13-game streak come to an end last Saturday, but the team already has one thing in mind. Quite simply: It’s time to start another streak.
“We’re in first place; people want what we have. TCU wanted it, They had a plan, executed it and it worked,” junior guard Chelsea Hopkins said. “But we’re still in position to win the conference.”
Although Hopkins and the Aztecs are already looking ahead, credit must be given to their accomplishment.
SDSU’s average margin of victory during the run was a dominating 16.2 points per game.
Not to mention it happened at the perfect time. SDSU has established an “Aztec Basketball” intimidation factor according to Hopkins.
“Our defensive intensity has brought us to where we are today,” Hopkins said. “We all know what we have to do as a team to win and get back on track. The biggest factor will be our performance in practice.”
Averaging 11.5 points, 6.4 rebounds and 6.9 assists in conference play, Hopkins has led the team, doing it all with a knee that she said is only 80 percent healthy.
Hopkins was selected as the preseason Newcomer of the Year in the conference, but has been playing as if she’s been an Aztec for much longer. Technically she has, redshirting last season after transferring from Duke University.
She was unanimously selected as the SDSU captain at the end of last season even though she had never played a game. The Aztecs selected Hopkins primarily because of her leadership during practice last season, but lately the team has been lacking focus.
SDSU head coach Beth Burns mentioned the team has struggled in recent practices from a concentration standpoint. After last Saturday’s loss, the Aztecs have been humbled and practice is all the players are looking forward to now. The team has a bye this Wednesday, but that doesn’t mean SDSU will take any days off as UNLV will arrive this Saturday to Viejas Arena.
“Maybe we would’ve taken a little break if we didn’t lose, but since we lost I have to stomach it for the entire week. That’s the hardest part, but it will push me to get back in the gym with my team quick,” Hopkins said.
So now it all comes full circle. These next few strings of practices are Hopkins’ perfect chance to prove once again why she was selected as Aztec captain.
“We have a target on our back,” Hopkins said. “We’ll be locked in and I know we’ll be ready.”