Last night, the San Diego State women’s basketball team proved why defense wins championships. The Aztecs (22-6, MW 12-2) watched the Mountain West 2012 regular-season Championship banner unveil from the rafter as they, along with many students who stormed the court, walked their way towards the west end of Viejas Arena to cut down the nets.
“I didn’t tell them about the banner,” SDSU head coach Beth Burns said. “That was a surprise. Our party would’ve flopped if we lost the game.”
Burns wanted her team to keep focus for Senior Night, and it paid off as the Aztecs defeated the Boise State Broncos 58-41.
Junior guard Courtney Clements led SDSU with 22 points, while junior guard Chelsea Hopkins contributed 12 points and seven assists.
Hopkins, a transfer out of Duke University, reflected on the year: “I knew I could be apart of something special, I wanted to hang a banner.”
The Aztecs went on a 23-10 run in the first half to create some comfortable separation. SDSU continued to hold its ground, limiting Boise State (14-15, MW 5-9) to just three field goals in the first half, doubling the Broncos total 28-14 heading into the break.
The Broncos entered the second half with a full-court defense, but the Aztecs’ backcourt weaved its way in-and-out through the Boise State defense consistently.
Along with Senior Night, the Aztecs got a glimpse of the future as freshman guard Ahjalee Harvey went on a the fast break and made a highlight behind-the-back pass to senior guard Sajoya Griffin to give SDSU a solid 46-30 lead. The Aztecs kept a double-digit lead the rest of the way for the victory.
“This team is the most unselfish team I have played with,” senior center Kalena Tutt said, with the net around her neck. “Ahjalee had a lay up but chose to pass it. We kind of got in trouble during practice this year for sharing the ball a little bit too much.”
Burns, for once, didn’t mind the play-of-the-game.
“Usually I try to keep my game face on, but life is too short to not celebrate joy like that,” Burns said.
SDSU will now turn its focus to the MWC tournament with its first-ever No. 1 seed to play Air Force at noon next Wednesday in Las Vegas.
“It’s going to be a grind every single game,” Clements said.