Aztecs Fall to Air Force 51-49

San Diego State’s Sophia Ramos had her game-winning three point attempt hit off the front of the rim as the buzzer sounded. The Aztecs fell 51-49 against Air Force on Saturday afternoon at Viejas Arena. 

The Aztecs had two plays drawn up, as they were unsure if Air Force would be in man or zone defense. The team had to think on the fly, and Ramos had a good look, but it just didn’t fall.

Missing shots was the story in this one. The Aztecs went 1-10 from three-point range and shot only 34% from the field.

“We knew it would be a defensive battle and those games are fun if you come out on top,” senior Taylor Kalmer said. “We had a couple of defensive slip-ups at the end we have to learn from that and take it to the next one.”

It was a hard defeat for the Aztecs, as they lost ground in the conference standings. “We missed an opportunity tonight to take a big step up in our conference,” Head coach Stacie Terry-Hutson said. “Boise State lost at home tonight, Wyoming is in a tight one, and UNLV is losing right now.”

If the Aztecs handled their business, it could’ve propelled them to a better spot in the Mountain West. However, Kalmer set an Aztecs record on Saturday. She has scored at least 10 points in 19 straight games.

“To be honest, I don’t really care because we lost.” Kalmer said, “I’m just trying to help my team any way I can.”

Terry-Hutson heaped praise onto Kalmer, as she noted her high usage rate along with her energy on both sides of the ball. She finished with 11 points, three rebounds, and four assists.

“We have historically been more of an offensive team,” Zayn Dornstauder said. “Tonight we showed our defensive side.” She finished with 11 points and five rebounds.

This is what the Aztecs can build on, their strong defensive outing as March approaches. Up to this point, the Aztecs let a couple of games slip past them with errors on defense down the stretch.

“Defensively I was really proud of our effort up until the last couple plays,” Terry-Hutson said. “I thought we did a good job on the scout, they knew what was coming before it was coming and we were able to get in there and make it ugly.”

The Aztecs’ defense wasn’t the problem today. It was their offense that couldn’t find a rhythm, Ramos and Kalmer combined to shoot 9-for-32 from the field.

“Neither of us could really get into a groove,” Kalmer said. “It’s frustrating that we couldn’t take care of business at the end.”

The Aztecs will play again at home on Feb. 15 against Boise State.

Written by: Daniel Farr

Aztecs aim to keep Air Force grounded on senior night

Aztecs senior Malik Pope takes the court against Fresno State. Photo Credit: GoAztecs.com (Ernie Anderson)

The San Diego State men’s basketball team has had its ups and downs this season. After being selected to win the Mountain West conference in the preseason, the Aztecs find themselves fighting for a sixth place finish in the conference alongside Fresno State. The record does not reflect the fight and passion Aztecs head coach Steve Fisher and his squad have put in, as most of the losses were by 10 points or less.

The Scarlet and Black have an opportunity to avenge one of those losses as Air Force travels to Viejas arena for the final home game of the season on Thursday night. The last time these two teams squared off, Air Force walked away with a 60-57 nail-biting win, leaving the Aztecs with a frustrating trip home.

There’s no doubt that this game will a lot of hype around it. It’s not only a revenge game and the last home game, but it’s also senior night in San Diego. Dakarai Allen, Matt Shrigley, D’Erryl Williams, and Valentine Izundu will all be honored pre-game in the starting lineup alongside Malik Pope. Allen, Shrigley and Williams started their SDSU careers during the 2013-14 campaign.

Air Force comes into this game boasting an offense that averages nearly 75 points per game, while the Aztecs average just 69 points per game. The strong suit of this SDSU team has and always will be defense, thanks to the program and philosophy of coach Fisher.

Beneath Fisher’s tutelage, SDSU has allowed just 63 points per game, a tremendous feat in Division I basketball.

Keys to the game for SDSU will be defensive pressure, handling the ball, and keeping the foot on the gas in the second half. The Aztecs have averaged at least a 10-point lead in each of their conference losses this season, and it has been the primary concern among Scarlett and Black fans.
Tipoff is at 7 p.m. at Viejas arena Thursday night. Coverage will be provided live via Twitter from @KCRsports.