It All Went Right For The Aztecs On Senior Night

San Diego State women’s basketball team honored Taylor Kalmer, Zayn Dornstauder, Monique Terry and Baylee Vanderdoes before Thursday’s game, as it was their final time playing in Viejas arena.

“Baylee [Vanderdoes] and Monique [Terry] have been with me all four years and I’m amazed with their growth on and off the court. Both of their roles transitioned into starters. I’m proud of the effort they put in.” Head coach Stacie Terry-Hutson said. “Zayn [Dornstauder] has been here two years and I don’t know that we’ve had a dominant post player since I’ve been here and she’s been able to really work on the offensive end. She’s so skilled so she’ll be missed. TK [Taylor Kalmer] is so competitive and has such a good work ethic. These four seniors have all helped changed our culture.”

The Aztecs won their home finale and final regular season game 81-68 against Nevada. Hot shooting throughout the entire game left little in doubt as the Aztecs closed out their season. 

SDSU made 49% of their shots, which included shooting 50% from downtown. The team also had four players who scored in double-digits and two players who scored eight points.

 “We need a third scorer.” Terry-Hutson said. “Sophia [Ramos] and TK [Kalmer] take up so much of the offensive load it’s nice to see Zayn [Dornstauder] and Tea [Adams] takeover some nights.”

Their offense wasn’t the only part of their game that clicked. After getting on track, the Aztecs defense played with grit and held the Wolfpack to 34.9% shooting.

“It’s senior night so give everything you have so I think that’s the mentality too,” Vanderdoes said. “I always give it my all, but it was just different tonight.”

The Aztecs started the game down 12-4, but after a few adjustments they took a 42-28 halftime lead.  Kalmer ended the first half with 15 points and made her first eight shots.

Jokingly, Kalmer said she couldn’t recall making eight shots in a row. “I don’t know, maybe in H-O-R-S-E or something.” She finished with 20 points and extended her streak of scoring at least 10 points per game to 24.

As a team, the Aztecs shot 55% from the field and 83% from three in the first two quarters. A 15-0 run out of halftime gave them a 24 point lead with less than two minutes remaining in the third.

“We were able to build a lead and give ourself a cushion and we see once we do that we have a great shot at beating some good teams.” Kalmer said.

SDSU earned their ninth win in conference play and it’s the most they’ve had since the 2014-15 season. The Aztecs also finished 9-8 at Viejas this season, but it still hasn’t sunk in that it was their final home game, especially for the seniors.

“It hasn’t sunk in.” Vanderdoes said. “I feel like I’m just gonna put my shoes back on and practice here tomorrow.” 

It was a close knit group who cared for each other tremendously this season. The over 1,000 fans in attendance could see how locked in the Aztecs were tonight, on both sides of the ball. as

The team wanted to send their four seniors out with cheerful memories of Viejas arena.

“My made of honor will probably be Monique [Terry]. Vanderdoes said. “Zayn [Dornstauder] and I got really close and TK [Kalmer] makes be better. She demands that of everyone on the team and we all meshed really well together and we all love each other.” 

SDSU will be the No. 6 seed and face No. 11 Utah State in the first round of the Mountain West Tournament, which starts March 1 in Las Vegas.

“In February I think we won six out of the last nine and two of those losses were in the single digits.” Terry-Hutson said. “I think we’re playing good basketball right now so I’m excited to see what we travel with to Vegas.”

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

SDSU wins big against Nevada, 70-56

The University of Nevada visited Viejas Arena on Sunday flaunting a record of 19-5 (8-3 in the conference), which had them tied for first place in the Mountain West.
San Diego State men’s basketball, on the other hand, sat at 13-10 (5-6 in the conference), an abysmal record compared to what Aztec fans have seen in recent years. Coming off a their first loss to San Jose State University since 1999, SDSU was in desperate need of a morale boost.
However, all those in attendance for Sunday’s affair witnessed the Aztecs return to their dominant ways.
The Scarlet and Black flashed energy on defense, playing with the passion and pride SDSU supporters have longed for all season. They came into the game with a clear chip on their shoulder against the top team in the conference, looking the part of a team with something to prove.
Junior forward Malik Pope started off hot for the Aztecs, converting three of his first four shots from the field, including a three-pointer.
Senior guard Dakarai Allen followed suit with two-handed jam to put the crowd on their feet.
Junior guard Trey Kell later watched a historic two-point field goal find the bottom of the net, as he became the 31st player in school history to reach 1,000 career points.
Nevada chipped away at SDSU’s lead late in the second half. Senior forward Matt Shrigley, however, silenced their momentum with seven points in the final two minutes, forcing the Wolf Pack to finish the second half down 42-28 with their tail between their legs.
The Wolf Pack never left the doghouse.
SDSU’s sophomore forward Zylan Cheatham kept the Aztecs’ energy levels up with a few huge plays, including two monstrous dunks and an emphatic block. He finished the contest with just four points, but his strong defense and contagious energy left a positive impact that fell far beyond the box score.
Following Cheatham’s lead, the Aztecs nursed a comfortable lead through the remainder of the second half behind Kell’s team-high 17 points and sophomore guard Jeremy Hemsley’s 15 points.
Defensively, the Aztecs were at their best against Nevada’s leading scorer, senior guard Marcus Marshall. Though he entered the contest averaging 20.1 points per game, Marshall was held to just four points on 1-10 shooting.
Overall, this was a great win for Aztec basketball, beating first place Nevada by 14 points and gaining some of that swagger back. Now, they need to ride this momentum into their next game against Utah State on Wednesday.

Rams batter Aztecs’ shield in the closing minutes, defeat SDSU 78-77

San Diego State men’s basketball fell just short of the mark, as Colorado State University battled back from a 13-point deficit in the second half to beat the Aztecs, 78-77.

CSU senior guard Gian Clavell was the man responsible for the Rams’ game-winning shot, putting the game on ice with a layup with just 3.8 seconds left in the contest.

“Once I saw [SDSU junior forward Malik] Pope kind of reach in, I pulled it up and it went off the backboard,” Clavell said. “Thankfully it went in.”

The Aztecs’ student section wasn’t thankful of Clavell, as the Scarlet and Black faithful dialed their chanting efforts towards him all night. Unfortunately for The Show, their chants only seemed to fuel Clavell’s scoring frenzy.

Clavell’s layup pushed his point total to a career-high 37 points on 14-23 shooting from the floor.

The Aztecs, however, dominated the first half of Saturday’s affair with momentous dunks from both Pope and senior center Valentine Izundu. The two’s efforts helped SDSU build a 10-point lead at halftime.

The Rams, of course, bucked back.

A barrage of three-pointers fueled CSU’s comeback efforts, as the team shot an outstanding 87.5 percent (7-8) from downtown in the second half. With that, the Rams finished the day shooting 55.6 percent (10-18) from behind the arc, doubling the Aztecs’ measly 27.3 percent three-point percentage.

Pope did his best to keep SDSU’s offense afloat, as he led the team in scoring with 19 points. He also picked up a team-high seven rebounds, filling the void of injured sophomore forward Zylan Cheathum.

“Missing Zylan is a big piece, so of course I’ll have to step my game up on rebounding and all the ways that he helps this team,” Pope said. “But we all did that. All five of us. Everyone else on the court, it wasn’t just me. We just had to pick up the slack [in the things] he was really good at. [But we’re] just waiting. Just waiting, hoping he gets back soon.”

Cheathum was a late scratch from the lineup due to a “stress reaction” in his foot. His status will remain day to day.

SDSU’s second half collapse against CSU shares similarities to the team’s 60-57 loss to Air Force on Tuesday. Both games featured an Aztec team incapable of maintaining a lead in the closing minutes.

Though SDSU was able to crash the offensive boards late in the contest, they simply couldn’t push their shots through the bottom of the net in the clutch moments of the game.

Additionally, the Aztecs’ offense left a lot of points off the board because of missed free throws, as the team shot just 67.8 percent (19-28) from the line. Pope went as far as to completely miss the basket on one of the team’s final free throws, one of many SDSU miscues late in the game.

Despite the mistakes, SDSU head coach Steve Fisher believes his team did everything necessary to win the game.

“When you have five turn overs, score 77 points, get to the free throw line 28 times and they are 14, you should win the game,” Fisher said. “And we didn’t.”

The loss adds to the Aztecs’ current downward spiral, as they have now fallen to 11-9 overall and 3-5 in conference play.

Fisher will look to right the ship before the Aztecs’ next home affair against the University of Wyoming on Tuesday, Jan. 31.

Thumbnail/Featured Image: Jan. 28, 2017; San Diego, CA, USA; Colorado State Rams guard Gian Clavell (3) is defended by San Diego State Aztecs guard Jeremy Hemsley (42) as he shoots. Credit: Jake Roth, USA TODAY Sports