San Diego, California - Junior McKynzie Fort scored a career-high 28 points and freshman Baylee Vanderdoes posted a double-double in an 80-70 victory for San Diego State women’s basketball over San Diego Christian in the Aztecs’ home opener Monday night.
San Diego State’s first win of the season puts their record at 1-1 to open the 2016-17 campaign.
“We had a really tough week,” head coach Stacie Terry said. “The UC Riverside loss was tough on us and then we came back and had two really tough, challenging practices. I knew that we wouldn’t have our legs today and that was by design. I wanted the team to fight through the fatigue and I thought they did a good job of being able to get the win after what I knew would be a challenging game.”
The game was in the Aztecs’ favor before the opening tip. San Diego Christian failed to put their starters in the scorebook prior to the game and was assessed a technical foul. Kymberly Ellison made the shot for the 1-0 lead prior to the opening tip.
After that, the first quarter was a back-and-forth affair. SDSU’s largest lead of the frame was a 19-14 advantage as 1:50 was on the clock. But SDCC went on a 6-0 run to take its only lead of the game at 20-19. The Scarlet and Black were able to match that, possessing a 25-20 margin at the end of the first.
The next quarter was speckled with highlight reel shots. As 3:57 remained in the second quarter, Fort, while was falling on to her back, lifted a left-handed shot that swirled through the hoop for the 34-30 lead.
Minutes later, as the buzzer to send both teams to the intermission was sounding, Ellison released a half-court shot than sailed through the basket, giving SDSU a 45-37 lead into halftime.
The offense continued to fire in the third quarter. With just over six minutes remaining in the frame, Monique Terry’s three-point attempt fell just short but Vanderdoes scooped up the rebound and laid in the shot for SDSU’s 52-37 lead.
As the quarter progressed, San Diego State’s defense stiffened, shutting the Hawks out from any field goal attempts until 2:50 remained in the period. At that point, San Diego Christian tightened the Aztecs’ margin, going on a 9-2 run to end the frame and make the score 56-50.
But the Aztecs’ shooting caught fire again in the final frame, as the team shot 64.3 percent (9-for-14) in the fourth period, out-shooting the Hawks, 24-20, to get the final 80-70 win.
With 10 points and 10 rebounds, Vanderdoes became the first freshman to notch a double-double since Cheyenne Greenhouse accomplished the feat against Sacramento State (Nov. 14, 2014) with 19 points and 11 rebounds.
“Baylee is going to be a phenomenal basketball player for us when it’s all said and done,” Terry said. “She has the toughness, she has the skillset, she can get knock-down jumpers, she can score around the rim, she is a fighter. I love what she’s been able to show already but I see so much more potential in her and her best basketball is ahead of her.”
Fort’s career-high 28 points went alongside 11 made field goals and 18 attempts, both career bests. Geena Gomez, who was 4-for-8 with two treys for 14 points, logged 32 minutes, her most in the Scarlet and Black. Also recording double-digit points was Ellison, whose three three-pointers tied a career-high mark. Meanwhile, Bostick’s eight helpers matched her most as an Aztec.
The Aztecs will contend with crosstown rival San Diego Thurs., Nov. 17 at USD’s Jenny Craig Pavilion. Tip is set for 6 p.m.
“These games against UC Riverside and San Diego Christian were great tune-up games for us ahead of USD,” Terry said. “They’ll allow us to put our best foot forward against a very good USD team. We needed these two games to prep us.”