San Diego, CA — The Aztecs climbed into the No. 9 seed for the Mountain West Tournament with a 63-51 win over New Mexico.
Seniors Aleiah Brandon, Kymberly Ellison and Ariell Bostick were recognized prior to the regular season finale. The trio has combined to play in 237 games and 97 starts, averaging 18.98 minutes per game between them.
“Being able to showcase our senior class one last time at home is very emotional for me,” Head Coach Stacie Terry said after the game. “They’re a great group of girls and they’re going to be missed. They’ve helped move this program in so many different ways. Not just on the court, but off the court in changing our culture.”
Although her career was hampered by injuries, Brandon provided precious leadership on and off the court. The fifth-year senior still appeared in 73 games averaging over 12 minutes per game.
Georgia Tech transfer Ellison led SDSU to its best three-point shooting season in program history. Her 58 triples this season rank ninth in school history.
“The growth I’ve been able to see in these three young ladies over the course of the last four years has been really… I can’t even think of a word to describe it,” Terry added, almost at a loss for words.
Bostick made the most of her Senior Night. At just 5’4”, the shortest player on the court out-rebounded her teammates, setting a new career-high with 12 total boards on the night. Bostick also had a team-high five assists.
But the SportsCenter Top 10-worthy highlight from her last time on Steve Fisher Court came at the end of the first quarter. As the final seconds of the quarter ticked down, Bostick heaved the ball and nailed a three-quarter-court shot.
The crowd. Went. Wild.
The refs waived off the shot at first, but the ball was clearly out of her hands as the buzzer sounded once they checked the replay. The shot gave the Aztecs an 18-16 lead going into the second quarter.
After the game, Bostick described her last time at Viejas Arena in one word.
Happy Senior Night, indeed.
With seven lead changes in the first half, the (exceptionally tall) New Mexico team kept the game tight in the first two quarters with the Aztecs up 31-30. However, the second half was a different story.
San Diego State extended its lead quickly. Scoring fast, they took the lead to 39-30 with 6:33 left in the third quarter.
A visibly frustrated New Mexico head coach Mike Bradbury received a technical foul. He had to be careful when he argued with refs the remainder of the game. Bradbury benched several of his starters, seemingly grasping at straws.
Although the Lobos trailed 49-36 going into the final quarter, Bradbury kept his team competitively in the game by forcing turnovers. New Mexico couldn’t reach the Aztecs’ lead and fell in their final regular-season game, 63-51.
Up next, both teams will begin the 2017 Mountain West Women’s Basketball Championship. On the brink of the tournament, the Aztecs’ motto going forward is: Why not us?
“Someone has to win it,” Terry said. “So why not us?”
With Nevada’s loss to Colorado State, San Diego State has clinched a No. 9 seed in the Mountain West Tournament and head to Las Vegas on a two-game win streak.
“I’m ready to cut down nets,” Bostick eagerly said after the game. “My goal at the end of the day is to cut down the net. Tonight is definitely going to be the momentum to push us.”
The Lobos have a first-round bye as the No. 5 seed. The tournament begins March 6 at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas.