March 7, 2012
LAS VEGAS, Nev. - The eighth-seeded Air Force women's basketball team dropped a 68-58 decision to top-seed San Diego State Wednesday afternoon in the opening game of the 2012 Conoco Mountain West Women's Basketball Championship.
Junior Katie Hilbig (Castle Rock, Colo.) scored a team-best 15 points to lead the Falcons, while classmates Dymond James (Brambleton, Va.) and Alicia Leipprandt (Ubly., Mich.) added 14 and 11 points, respectively.
For the Aztecs, Mountain West Newcomer of the Year Chelsea Hopkins scored a game-high 19 points, while conference Player of the Year Courtney Clements added 18 points and 11 rebounds.
While San Diego State (23-6) got out to an early 6-2 advantage, the Falcons went on an 11-0 run to take the lead. Air Force (6-24) was up by as many as nine points with just over eight minutes to play in the opening half, gaining the advantage on the boards and holding Clements to just four first-half points. However, the Aztecs were able to cut the margin back to one before going into the locker room trailing 34-32.
San Diego State, which shot over 53 percent from the field after the break, opened the second half with six straight points to go back on top, and never trailed again. Air Force struggled from the foul line in the final stanza, missing 8-of-12 free throws in the period. In addition, the Aztecs controlled the glass after the break, outrebounding the Falcons 21-12.
"We had a focused game plan," said Air Force head coach Andrea Williams. "My team and kids gave everything they had, great energy and focus. We were disappointed [with the loss]. We thought it was a team we could beat, even though they're number one in the league. I'm just proud of the way my team came back and focused for the third time seeing them."