Air Force Takes on Top-Seed San Diego State at Mountain West Championship

    March 6, 2012

    Senior Jamela Satterfield


    The Air Force women's basketball team heads to Las Vegas, Nev., this week for the 2012 Conoco Mountain West Championships, being held March 7-10. The eighth-seeded Falcons will face top-seed San Diego State in the first game of the tournament, slated for 12:00 p.m. (PT) on Wednesday.

    LAST TIME OUT...
    Snapping a 14-game losing streak, the Falcons captured a 52-47 victory over New Mexico Wednesday evening at the Academy. Junior Katie Hilbig tallied her third double-double of the year to lead the Falcons to their first conference win of the year, finishing with 12 points and a career-best 14 rebounds, while sophomore Cherae Medina added a career-high 12 points.

    SCOUTING THE FALCONS...
    Air Force, seeded eighth in the tournament, closed out the regular season with a 6-23 overall mark and 1-13 ledger in the Mountain West.

    Junior Alicia Leipprandt leads the Falcons in scoring for the season, averaging 12.7 points per game, while classmate Dymond James is right behind with 12.3 points and a team-best 6.4 rebounds per contest. In conference play, James leads the Falcons in both scoring and rebounding, averaging 13.1 points and 5.9 rebounds per game.

    SCOUTING THE AZTECS...
    San Diego State, the top seed in the Mountain West Championship, ended the regular season with a 22-6 overall record and 12-2 record in the Mountain West.

    Courtney Clements leads the Aztecs with a league-best 17.3 points per contest, while Chelsea Hopkins adds 9.9 points and a conference-leading 6.5 assists per game.

    HOW WE RATE...
    In the latest conference statistics, Air Force ranks fourth in the Mountain West in rebounding offense (37.3) and offensive rebounds (13.2) per game.

    HOW THEY RATE...
    In the latest conference statistics, San Diego State leads the Mountain West in scoring defense (54.4), scoring margin (+11.2), three-point field goal percentage defense (.278), rebounding margin (+6.6), turnover margin (+3.0), offensive rebounds (16.6), defensive rebounding percentage (.670) and offensive rebounding percentage (.429), while ranking second in six other statistical categories.

    LAST TIME AGAINST THE AZTECS...
    Despite winning the second half, the Air Force women's basketball team dropped a 59-46 decision to league-leading San Diego State on Feb. 18 in Viejas Arena.

    Junior Dymond James scored 16 points to lead the Falcons, while classmate Katie Hilbig notched her second double-double of the season, finishing with 10 points and 10 rebounds. Also scoring in double figures for Air Force was sophomore Cherae Medina with 10 points.

    Courtney Clements led the Aztecs with 16 points, while Chelsea Hopkins added 15 points and 10 assists.

    San Diego State cruised to a 33-15 advantage at the intermission, aided by an 18-3 run in the middle of the opening period. The Aztecs dominated on the boards in the first half, outrebounding the Falcons 25-9, as three Air Force players were saddled with three fouls each. The Falcons also struggled to convert at the foul line, missing 7-of-10 free throws before the break.

    Air Force started the second half on a hot streak, going on a 9-2 run to start the period. The Falcons eventually cut the margin to nine point following a three-point play by Medina with just over 10 minutes remaining, but the Aztecs responded with the next two scores to push their lead back to 13 points and retained control the rest of the way.

    The Falcons shot almost 43 percent from the field in the second half, while the Aztecs knocked down just 25.9 percent of their shots after the break. Air Force had a slight edge on the glass in the final stanza, grabbing 20 rebounds compared to 16 for San Diego State.

    AIR FORCE AT THE MOUNTAIN WEST CHAMPIONSHIPS...
    Air Force has a 2-12 record all-time at the Mountain West Championships. Both of the Falcons' victories came against Colorado State, defeating the Rams 47-46 in 2007, while capturing a 66-63 victory in 2011.

    Meanwhile, Wednesday's contest will mark the first-ever meeting between San Diego State and Air Force in the Mountain West Championship.

    JAMES NAMED TO MOUNTAIN WEST ALL-CONFERENCE TEAM...
    Air Force junior Dymond James has been named to the Mountain West 2011-12 Women's Basketball All-Conference team as an honorable mention selection, earning the first all-conference accolades of her career.

    Despite missing part of the season due to injury, James concluded the regular season averaging a career-best 12.3 points and a team-leading 6.4 rebounds per contest, while also ranking among the league's leaders in free-throw percentage (.805).

    James, who is the first Falcon to receive all-conference recognition since 2010, is just the ninth Air Force player to be named an All-Mountain West selection.

    MOUNTAIN WEST CO-PLAYER OF THE WEEK...
    Junior Katie Hilbig was named the Mountain West Women's Basketball Co-Player of the Week on March 5, sharing the award with UNLV's Kelli Thompson. It marks the first weekly honor for Hilbig and the first for an Air Force player the 2008-09 season.

    Hilbig registered her third double-double of the season to lead the Falcons to a 52-47 victory over New Mexico in the regular season finale. She finished the game with 12 points and a career-high 14 rebounds as Air Force won its first conference game of the season, ending a 14-game losing streak. It was also the first time Air Force had beaten the Lobos since January 1992. Hilbig, who grabbed eight of her 14 rebounds on the offensive glass, also registered three steals and two assists in a career-high 35 minutes of action.

    In addition to earning conference honors, Hilbig was also named the Air Force Athlete of the Week for the first time in her career.

    ENDING THE STREAK...
    Air Force's win over New Mexico on Wednesday snapped a 14-game losing streak for the Falcons, as they captured their first conference win of the season. It also marked just the second-ever victory for Air Force against New Mexico, and the first since the initial meeting between the two teams in January 1992.

    ANOTHER DOUBLE-DOUBLE FOR KATIE...
    Junior Katie Hilbig registered her third double-double of the year on Wednesday, tallying 12 points and a career-high 14 rebounds to lead Air Force in their first conference win of the year. Hilbig's 14 rebounds were the second-highest single-game total for a Falcon this year, and marked the fourth 10+ rebound performance in her career.

    CHERAE'S CAREER DAY...
    Sophomore Cherae Medina scored a career-best 12 points to help lead Air Force to a 52-47 victory over New Mexico on Wednesday. Medina scored the Falcons' final three points from the free throw line to ice Air Force's first conference victory.

    SENIOR NIGHT...
    Prior to Wednesday's game versus New Mexico, the Falcons honored the lone member of their senior class, team captain Jamela Satterfield. With her performance against the Lobos, Satterfield matched the school record for career games player with 118, while also moving into the top 10 in the Academy's Division I record books for career steals with 102.

    ANOTHER NEW LINEUP...
    Air Force has been experimenting with its starting lineup all season, with the newest combination unveiled versus New Mexico on Feb. 29. The Falcons have used 16 different starting lineups this season.

    UP NEXT...
    The winner of Wednesday's game between Air Force and San Diego State will move on to Friday's semi-finals, taking on either fourth-seed TCU or fifth-seed Wyoming in the 12:00 p.m. (PT) contest.

     

     

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