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Basketball regains momentum at home

The women’s basketball team added another win to its impressive home record of 4-1 last Thursday night at the Peter Stott Center, where it defeated the San Diego State Aztecs, 59-55.

The Aztecs (5-6) stayed close throughout the game, never letting Portland State take a significant lead. With the score at 26-28, the Vikings were only up by two at the beginning of the second half when they distanced themselves by as many as eight points with 13:08 left to play. San Diego State answered with four straight three-pointers from guard Jamey Cox, allowing the team to take the lead, 45-43, with 9:28 remaining.

Free-throw shooting proved to be a key factor in the PSU win when, with seven seconds remaining and the game tied at 55-55, Viking Nikki Petticrew stole an Aztec inbound pass and was fouled by three-point phenom Cox. Petticrew, who struggled that night from the field with 2-11 shooting, drained both foul shots.

The Aztecs went on to turn the ball over on their next possession and were forced to foul Petticrew (Portland State’s all-time free-throw percentage leader) once again. Petticrew added another two foul points to her scoring total, ensuring the Viking win in the process.

Cox was the leading scorer for the Aztecs, with 18 points and 6-12 three-point shooting. Nicolette McCarthy added 15 points, three steals and six rebounds. Amber Fouse had seven points and five assists. As a team, the Aztecs were 49 percent from the field (22-of-45) and 4-of-8 from the line.

Center Sarah Hedgepeth, who has become more of a presence for the Vikings in recent games, led the team with 13 points and five rebounds. Guard Heidi Stuart had 11 points and three assists. Petticrew, although coming up mostly dry from the field, contributed nine points and five steals. She also had one three-pointer in the game, her 100th as a Viking. PSU had only a 34.6 field-goal percentage for the game, but were 21-of-27 from the free-throw line.

This win, while putting an end to a four-game losing streak, could also indicate an improved PSU team. Last season, the Vikings lost to San Diego State, 73-51.

So far this season, the Vikings have proved that they can win at home but have not been as successful on the road. Next up, they will attempt to improve on their away-game record in California, where they face the Sacramento State Hornets on Thursday night (see women’s basketball preview story).