WBB Preview: West Coast Swing Tips Off At San Diego State
5 min read

WBB Preview: West Coast Swing Tips Off At San Diego State

Utah State WBB tips off a west coast swing this afternoon, heading to San Diego State for the first of two matchups in the Golden State over the next four days. WBB Preview:
WBB Preview: West Coast Swing Tips Off At San Diego State
Photo via Utah State Athletics/Garett Graf

Kicking off its two-game west coast swing, Utah State will rematch San Diego State on Saturday afternoon. The Aggies lost a tough one when the Aztecs visited Logan, in a game that featured former stand-out Aggie Adryana Quezada in her return to the Spectrum. She had 20 points, more than enough to defeat Utah State by 14.

While Quezada led the victorious campaign, Cheyenne Stubbs led the losing one. She put up a game-high 21 points and added an assist and four steals. Ivory Finley also put together a nice game against the Aztecs. She had 13 points, six rebounds and an assist. Samiana Suguturaga had ten points, and Macy Smith came off the bench with five points.

Utah State is 4-20 (1-12) and now holds a four-game losing streak, which is starting to look like another nose dive. A win for Utah State could be a pivotal moment in the final leg of the season.

San Diego State is 16-10 (7-6) and is coming off a failed comeback attempt against Nevada. The Aztecs trailed 44-30 at the half and fought back to tie the game at 69 with 2:16 left in the game, but couldn’t hold on. They fell 72-71 and are looking to get back on track against Utah State.

Players To Know

Mia Davis: Davis averages just 3.3 points per game, but when she visited Logan, she dropped 18. The freshman is a career 44.8 percent three-point shooter, meaning she's certainly capable of that kind of quality, but she's been doing that on very little volume with only 11.5 minutes per appearance. But, she caught fire and shot a blazing 5 of 8 from deep against the Aggies.

She's scored zero points in her past three games, so she might not seem like a threat, but she had scored zero, zero, and three points in the three games leading up to her 18-point eruption last game, so it’s impossible to predict.

Not wanting to get burned again, Utah State will be watching her closely. Of course, crafting a game plan around someone who averages so little playing time could be a recipe for disaster, but ignoring her clearly isn’t viable, so the Aggies find themselves in a bit of a predicament.

It’s entirely possible that Davis just has Utah State’s number – (she sure seemed to last time) – but if she does come back to earth this round, Utah State will have to be on the lookout for another emerging standout performer stepping up. The Aggies can't afford another surprise 18-point performance.

Adryana Quezada: After making herself very comfortable in her old stomping grounds, Quezada is looking forward to welcoming her old team to her new home. Last game, the star forward had 20 points, eight rebounds and an assist, tied for her second-highest-scoring performance of the season, just one point behind her season high.

She's not a three-point shooter, but in the games following the last meeting, she looked like one, dropping a pair of triples on Boise State and a third against Colorado State. She hasn’t attempted a three since then, but if the senior is looking for a facet to add to her game, that would be it.

She also hasn’t returned to the 20-point heights since her game in the Spectrum, but Quezada is still rolling. She's coming off back-to-back 15-point nights, and was excellent in her last contest, earning 15 points on 6-of-9 shooting with eight rebounds, two assists and a block. The Frisco, Texas native brings an average of 14.7 points, 6.5 rebounds and 2.0 assists into the game against Utah State.

Kim Villalobos: Unsurprisingly, Villalobos tore the Aggies up the last time they played, too.

That's unsurprising because she tears up just about every team she comes across. The 6-0 star from Los Angeles has been a difference-maker for the Aztecs ever since she arrived in town three years ago. Now in her fourth year, she is reaching new heights, particularly as a scorer. She's scoring 10.6 points per game, up by more than two full points from last year when she averaged 8.5 PPG. She’s also good for 5.9 rebounds, 2.2 assists, 1.7 steals and 1.0 blocks per night, her best statistical season in each category.

Not only is this her best season yet, Villalobos has only gotten better throughout the campaign. She is coming off a slow game against Nevada scoring just two points, but outside of that, she's been on a heater since conference play began. When the teams met last, she had already earned four double-doubles in the MWC, and she'll head into this matchup averaging 11.4 points, 7.3 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 1.5 steals and 1.0 blocks per league game.

Stats To Know

Turnover Rate: Despite doing a pretty good job of protecting the ball against Boise State, the Aggies are still giving the ball away about a quarter of the time. Utah State has a turnover rate of 24.7 percent, which is dismal on its own and even worse when compared to San Diego State’s 12.8 percent rate.

The Aggies have been hindered by the weight of their turnover rate all season, but against a team that protects the ball better than most teams in the country, this statistical difference could thrust defeat on the Aggies even with all else being equal.

Of course, all else isn’t equal – which is why one team has one conference win and the other has seven. Utah State has plenty of problems that San Diego State doesn't have, but this one is the most distinct of the bunch.

Free Throw %: It's a stat so fundamental that it borders on banal, but it has decided its fair share of conference games, and San Diego State stands out, so it's worth noting. The Aztecs shoot an impressive 77.4 percent from the line as a team. Not only is that good enough for the 22nd-best percentage in the country, but it's also quite a bit higher than Utah State’s 71.6 percent.

At the line, the Aztecs are led by Abby Prohaska, the high-scoring senior in her second year with the Aztecs after spending three years at Notre Dame. She’s the second-leading scorer on the team, partially due to her 3.3 made free throws a night. She's shooting 84.4 percent from the line, while Sarah Barcello has the best percentage on the team at 86.1 percent.

Rebounding Rate: The Aztecs are just a weird team when it comes to the boards. They're inept on offense and adept on defense, resulting in a solidly middling overall performance. They have an offensive rebound rate of 25.0 percent, 333rd nationally. On the other side, they have a defensive rebound rate of 72.7 percent, which is all the way up at 53rd nationally. Those combine for an overwhelmingly unremarkable total rebound rate of 49.2 percent, right around average.

Utah State’s stats are much more straightforward, and below average on all fronts. The Aggies have an offensive rebound rate of 28.8 percent, a defensive rebound rate of 63.8 percent, and a total rebound rate of 47.6 percent.

Quezada leads the Aztecs with 6.5 boards a game, followed by Villalobos with 5.9 and Prohaska with 5.7. Utah State’s leading rebounder is Stubbs, who did not record a single rebound when she played San Diego State earlier in the year. This is certainly cause for concern, as the team has become overly reliant on her boards. While she looks to be more imposing on the glass, the Aggies can also look to Suguturaga, who is averaging 3.9 RPG, to step up and help the team compete in the rebounding battle.

Parker Ballantyne covers Utah State women's basketball for The Aggship. You can follow him on Twitter at @PShark14 for updates on the Aggies.