#42 San Diego State Women's Basketball 2012-13 Preview

San Diego State Aztecs

Overall Rank: #42
Conference Rank: #1 Mountain West
San Diego State Women's College Basketball 2012-2013 Team Preview
San Diego State Team Page


San Diego State reached the NCAA Tournament last year and, with four starters returning, that is the expectation again this time around. Coach Beth Burns has built a solid program with the Aztecs and their success will not end any time soon. The Mountain West should be a little tougher this year, but San Diego State is one of the few teams with the talent and depth to reach the NCAA Tournament even if they should falter in the conference tournament.

2011-12 Record: 25-7, 12-2
2011-12 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Beth Burns
Coach Record: 268-179 at San Diego State, 349-244 overall

The SDSU backcourt will again lead the way. Chelsea Hopkins is a superb point guard who averaged 10.7 points and 6.5 assists per game last season. She also added 2.3 steals. On both ends of the floor, Hopkins is the leader of this team. However, when the big shot needs to go down, Coach Burns will call on Courtney Clements. Clements, a 6-0 senior, is easily the best shooter on the team, but she will use her size and strength to attack the basket with relative ease too. Those two can put a lot of points on the board in a hurry. Kiyana Stamps is the often overlooked starter on the perimeter, but she did rank third in the team in scoring last year with 8.0 points per game. Like Hopkins, Stamps is not much of a shooter, but the 5-9 junior can score, play solid defense and help out a bit on the glass.

The problem in the backcourt is the outside shooting. Clements knocked down two long balls per game last year, but that was about it for the Aztecs. Sajoyia Griffin was a decent shooter off of the bench, but she is gone. Ahjalee Harvey is the backup point guard and will not provide that offensive shooting spark off of the bench. Junior college transfer Danesha Long may have to fill that role if nobody else drastically improves their shooting numbers. It worked well enough for San Diego State last year having Clements knock down a vast majority of the three-pointers, but having another option would take some of the pressure off of Clements.

Final Projection:
Finding a new shooter would be great, but it will be much easier for those shooters to be productive if the Aztecs found a consistent interior scorer. Malia Nahinu is back after starting 24 games last season. Nahinu, a 6-6 senior, only averaged 15.7 minutes per game last year, but she was quite productive during those minutes. Most of her offense comes from rebounds though. Nahinu will not likely become a consistent double digit scorer all of a sudden, but she is a superb defender and can swat away a slew of shots and alter countless others. Without fellow center Kalena Tutt, the lone lost starter, San Diego State will have to rely more heavily on Chairese Culberson. Culberson showed plenty of promise as a freshman and is a beast on the glass. If she develops an offensive game, this is a team that can make a nice run in March.

Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA

Projected Starting Five:
Chelsea Hopkins, Senior, Guard, 10.7 points per game
Kiyana Stamps, Junior, Guard, 8.0 points per game
Courtney Clements, Senior, Guard, 17.4 points per game
Chairese Culberson, Sophomore, Forward, 4.6 points per game
Malia Nahinu, Senior, Center, 6.3 points per game