Ramos, Spartans sink Aztecs with buzzer-beater

By Sandeep Chandok:

An MRI revealed today that Dezz Ramos truly does have ice in her veins and perhaps a bit of “Mamba blood,” too.

With 4.6 seconds remaining in the overtime period, the ball was inbounded to the senior guard at the top of the key. She took one dribble to her right, crossed over to her left, took a step-back dribble and rattled in a mid-range jumper with 0.5 left on the clock to give the Spartans an 81-80 victory over Socal rival SDSU.

The win puts the Spartans at 5-11, 2-2 MW, on the season, and drops the Aztecs to 7-8, 2-2 MW.

Ramos had struggled to make a basket towards the end of regulation but that didn’t stop her from pulling the trigger when called upon.

“Well, coach was yelling at me to drive … I didn’t hear that,” Ramos said. “My stepback felt good, obviously I was missing, but, it felt good during that time.”

The Spartan savior’s final statline consisted of 34 pts/7 ast/4 reb and two 3’s and in case you’re wondering — she’s not available in any fantasy basketball leagues.

Ramos’ heroic night was reinforced by strong performances by fellow teammates Jasmine Smith (14p/12r), Rachol West (10p, two 3’s) and Myzhanique Ladd (10p/8r/4a).

Ladd’s MRI also revealed ice in her veins.

Down 69-71 with less than 90 seconds to play, Ladd drained a three from the right corner to give the Spartans a one-point lead.

Apparently Ladd had no recollection of the score at the time of her clutch triple.

“I just took the shot … I wasn’t looking at the score,” Ladd said. “Wasn’t focused on that — was more focused about the game and getting back on defense.”

Ladd and Ramos weren’t the only ones making timely baskets down the stretch, however.

Aztecs’ guard McKynzie Fort was the player to watch for and unfortunately for the Spartans, watching is what they did. Fort hit the game-tying shot in the final minute of the fourth period, got a putback with 14 ticks left in OT to bring SDSU within one and finally, she drove to the basket for an uncontested layup to give the Aztecs an 80-79 lead with five seconds left — we know what happened after that.

Fort finished the game with 29 points and 11 boards to which fellow junior Ladd recognized Fort’s talent.

“McKynzie’s a great player,” Ladd said. “She’s the same grade as me so I’ll be seeing her again my senior year.”

Perhaps this is a matchup to monitor in the two team’s next meeting later this season.

When that rematch occurs, the Spartans will have to make a valiant effort on the glass as they were outrebounded 53-41 last night.

Regardless, head coach Jamie Craighead will take the win and values the progression of her team.

“I’m breathing and really happy that we could hit that final shot,” Craighead said. “We’ve been in an overtime game at Colorado State so it was good just to see our growth and maturity.”

The Spartans will look to keep the momentum rolling on Saturday when they face off with Air Force.

Tip-off is set for 2 PM at The Event Center in San Jose.

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