Spartans enter Saturday heavy favorites vs. Air Force

By Daniel Reedy:

Although Wednesday’s overtime victory over San Diego State was thrilling, the San Jose State women’s basketball team looks to win today’s game with a more comfortable lead.

The Air Force Falcons have flown in for a Mountain West Conference matchup with SJSU and look to shut down the Spartans’ superstar guard Dezz Ramos.

Ramos gave a Stephen Curry-esque performance on Wednesday, scoring 34 points and hitting a step-back jumper with 0.5 seconds left in overtime to win the game.

The 34-point night was Ramos’ fifth 30-plus-point performance of the season but she had plenty of help in the 81-80 victory.

Senior forwards Paris Baird and Jasmine Smith were each hefty contributors on both ends of the floor. Baird pulled down seven rebounds and hit two three-pointers while Smith put up 14 points and 12 rebounds to continue her streak of posting double-doubles in each conference game this season.

Guard Myzhanique Ladd was also a big factor for SJSU. Ladd scored 10 points, grabbed two steals and added four assists. She was tenacious on SDSU’s end of the court, pulling down four offensive rebounds and fighting through traffic for layups.

The Falcons are heavy underdogs in the matchup, entering today 2-12 and winless in four conference games. SJSU beat Air Force by a combined 44 points in their two contests last season.

The Spartans are 8-2 all time against the Falcons and SJSU’s head coach Jamie Craighead (44-64 in her Spartan career) faces off against Falcons’ Chris Gobrecht who is 3-41 for Air Force.

The Falcons are on a five-game losing streak — their last win dating back over a month ago — and are outscored by an average of 16 points per game.

Air Force does out-block opponents by almost one block per game but is the only team in the MW that doesn’t have at least one player who averages double-digit scoring.

The Falcon’s highest scorer is freshman guard Mariah Forde who averages 9.6 points per game and scored 23 points — going 5/8 from range — in Air Force’s last victory which came against Utah Valley (6-11).

As heavy favorites, SJSU will look to stay unbeaten at home in conference play.

But the Spartans were out rebounded by 12 against SDSU and Air Force enters today with only a minus-4 rebound differential. SJSU carries a minus-11 tally.

SDSU stole 20 rebounds offensive rebounds, twice as many SJSU pulled down at the Aztecs’ end of the floor.

Baird and Smith will need to be strong on the glass, especially on the offensive end if San Jose State expects to be the latest team to rout the Falcons.  

The Spartans host Air Force at 2 p.m. at the Event Center.


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