So close, so painfully close.
The San Diego State women’s basketball team, for which Erimma Amarikwa and Khristina Hunter play, took a 15-game winning streak into the Mountain West Conference title game with Fresno State, but suffered a 76-70 loss at the hands of the Bulldogs.
The loss cost the Aztecs a spot in the NCAA tournament and relegated them to the Women’s National Invitational Tournament.
San Diego State jumped to an 18-8 lead but was outscored 37-15 the rest of the half to trail 45-34 at intermission.
The Aztecs trailed by as many as 22 at 58-36 with 15 minutes, 56 seconds remaining before roaring back to get to within two at 71-69 with 1:13 to go.
Amarikwa, a Vanden High grad, had 11 points and as many rebounds, while Hunter, a former Rodriguez standout, had four points and two rebounds.
Earlier, Amarikwa tied for a team-high 15 points and tied for a game-high 10 boards with three blocks in a 67-39 thumping of Nevada. Hunter added eight points, nine rebounds, two blocks and two steals.
In a win by the same 67-39 score over New Mexico in the semifinals, Amarikwa contributed eight points and seven rebounds, while Hunter had four points and two rebounds.
In the first round of the WNIT, SDSU (27-6) blasted UC Santa Barbara 69-46 with Amarikwa getting nine points and six rebounds, Hunter five rebounds and one block.
The Aztecs play at BYU Saturday at 1 p.m.
Chico State saw its season end with a 66-64 loss to California Collegiate Athletic Association rival Cal State Monterey Bay in the Division II West Regional at Bellingham, Wash.
Jazmine Miller (Vanden) led the Wildcats (23-6) with 16 points and added five rebounds and three steals in a team-high 32 minutes.
Miller, an all-CCAA first team selection, was also named to the Daktronics all-West Region second team.
She led CSU with 12.8 points per game, 58 3-pointers, a 45.0 3-point percentage and 81.5 free throw percentage. Miller was second at 5.3 rebounds per game and 51 steals, third with 54 assists.
“We’re a very unselfish team,” Miller said in a release. “We worked hard for each other every day. It’s been the most fun I’ve had playing basketball.”
Our Lady of the Lake, coached by former Vacaville and Vacaville Christian coach Chris Minner, fell 83-73 to Wiley in the Red River Athletic Conference title game and then lost 79-69 to Rogers State in the first round of the NAIA Division I tournament.
Chaminade also fell in the first round of the Division II West Regionals, losing 102-87 to defending national champion Western Washington.
Bennie Murray (Wood) poured in 32 points for the Silverswords (19-11) and had four rebounds, three assists and two steals. He finished the season with a team-high 65 3-pointers, was second at 18.2 points per game, third with 68 assists and fourth with 33 steals and an average of 4.4 rebounds.
Idaho had its season come to an end in the quarterfinals of the Western Athletic Conference tourney with a 65-49 loss to New Mexico State.
Mike McChristian (Wood) scored two points and had five rebounds and three assists for the Vandals (12-18). He led the team with 34 steals and 83 assists, was second with 41 3-pointers, third at 4.3 rebounds and fourth at 8.3 points per game.
Andriana Collins (Rodriguez) continued her solid pitching for UC Santa Barbara, getting the win with five one-hit innings and five strikeouts with no walks in a 10-1 thumping of Santa Clara. She then threw two scoreless innings to get the save in a 1-0 win over the Broncos.
Cheyenne Cordes had a tough go after being named Pac-12 Player of the Week the week before, gonig 1 for 13 as California (23-3) went 3-1 in the Hawaii Spring Fling. An 8-1 loss to Syracuse ended the Golden Bears’ 22-game winning streak.
Melissa Logan (Fairfield, Solano) sparkled at the plate and in the circle for Oregon Tech (23-6). She batted .364 (4 for 11) with two home runs and five RBIs to go with a four-inning stint in which she allowed three hits and one unearned run with three strikeouts, no walks as the Owls went 3-1.
Lee (21-1, 8-0 Southern States) suffered its first loss of the season but still went 5-1 for the week. Jennifer Ringle (Rio Vista, Solano) had a hit in all but one game, batting .389 (7 for 18) with nine runs scored and six RBIs, driving in two runs in the Flames’ only setback.
Missouri Baptist split its four games, losing twice to Williams Baptist without scoring a run and taking two from Lyon whiling scoring 22. Katie Payne (Wood, Solano) went 2 for 9 with three RBIs.
Marissa Escalante (Rodriguez) returned to the lineup for UC Riverside in dramatic fashion, lining into a game-ending triple play as a pinch hitter in a 5-1 loss to Northern Illinois in the opener of the Highlander Classic. As a starter the rest of the week she went 3 for 7 with a double.
Alexis Pickett (Rodriguez) started all games during the week for the Highlanders (15-15), batting 231 (6 for 26) with six runs scored, four RBIs a stolen base and a double.
Bethune-Cookman’s tough season got tougher with an 0-6 showing in Southern California, two of the losses coming to UC Riverside. Calesha Shelley (Armijo) went 2 for 15 for the Lions (3-20), but also walked five times and stole four bases, three in one game against the Highlanders.
Taylor Hill (Buckingham Charter) pinch ran three times for St. John’s (6-20-1), scoring the only run for the Red Storm in a 14-1 loss to Akron.
Oregon State (21-5) split games with New Mexico with Kiara “Ya” Garcia going 0 for 2 and getting hit by a pitch.
Alexis Konstantinopoulos made a name for herself in getting beaned twice in her four plate appearances as Saint Mary’s went 3-1 in the Capital Classic in Sacramento.
Alyssa Landrith (Vacaville) earned three victories for Rutgers (11-9), two in complete games against Iowa State and Florida A&M, the third in relief against Boston College. Earlier she was hard-luck loser in the Scarlet Knight’s 2-1, eight-inning loss to Oklahoma State. For the week Landrith (8-5) pitched 21 1-3 innings, allowing 15 hits and four runs (just one earned) while striking out 20 and walking five.
Idaho State went 2-3 in Boise State’s Spring Hill Suites Tournament with Gabby Lopez (Rodriguez) going 0 for 4 for the Bengals.
Tennesse-Chattanooga dropped four of five, being held to one or no runs in three of the four setbacks. Kasey Tydingco (Armijo, Vacaville) batted .417 for the Moccasins (15-14), scoring three runs.
Victor Romero (Armijo, Solano) and Oklahoma State remained hot, outscoring the opposition 54-4 in going 5-0 for the week. Romero batted .400 (6 for 15) with four runs scored, six RBIs, a double and a home run.
The week for Derek Crenshaw (Solano) and Eastern New Mexico was just the opposite as Greyhounds (11-10, 0-4 LSC) were outscored 59-20 in going 0-5. Crenshaw went 2 for 8 with a double and RBI.
Arizona Christian (16-12, 9-12 GSAC) took two of three from Concordia with Eddie Aplin (Vanden, Solano) going 1 for 10 with an RBI.
Patrick Johnson (Rodriguez, Solano) batted a sizzling .458 (11 for 24) as Missouri Baptist (12-5) opened AMC play with six straight victories. Johnson scored eight runs and drove in four others, adding two doubles and three stolen bases.
Ethan Gibbons (Armijo, Solano) of the Spartans got roughed up in a start against Cumberland (four hits and three runs allowed in two innings) but bounced back the next game with seven solid innings, giving up nine hits and three runs while striking out 10 and walking two in a 9-3 pounding of Park to run his record to 3-0.
Culver-Stockton (9-10, 1-1 HAAC) won three of four with Gene Nanney (Rodriguez, Solano) batting .500 (6 for 12 with four doubles, two stolen bases, four runs and three RBIs.
Geno Escalante went 3 for 9 with two doubles and two RBIs as Mount Olive (22-4, 9-3 Conference Carolinas) dropped two of three to King.
California ran its winning streak to eight games with four wins. Brenden Farney (Fairfield, Vacaville) batted .200 (3 for 15) with a 2 for 4 outing in a 3-1 victory over Santa Clara.
Against Cal, C.J. Jacobe (Vacaville) went 0 for 1 as a pinch hitter for Santa Clara (8-12). He later went 0 for 4 as designated hitter in a 7-5 loss to Michigan State.
Kagen Hopkins (Vacaville, Solano) simply dazzled by tossing a two-hit shutout for Chico State (15-5, 8-4 CCAA), fanning eight and walking two in a 3-0 blanking of Cal State East Bay.
Trevor Matern (Solano) delivered a two-run single as part of Georgetown’s three-run bottom of the ninth inning in a 5-4 win over Princeton. The Hoyas (12-6) went 4-0 for the week with Matern batting .400 (6 for 15) with a double and five RBIs, one of them on an eighth-inning sacrifice fly that tied the score in 3-2, 12-inning edging of Princeton.
James Mossholder batted .545 (6 for 11) as UC San Diego (15-12, 10-10 CCAA) won three of four, though he went 3 for 3 with an RBI in the Tritons’ 11-9 loss to Cal State Los Angeles.
Cal State Monterey Bay (18-8) swept a three-game series from Western Oregon with A.J. Quintero (Vacaville) getting the save with a scoreless seventh inning in the finale.
Friends is making no friend of foes with nine straight victories, including five last week. Domenick Romero (Rodriguez) went 4 for 14 for the Falcons (11-8) with three runs scored and a stolen base.
St. Gregory’s (10-14, 0-14) ended a week that started with three wins by a combined score of 25-5 with a 10-0 loss to Central Oklahoma. Christian Torres (Fairfield) batted .250 (3 for 12) with three runs, three RBIs and two doubles.
Aaron Beverly (Armijo) finished in a tie for 24th with 3-over-par 219 as Sacramento State finished seventh out of 14 teams in its own Sacramento State Invitational at Valley High Country Club.
Leslie Reed (Fairfield resident) was part of a 4×100-meter relay team for UC Davis that set a school record with a time of 45.26 seconds in finishing second in the Hornet Invitational at Sacramento State. The old record was 45.77 set in 2007. Reed was also 12th in the 200 with a personal-best 24.72 and ran a leg for the winning 4×400 relay team (3:46.22).
Arielle Holzendorf (Fairfield) of Sac State was 13th in the women’s 400 (58.84), while Darrell Jackson (Fairfield) was 23rd in the 1,500 (4:07.14).
Also at the Hornet Invite, Taylor Graves (Wood) ran the eighth-fastest 100 hurdles in Chico State history by finishing 10th in 14.84, while Aja Erskine (Rodriguez) ran a leg in the 4×400 relay (fourth, 3:55.98).
Kyler Martin (Vacaville) of Army was ninth in the 60 hurdles (8.08) in the ECAC/IC4A Indoor Championships in Boston and later took fifth in the 110 hurdles (14.31) and 11th in the 400 hurdles (53.52) at the Shamrock Invitational at Myrtle Beach, S.C.
Breionna Jackson of Cal State Northridge ran unattached in the Matadors’ own Northridge Invitational, taking seventh in the 100 (12.33).
Reach Paul Farmer at 425-4646, ext. 264, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/pfarmerdr.