The San Diego State women’s basketball team lost in the opening round of the WNIT Friday, leaving the University of San Diego as the lone local team to move on in the tournament.
The schools would have met in the second round had the Aztecs beaten UC Irvine (25-6), but they fell to the Anteaters 55-45 at Viejas Arena.
So Irvine will next face USD (18-13), which advanced past Long Beach State (23-10), 75-57 at the Jenny Craig Pavilion. They face off at 6 p.m. Monday at USD.
The Toreros had an early 12-2 run in their win, driven by Kasey Neubert, with six points. Long Beach State clawed their way back though, leading 25-23 midway through the second quarter, but with four points in the final two minutes, the Toreros took a 31-29 lead into halftime.
The teams played tight in the third quarter, but USD went 10-for-11 from the field and outscored the Beach 26-17 in the fourth quarter to pull away.
Neubert finished with 18 points and a career-high 19 rebounds for her fourth double-double of the season. Her 19 rebounds matched Amber Sprague for the fourth-highest single game total in USD history.
Ayanna Khalfani had her second double-double with 15 points, 11 rebounds, six assists and four steals. Kiera Oakry added 15 points.
In the San Diego State (23-11) loss, the team trailed by one at the half, 28-27, but the Anteaters took control after the break, limiting the Aztecs to six field goals in the second half.
SDSU also shot just 29% from the field for the game. Senior Mercedes Staples led the Aztecs with 16 points.
The winner of the USD-Irvine game will play the victor of the Oregon/Rice matchup. The finals for the Women’s National Invitation Tournament are set for April 1.