COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. A fourth quarter surge lifted Air Force to an 88-77 victory over Mountain West foe San Jose State (1-17, 0-7), Saturday afternoon, in Clune Arena. The Falcons, who improved to 7-12 overall with a 3-5 mark in league play, were led by sophomore co-team captain Kaelin Immel who scored a career-high 30 points.
Immel, who knocked down a season-high 11 field goals, had a team-high five assists, collected five rebounds, blocked two shots and picked off a steal. The Beaverton, Oregon, native shot 11-23 (.478) from the field with three of the buckets coming from down range.
Air Force's freshman contributors put on a show of force as three fourth-classmen registered double-figure scoring marks. Riley Snyder, who averages 10.4 points per game, dropped 18 on the night while shooting .583 from the field. Haley Jones shot .556 from the field to score 13 points for the fourth time this season while registering her first collegiate double-double with 10 rebounds. Jones also led the team with four steals. Briana Autrey, whose defensive effort changed the course of the game in the fourth quarter, scored 13 points while shooting .500 from deep and .400 from the field. She had three steals and collected five rebounds.
Sophomore guard Emily Conroe played a significant role in the win, snagging a season-high nine offensive rebounds while adding eight points to the final tally.
San Jose State shot lights out in Clune Arena, shooting more than double their .246 three-ball average (.579) while going .500 from the field. The Spartans had their best shooting in the third quarter, going 75.0 percent from deep and 58.8 percent from the field. San Jose State had five scorers in double-figures, led by Megan Anderson and Raziya Potter's 14 points apiece. The Spartans' bench combined for 34 points.
Air Force crashed the boards, collecting 47 rebounds to the Spartans' 30. SJSU also turned the ball over 18 times to the Falcons' 16.
"San Jose has been in every game they've played, including the top teams," head coach Chris Gobrecht said. "The way they were shooting the ball today made me a little nervous-- they were really in a rhythm."
"Autrey making the defensive plays in the fourth quarter is what turned the game around for us," continued Gobrecht. "We knew we had to get them off balance because they were way too comfortable. We got a lot more aggressive defensively and they started to miss some shots and we started to hit ours and that was the difference. We've been that team and we're not that far removed from being them, I know how frustrating it is to have a lead like that and lose it, but I think they're going to be okay, they've got some kids that can play."
Air Force hosts San Diego State in the second meeting of the season, 7 p.m. MT, Wednesday, Jan. 30, in Clune Arena. The Falcons aim to redeem a tough 66-56 loss to the Aztecs earlier this season, in San Diego.