- The Washington Times - Saturday, March 21, 2009

SAN DIEGO (AP) - Home-court advantage never looked so good to the San Diego State Aztecs.

Jene Morris tied her career high with 35 points to lead the Aztecs to a 76-70 win over DePaul on Saturday in the NCAA tournament’s opening round.

San Diego State improved to 15-0 this season at Cox Arena, and ran its overall home winning streak to 17.

The 10th-seeded Aztecs (24-7) get one more game at home this season, on Monday night against the winner of the UC Santa Barbara-Stanford game in the Berkeley regional.

Natasha Williams scored 22 and Deirdre Naughton had 16 for DePaul (23-10), the No. 7 seed.

Playing in the NCAA tournament for the first time since 1997, the Aztecs opened the second half with a 15-4 run to take control of the game.

The game was tied 36-all at halftime before the Aztecs used a harassing defense and three 3-point shots _ two by Davis and one by Morris _ to take a 51-40 lead.

SDSU’s biggest lead was 55-44 with just over 9 minutes left.

DePaul got back into it behind Williams, who made three straight shots to cut the Aztecs’ lead to 60-55 with 4:38 left.

DePaul got within four three times in the final minutes. The Blue Demons could have gotten within one basket but Morris, a junior guard from San Francisco, stole the ball with 1:03 left to prevent a possible breakaway layup.

San Diego State made all 10 of its free throws in the final 1:43 and was 23-of-29 overall. Morris went 12-for-14.

Morris set her career high with 35 points at UNLV on Jan. 26.

SDSU has won four NCAA tournament games in its history but has never advanced past the second round. It had lost its last three NCAA tournament games.

DePaul was playing in the NCAAs for the seventh straight year. It had won its opening-round game three of the last five seasons.

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