Stanford won two games and San Diego State one in the NCAA women’s basketball tournament sub-regional, played Saturday and Monday at Cox Arena.

But Stanford assistant Kate Paye took home a third victory from the first two rounds played in San Diego.

Paye is in her second year at her alma mater after spending the previous two seasons at SDSU. Aztecs head coach Beth Burns hired Paye upon her return to Montezuma Mesa for her second stint of rebuilding the program.

Paye’s work the first two years was instrumental in building the SDSU roster that upset DePaul 76-70 in the first round. Even though the Aztecs were overwhelmed Monday, 77-49, by the No. 2 nationally ranked Cardinal in the second round, the DePaul victory was one of those benchmark wins for a program.

Paye watched the DePaul-San Diego State matchup with more interest than her usual scouting task on Saturday before Stanford took the floor and beat UC Santa Barbara 74-39 in the second game of the first-round double-header.

“I couldn’t be happier for San Diego State’s program,” Paye said. “What an accomplishment for them to beat DePaul. I have tremendous respect for the job Beth Burns has done to rebuild the program. It was a special treat for me to be able to be here and see them win an NCAA tournament game. It gave me chills to watch them play so well.”

Burns credits Paye for opening the northern California pipeline that has fed the Aztecs junior Quenese Davis (Sacramento Rio Americano), sophomore and younger sister Coco Davis (Sacramento High), junior Jene Morris (San Francisco Urban) and Baylor transfer Jessika Bradley (Sacramento High).

Morris and the Davis sisters formed a three-guard offense, but next year the Aztecs add more size with Bradley as a 6-foot-2 junior. She sat out the 2008-09 season as a transfer after originally attending a national power as a highly recruited player.

Morris also is a transfer, from Cal. She made first-team All-Mountain West Conference and was the defensive player of the year. Both Morris and Bradley thought of SDSU when looking for a school to transfer to because they were familiar with the coaching staff and players on the roster.

SDSU finished the regular season as Mountain West Conference co-champions and with eight votes in the Top 25 poll by the Associated Press. Look for the Aztecs to break into the Top 25 next year.

“The staff has put in a lot of hard work here,” Paye said. “This is a program on the rise.”


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