Jan. 8, 2011
LOGAN, Utah - Despite junior forward Ashlee Brown's fifth double-double of the season and leading for nearly the entire first half, Utah State was overtaken and lost to Fresno State, 79-69, Saturday night in Western Athletic Conference women's basketball action at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum.
By tying a game-high with 21 points, Brown posted her fifth 20-point outing of the season to go with a game-best 11 rebounds, as USU slid to 7-8 overall and evened its conference mark at 1-1. Fresno State won its second in a row and third in the last four games to improve to 10-5 overall as the Bulldogs began defense of their three-straight WAC regular-season championships with a 1-0 record. Saturday was FS's 19th-consecutive WAC regular-season victory after running the table with a 16-0 mark last season. The Bulldogs lead the all-time series with the Aggies, 10-2, winning the last six meetings.
Brown was USU's only player in double-figures, as sophomore guard Jenna Johnson added eight points and eight rebounds while senior guard Alice Coddington tallied eight assists, seven points and six rebounds. Friday night was Coddington's third-straight game with five or more assists as solidified her spot at No. 3 on USU's career assists list and now has 267. Taylor Richards, who was in attendance Friday night, is the school record holder with 371 assists while current Aggie assistant coach Danyelle Snelgro is No. 2 with 336 helpers.
Fresno State had four players in double-digits, led by Taylor Thompson's 21 points. Thompson entered Saturday averaging just 4.9 point per game and bettered her previous career-best of 13 points. Hayley Munro added 13 points off the bench while starters Jaleesa Ross and Taja Edwards tallied 12 and 10 points, respectively.
USU shot 25-of-54 (46.3 percent) from the field, hitting just 2-of-9 (22.2 percent) from three-point range, while Fresno State hit 45.3 percent (29-of-64) of its field goals, including netting 13-of-33 (39.4 percent). The 13 three-pointers in a season-high by a USU opponent, topping the previous high of 11 by Wyoming.
For the second-straight game, the Aggies made more free throws than their opposition attempted, as USU was 17-of-21 (81.0 percent) while FS was 8-of-14 (57.1 percent). The 81.0 percent by the Aggies was their second-best percentage of the season while the 17 made free throws ties USU's second-most for the second game in a row and the third of the season.
Utah State opened the game with an 8-0 lead, but Fresno State cut the gap to 16-15 on a three-pointer by Ross at the 8:41 mark, before USU scored five unanswered as Coddington hit a trey from the left corner for a 21-15 Aggie advantage with 7:22 on the first half clock. The Bulldogs bounced back to take their first and only lead of the half at 26-25 mark on a steal and layup by Thompson, but the Aggies regained control with a 7-1 spurt to take a 32-26 lead with 2:16 to go after a Johnson jumper.
The burst was started by a three-pointer from the left wing by senior forward Stacey Howard in her first action since Dec. 8, missing the last five games with an injury. Senior guard LaCale Pringle-Buchanan also returned to limited action Friday, seeing the court for the first time since Nov. 29, missing eight games with a similar injury.
Thompson hit a long, high-arching three-pointer from the right wing that banked in with five ticks left on the clock to pull Fresno State within 34-32 at the half. USU slid to 6-5 when leading at intermission while FS improved to 2-5 when trailing at the break.
The game's lone tie came at 40-40 with 16:25 to go, before Fresno State took the lead for good on a 17-4 run over the next eight minutes, as Bree Farley converted a three-point play at the 8:35 mark for a 57-44 Bulldog lead. After Brown pulled USU within 64-53 on three-point play of her own with 5:56 to go, Fresno State opened its largest lead of the night at 69-53 with 5:11 left on a layup by Marnique Arnold. Utah State got within eight points on three occassions, the last at 77-69 with 32 seconds remaining, but the Bulldogs held the Aggies at bay by hitting 5-of-7 at the free throw line in the final 1:01 of the game to secure the win.
Utah State continues its three-game WAC homestand by hosting Nevada on Saturday, Jan. 15 at 3 p.m. Nevada is 12-3 overall and 1-1 in WAC play after beating Boise State, Saturday, and plays at New Mexico State on Thursday, Jan. 12.
Friday's game will be on tape delay and televised on Comcast channel 6 on Monday, Jan. 6 at 5 p.m.
To purchase tickets, or for more Aggie basketball ticket information, fans can contact the USU Ticket Office at 1-888-USTATE-1 or 435-797-0305, in person at the USU Ticket Office inside the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum, or on-line 24 hours a day at www.utahstateaggies.com under the "tickets" drop down menu. Fans can follow USU women's basketball and Coach Pebley on Twitter at http://twitter.com/UTAHSTATEofmind and Utah State Athletics at http://twitter.com/USUAthletics.
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