Stellar First-Half Propels Utah State Women Over UT Arlington Thursday
Jan. 24, 2013
ARLINGTON, Texas - With a 93-83 win over UT Arlington Thursday at the College Park Center in Arlington, the Utah State women's basketball team tied its season-high with its third-straight win.
With the victory the Aggies are nearing the .500 mark with a 9-10 overall record and a 6-2 Western Athletic Conference mark. The win was only the third of the season on the road. UT Arlington has now lost seven-straight games, falling to 3-15 overall and 1-7 in league games.
Senior guard Devyn Christensen had her second-straight 20-point game with 21 points to go along with seven assists. She also matched her career-high with six steals. Sophomore forward Franny Vaaulu scored 18 points and brought down seven rebounds. Senior guard Jenna Johnson scored 16 points, while junior guard Jennifer Schlott added 10.
The Aggies ended the game with nine different players scoring at least one point.
UT Arlington had five players score in double figures led by 15 points from both Aron Garcia and Desherra Nwanguma. Both had double-doubles with 10 and 13 rebounds, respectively. Laila Suleiman scored 14 points, 11 of which came from the charity stripe.
Utah State scored the first seven points of the game, leading to an early Maverick timeout. UT Arlington recovered nicely scoring the next six to cut the lead to 7-6. After briefly tying the game, USU jumped out to a 20-11 lead with help from six points from Johnson.
The Aggies took their first 10-point lead of the game after a behind-the-back pass from Christensen found sophomore guard Elise Nelson. Freshman guard Makenlee Williams, who is second in the WAC in three-point field goal percentage, made her first two treys to push the lead to 30-17 with 8:07 left in the half.
Utah State continued to have balanced scoring the remainder of the first half with eight of the nine players that had played finding the basket.
The Mavericks went 3:15 seconds without scoring until a Garcia jumper with 1:19 left in the half cut the score to 43-25. USU took as big a lead as 20 points in the first half, entering the locker room with a 47-27 advantage.
In the first half, Utah State was led by 12 points from Johnson who also added five boards and two steals. Christensen scored eight points, while Schlott and Vaaulu both had six first-half points. The Aggies out-scored the Mavericks 25-18 in points in the paint and had eight fast-break points.
UT Arlington's Nwanguma had a double-double in the first half with 11 points and 10 boards. Garcia added eight points and four boards in the first 20 minutes. USU won the battle of the boards in the first half, 22-21.
In the second half, UTA scored six-straight points to cut the Aggie lead to 62-46 with 11:46 left in the game before a pair of free throws by Nelson put USU back up 64-46.
The Mavericks' leading scorer, Nwanguma, fouled out of the game with 9:16 left, making UTA vulnerable. Senior guard Pualei Furtado scored five-straight points for USU to up the lead to 69-50 with under nine remaining. The loss of Nwanguma seemed to only bring the Mavericks together as the comeback began. What once was as big a lead as 22 points in the second half, was whittled away slowly by UTA.
UT Arlington continued to fight cutting the lead to 71-60 after a Kiara Parker lay up with under eight left. A pair of free throws by Suleiman got the lead under 10, 73-64 with under seven remaining.
USU turned on the gas increasing its lead to 80-69 after a layup by Nelson. With both teams in the bonus, free throw shooting became a major factor with the Mavericks displaying strong shooting from the charity stripe. UTA got as close a three points, 81-78, with 2:20 left. USU went back up by nine with under a minute left after back-to-back threes by Christensen.
The Aggies made six free throws in the final minute of the game to seal the victory, 93-83.
For the game Utah State was 29-of-60 from the field good for 48.3 percent which was its second highest this season. The Aggies went 6-of-18 from three for 33.3 percent. USU was once again solid from the free throw line, making 29-of-35 for (82.9 percent). The Mavericks were 30-of-73 from the field, which was good for 41.1 percent. UTA was 3-of-9 from three (33.3 percent) and 20-of-26 from the charity stripe (76.9 percent).
Utah State concludes the brief two-game road trip, traveling to Ruston, La., to take on Louisiana Tech on Saturday, Jan. 26 at 6 p.m. (MT).
Utah State's women's basketball tickets are available through USU's website at www.UtahStateAggies.com or by calling the ticket office toll free at 1-888-USTATE-1 or (435) 797-0305.
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