Jan. 26, 2013
RUSTON, La. - With five seconds left in overtime, senior guard Jenna Johnson knocked in the game-winning shot to lead Utah State women's basketball over Louisiana Tech, 76-75, at the Thomas Assembly Center Saturday in Ruston, La.
With the win, Utah State evens out its record at 10-10 after starting the season 2-8. The Aggies improve to 7-2 in Western Athletic Conference action. With the overtime loss, Louisiana Tech falls to 9-10 overall and 5-4 in league play. USU has now won a season-high four-straight games.
USU is now 2-2 in overtime games this season and 2-1 in extra time in league contests.
The win against the Lady Techsters was only the third ever in the 17 meetings. All three wins have come in Ruston with USU also earning wins during the 2011-12 season and the 2009-10 season.
The Aggies only had two players score in double figures led by sophomore forward Franny Vaaulu's 20 points. Vaaulu also had a career high six steals to go along with a team-leading eight rebounds. Johnson was second in scoring with 15 points and seven rebounds. Sophomore guard Elise Nelson was stellar off the bench for Utah State with eight points and six rebounds in 21 minutes of action.
Louisiana Tech's Brittany Lewis led all players with 21 points and 15 boards. After a slow first half, Whitney Frazier ended the game with 16 points and eight boards.
The Lady Techsters came out fast, scoring the first six points of the game. A Makenlee Williams three cut the lead in half, 6-3. USU made only one of its first seven shots from the field. In the first six minutes of the game, the Aggies had only five points, yet only trailed 7-5.
A Stephanie Bairstow three with under 10 to play cut the Lady Techster lead to 16-15. USU also used the charity stripe cut down the Louisiana Tech lead.
Foul trouble plagued the Aggies throughout the first half, with Louisiana Tech in a bonus situation with over five minutes remaining.
Despite cold shooting, the Aggies kept the game close with solid defense. USU ended the first half with 10 steals and two blocks.
Neither team was really able to get hot in the first half, Louisiana Tech took the slight 23-21 advantage into the locker room. Vaaulu had a strong first half with eight points and five steals to go along with two blocks. Both Williams and Bairstow added three points in the half.
Louisiana Tech was led by seven points from both Lewis and Kelia Shleton. The Lady Techsters out-rebounded the Aggies 23-19 in the first 20 minutes.
USU tooks its first lead of the game at the 19-minute mark of the second half after a three by junior guard Jennifer Schlott. In a game with 11 lead changes, the Aggie advantage didn't last long as the Lady Techsters re-took the lead after Lewis layup with 18:32 remaining.
After a quiet first half, Frazier came alive in the second half, scoring six-straight points to give Louisiana Tech a 38-36 lead. The Aggies bounced back with six-straight baskets to take a 42-38 advantage with under 13 left in the second half.
After another Frazier bucket, Louisiana Tech took a 52-47 lead which increased to 56-47 after a Lewis basket. After not scoring at all in the first half, Frazier had 12 points in the first 14 minutes of the second half. The nine-point lead was the biggest of the game for the Lady Techsters.
In a game that saw two of the Aggies' leading scorers, senior guard Devyn Christensen and Schlott, struggle, Vaaulu was able to help in the scoring department. USU bounced back with six-straight points to tie the score again, 62-62 with less than two minutes left. Both teams responded quickly with baskets to tie the score again at 64-64 with 44.2 seconds remaining.
With solid defense, the Aggies prevented the Lady Techsters from making the game-winning basket with 8.6 seconds left in overtime.
The overtime period continued to be a battle as both teams started strong in the extra period. Shelton gave LA Tech a three-point advantage before a pair of Schlott free throws cut the lead to one with 2:10 remaining. Neither team scored again until Johnson took the pass from Schlott in the paint with five seconds left to give USU the lead.
Utah State's tenacious defense continued to shine in overtime as the Lady Techsters did not score the final 3:03 of the game.
The Lady Techsters took one more shot at the basket with Kanedria Andrews missing a three as time expired.
For the game, USU was 27-of-74 from the field good for 36.5 percent. The Aggies were 4-of-18 from three for 22.2 percent which was below their season average. USU was once again solid from the free throw line, making 18-of-24 for 75.0 percent. Louisiana Tech was 28-of-65 from the field, which was good for 43.1 percent. The Lady Techsters were also 4-of-18 from three for 22.2 percent and 15-of-18 from the charity stripe 83.3 percent.
Utah State now returns home for three-straight games, beginning with Idaho on Thursday, Jan. 31 at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum at 7 p.m. USU will begin the month of February with first-place Seattle, on Saturday, Feb. 2 at 7 p.m.
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.
Fans can follow USU women's basketball on twitter at http://twitter.com/USUwbb or on facebook at http://facebook.com/USUWBB, or Utah State athletics on twitter at http://twitter.com/USUAthletics or on facebook at http://www.facebook.com/USUAthletics.
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