Jan. 28, 2012
MOSCOW, Idaho - Behind 22 points from junior guard Devyn Christensen, the Utah State women's basketball team stopped a tough Idaho squad, 78-70, in Moscow on Saturday night.
With the win, the Aggies improve to 13-6 overall and 4-1 in Western Athletic Conference action. This is the best start ever for Utah State since joining the WAC for the 2005-2006. This is also the first time that USU has won its first three WAC road games with wins against Idaho, Louisiana Tech and New Mexico State. With the loss, Idaho falls to 5-16 overall and 0-5 in league play.
For the third-straight game, Christensen has scored 22 points and has now scored at least 20 points in the last four games. Senior forward Maddy Plunkett also added 12 points for the Aggies. Senior forward Ashlee Brown added a team-high six rebounds. Utah State ended the game with 15 steals.
Idaho was led by a great performance from Alyssa Charlston who scored a game-high 29 points. Stacey Barr added 20 points for the Vandals.
The Vandals came out strong, jumping out to an early 8-2 lead with 17:02 left in the first half. Charlston scored four of the Vandals first eight points. Christensen scored the first eight points for the Aggies to tie the scored 8-8 with less than 16 minutes left in the first half. The guard continued her hot streak going on to score the first 10 points for the Aggies.
The Vandals could not miss early on, making seven of their first 11 field goals. Barr started the game 3-for-4 from beyond the arc for nine early points.
A pair of free throws by Brown put USU up briefly 24-23, before a Charlston lay up gave UI the lead, 25-24, with less than nine minutes left in the half. The Aggies then went on a 14-0 run to take a 38-25 lead, as USU began to take control of the half. Ashley Walters stopped the lengthy run with a pair of free throws.
Junior guard Jenna Johnson's first points of the half gave Utah State its biggest lead of the half, 46-27, with less than a minute remaining.
In the first half, the Aggies were led by 19 points from Christensen which was just three points shy of her season high. Junior center Banna Diop added seven points, while freshman forward Vaaulu scored six in the first half. Defensively, USU was solid with 10 steals, including three apiece from freshman guard Elise Nelson a and Christensen.
Idaho was led by 10 points from leading scorer, Charlston, while Barr added nine points in the half. Both teams shot well in the first 20 minutes, with the Aggies shooting 54.3 percent (19-of-35), while the Vandals shot 42.9 percent (9-of-21).
In the second half, the Vandals kept fighting with strong play from both Charlston and Barr, cutting the lead to 68-56 with less than six minutes left in the game. USU maintained a double-digit lead most of the second half.
Late baskets by Brown and Nelson put the Aggies up 77-63 with 2:20 remaining to help secure the win. The pesky Vandals would not go away and were able to get the lead down to single digits due to the strong play by Charlston.
Utah State ended the game, shoting 29-of-61 (47.5 percent) from the floor. The Aggies were 6-of-12 from three-point range (50.0 percent), while shooting 14-of-21 (66.7 percent) from the charity stripe. Idaho was 25-of-51 (49.0 percent) from the field, going 7-of-21 three (33.3 percent). The Vandals were 13-of-18 (72.2 percent) from the free throw line.
The Aggies remain on the road next week, taking on San Jose State on Thursday, Feb. 2 at 8 p.m. (MT). Utah State concludes the three-game road swing at Hawai`i on Saturday, Feb. 4 at 11 p.m. (MT).
Fans can follow USU women's basketball at http://twitter.com/UTAHSTATEofmind and Utah State athletics at http://twitter.com/USUAthletics.
Live stats will be available for most Utah State women's basketball games through the women's basketball page on www.utahstateaggies.com, by clicking on GameTracker in the current events box. All home games can be viewed by clicking on "Watch Live."
For tickets contact the USU Athletics Ticket Office at (435)797-0305 or at 1-888-U-STATE-1 (1-888-878-2831) for more information or visit the Utah State athletic web site at www.UtahStateAggies.com.
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