Aggie Women Unable To Hold Lead, Fall To UC Santa Barbara Saturday Afternoon

Feb. 5, 2005

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LOGAN, Utah - Freshman Taylor Richards led three Aggies in double-figures with 14 points and Utah State held the lead for most of the game, but the veteran UC Santa Barbara Gauchos were able to recapture the lead late in the game and pull-off a 67-59 win in women's basketball action here today.

The loss dropped the Aggies to 11-9 overall and 6-5 in the Big West, while UC Santa Barbara improved to 12-8 and 9-2.

The Gauchos opened the game with a 10-4 run as Autumn Nichols scored on three consecutive lay-ups and Kristen Mann tallied two lay-ups. The Aggies then responded, and took the lead for the rest of the half, with a 12-2 run that was sparked by back-to-back three-pointers from Brittany Hagen.

Utah State managed to build a seven point lead, 34-27, on two free-throws by Christina Zdenek at the 3:58 mark in the half. But the Gauchos whittled away at the Aggie lead late as USU went into the locker room up 38-34. The Aggies were led by 11 first half points from Taylor Richards, while Nichols and Mann poured-in 15 and 12, respectively.

Things looked promising for the Aggies with the halftime lead as they were 7-1 coming into Saturday's game when leading at the half. USU maintained the lead for the first six-plus minutes of the half but then went cold from the field, not scoring for the next 5:05. The drought allowed Santa Barbara to take a 47-46 lead, its first of the second half, at 11:56.

A Christina Zdenek three-pointer then put the Aggies back on top at 50-48 with 8:03 on the clock. That would be the last lead they would hold, however, as Santa Barbara used a 14-4 run to distance itself from the Aggies and capture the eight-point win.



USU's other scorers in double-figures were Zdenek and Jessica Freeman. Zdenek finished with 11 points, while Freeman had 10 points and five rebounds. Ali Aird led all players on the glass, recording 10 rebounds to go along with eight points. Richards also had six assists, one block, and one steal to go along with her 14 points.

The Gauchos were led by 21 points each from Mann and Nichols. Mann also had nine rebounds and six assists, while Nichols snared eight boards and blocked one shot.

The Aggies shot just 31 percent from the field, but were spurred on by a season-high 89.5 percent (17-19) from the charity stripe. The Gauchos shot 45.6 percent from the floor, but were just two-for-eight from beyond the arc. Santa Barbara also had the advantage of the glass, 40-34.

Utah State is on the road next week with games at Cal State Northridge and Pacific.

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