Feb. 17, 2005
LOGAN, Utah - Ali Aird scored a game-high 19 points to lead a quartet of Aggies in double-figures as Utah State women's basketball leapfrogged UC Riverside in the Big West standings with a convincing 71-55 win here Thursday night.
The win helped the Aggies move into fifth place in the conference standings as they improved to 13-10 overall and 8-6 in the Big West. UC Riverside slipped to 12-10 and 7-6.
Aird's 19 points came on seven-of-10 from the field and a five-for-six mark from the charity stripe. The 19 points was just one shy of the season-high 20 she tallied against San Diego on Dec. 10.
With Riverside up on the Aggies 9-8 with just under five minutes gone in the opening half, it looked as if the two teams would once again go to the wire. But Aird and the rest of the Aggie team would go on a 23-4 run over the next 10 minutes to grab their biggest lead of the half, 31-13. Hindering the Highlanders' attempt to make a run was an abysmal 20.8 percent shooting percentage that added to USU going into the intermission with a 35-17 lead.
The Aggies continued to pour it on to open the second half as they stretched their lead to as many as 25 points in the first four minutes. Riverside then slowly started to chip away at Utah State's lead, cutting the margin to 12 as Casandra Reeves hit a three-pointer with 2:52 on the clock. USU's defense then held court, however, as Reeves' trey were the final points the Highlanders would score as USU recorded the 16-point triumph.
Other Aggies in double-digits were Brittany Tressler, Taylor Richards and Christina Zdenek. Tressler finished with 11 points and a career-high five assists, while Richards and Zdenek tallied 10 each. Jessica Freeman had a game-high three blocks to go along with eight points. Kalhie Quinones and Aird led the team in rebounds, pulling down six apiece.
The Highlanders also had four players in double-figures led by Kemie Nkele's 14, 12 of which came in the second half. Nkele also had seven rebounds, but the league's leading shot blocker failed to tally a swat on the night.
The Aggies improved to 8-0 when scoring 70 or more points on the season and shot better than 40-percent (44.3) for the third straight game. Riverside finished shooting 36.2 percent, but 20 turnovers plagued the Highlanders.
Utah State will play its final home game of the season as Cal State Fullerton comes to Logan on Saturday. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m.
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