LAS VEGAS, Nev. -
Utah State women's basketball closed the 2017-18 regular season in a 68-58 loss at UNLV Friday.
Sophomore guard/forward Hailey Bassett and sophomore guard Olivia West led the Aggies with 11 points apiece. They were joined in double figures by junior center Deja Mason who recorded 10 points. Junior guard Rachel Brewster was the top rebounder for the Aggies with a season-high nine boards.
In the game, Brewster became the 10th player in Utah State history to reach 1,000-point mark. She is currently ranked 10th all-time in career points with 1,005. She is the first Utah State player to record 1,000 career points since Funda Nakkasoglu did so as a sophomore during the 2015-16 season.
With the loss, Utah State's regular season ends with a 7-22 overall record, including a 5-13 Mountain West ledger. UNLV shares the outright conference championship with Boise State as it finishes the year with a 19-10 overall record, going 14-4 in conference play.
Through slow-paced play, Utah State jumped out to the early lead Friday, putting up four points before UNLV could score. Once the Lady Rebels were on the board, the offenses went back-and-forth, trading made shots. UNLV briefly took its first lead of the night with a 3-point shot at the 2:36 mark, but a jumper from redshirt sophomore guard Victoria Price put it back in the Aggies' favor. The two teams traded made field goals in the final minute, giving Utah State the 12-11 lead at the end of the first quarter.
Brewster made the first layup of the second quarter, reaching the 1,000 career point mark. Scoring continued to be limited on both ends of the court, as neither team scored for nearly three minutes. The Lady Rebels ended their drought with a pair of free throws, but the Aggies answered with a 3-pointer from Olivia West. Johnson was the only UNLV player to score in the final minutes of the half, but Mason had an answer for each of her shots. With a tied score, Utah State had just five seconds after an in-bound play, Eliza West hit a layup at the buzzer to give the Aggies the 27-25 halftime edge.
UNLV came out of the halftime break strong, opening the third quarter on an 8-0 run. Mason ended that run to put the Aggies back on the board and become the first USU player to reach double figures. The Lady Rebels got right back into though, sparking another 10-0 run to take a double-digit lead. A pair of free throws from Price were the first Aggie points in nearly four minutes. Utah State managed to put seven-straight points together, but the run was cut short by a UNLV trey. Bassett made one final layup for the quarter, but UNLV held the 46-38 lead.
The Lady Rebels were first to score in the fourth with two free throws, but Bassett quickly got the Aggies into it with her first made 3-pointer since Dec. 30. Unfortunately, Johnson answered with a 3-point shot of her own to put UNLV back up 10. After a three-minute scoring drought for Utah State, Olivia West hit back-to-back treys, ending a 9-0 Lady Rebel run. The Aggies continued to hang with UNLV, as Bassett brought it back to a single-digit deficit with three minutes to play. Utah State used its final timeout to get some bench players in the game, where redshirt sophomore guard Lindsey Jensen scored the final point of the night at the free throw line. UNLV secured the 10-point win and with that, a share of the Mountain West regular season title.
Overall, Utah State shot 43.4 percent (23-of-53) from the floor, 30.8 percent (4-of-13) from the 3-point line and 88.9 percent (8-of-9) from the free throw line. UNLV shot 38.6 percent (22-of-57) from the field, including 31.8 percent (7-of-22) from behind the arc, and was a perfect 17-of-17 from the free throw line.
The Aggies will stay in Las Vegas through the weekend in preparation for the 2017-18 Mountain West Championships which are slated to begin on Monday, March 5. Official seedings and game pairings for the tournament will be announced later this evening.
Fans can follow USU women's basketball on Twitter, @USUWBasketball, on Instagram, @USUWBasketball, as well as on Facebook, at /USUWBB. Aggie fans can also follow Utah State Athletics on Twitter, @USUAthletics, on Instagram, @USUAthletics and on Facebook at /USUAthletics.
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