March 9, 2005
ANAHEIM, Calif. - Brittany Tressler scored a team-high 13 points and Taylor Richards scored 11, but a 32-for-37 effort by UC Irvine from the free-throw line proved to be too much for Utah State to overcome as it fell to the Anteaters, 75-63, here today in Big West Tournament women's basketball action.
Utah State finished its season at 14-14 overall and 9-9 in the Big West, while Irvine improved to 8-20 overall and moves on to play Idaho in the second round of the tournament on Thursday.
Tressler scored her 13 points on a four-of-10 mark from the floor, including a three-for-six clip from beyond the arc. Richards was one of the few Aggies to shot well in the opening period, scoring nine of her 11 in the opening stanza.
Following a free-throw that gave Utah State the first point of the game, UC Irvine rattled of the games next six points to take an early five point lead. UC Irvine would push its lead to six (16-10) at the 9:10 mark in the opening 20 minutes as both teams struggled from the floor.
The Aggies would eventually take a brief one point lead (24-23) with 28 seconds left as Richards scored seven points in a 14-7 Utah State run. UCI's Melissa Jacob's would make one of two free throws in the waning second of the half to knot things at 24 going into the locker room. Utah State shot just 26.9 percent from the floor in the first half, while UC Irvine shot 33.3 percent.
Things didn't look bright for the Aggies to open the second half as the Anteaters' Ashley Biggins sparked a 7-0 run with five points to open the half. Utah State would slowly chip away at the lead, but still found itself down by seven with just over 12 minutes to go in the game.
The Aggies then used an aerial assault from beyond the arc to get back into the game and eventually took a six point lead. Kalhie Quinones hit the first three-pointer to pull the Aggies even with the Anteater, but then Tressler hit back-to-back treys to give USU the 52-46 lead with just over eight minutes to play.
A shooting drought would then prove costly for the Aggies as they scored just four points in the next six-plus minutes, which allowed Irvine to take a 60-56 lead with 1:44 left in the game.
The game then turned into a free-throw drill for UC Irvine as it closed the game out hitting 11-of-13 from the charity stripe in the final minute and a half to secure the 12 point win.
Utah State finished the game shooting 36.4 percent (20-55) from field, including a nine-for-20 mark from beyond the arc. The Aggies turned the ball over 23 times to UCI's 16, but out-rebounded the Anteaters, 37-34.
UCI finished the game hitting 32-of-37 free-throws, including 24-of-29 in the second half. Angie Ned led four Anteaters in double-figures with a game-high 23 points. Biggins and Jacob each had 15, while Lauren Yadon added 13. Biggins also grabbed a game-high 10 rebounds to record the game's only double-double.
Kalhie Quinones and Ali Aird each contributed nine points for the Aggies. Aird scored five of her nine from the line, while Quinones' nine all came from beyond the arc as she finished with a three-for-three mark from that range. Aird also added a team-high nine rebounds, while Richards led USU with two steals.
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