March 9, 2013
SAN ANTONIO - Despite 20-point scoring nights from both senior guard Jenna Johnson and junior guard Jennifer Schlott, the Utah State women's basketball team dropped the regular-season finale to UTSA in San Antonio Saturday, 80-72.
The Aggie loss combined with a Seattle win over Idaho, secures Utah State the second seed in the upcoming Western Athletic Conference Tournament in Las Vegas, beginning on Tuesday, March 12. The Redhawks earn the WAC regular season title in their first season in the league. The second seed matches the best ever for the Aggies in eight seasons in the league. Last season, Utah State was also the second seed, advancing to the semifinals before losing to Louisiana Tech.
With the loss, the Aggies fall to 17-12 overall and 14-4 in league play which is the most ever conference wins by a Utah State women's basketball team. UTSA improves to 16-13 overall and 10-8 in league contests.
Johnson led all scorers with 23 points for her third 20-point game of the season. Schlott added 20 points for the Aggies to go along with five assists and four rebounds. Only six different players scored for Utah State.
Kamra King led the way for the Roadrunners with 22 points, while Simone Young added 21 points and five assists. Whitney Wright was fierce on the boards with 12 rebounds, as UTSA out-rebounded USU for the game, 46-37.
Both teams were fighting nerves and turnovers early in the game. As the Aggies began to settle down they took an early 10-5 lead. A Franny Vaaulu layup pushed the USU advantage to 15-5 with under 13 left in the first half. The Aggies kept the Roadrunners off the scoreboard for almost five minutes before UTSA scored 11-straight to take its first lead to 16-15. The streak extended at 13 after a jumper by Miki Turner with 8:06 remaining.
A Johnson free throw stopped the Roadrunner run. The Aggies re-took the lead 23-22 on a three by Schlott. The two teams continued to battle throughout the first half with Utah State struggling to find any rhythm.
Despite the first-half struggles, the Aggies entered the locker room with a slim, 33-32 lead. Johnson was the main offensive threat for Utah State in the first half with 14 points and four rebounds. Schlott added eight points. Vaaulu was a threat, bringing down four boards to go along with three blocks and two points.
UTSA had seven different players score a point in the first half. Turner led the way with seven points and four rebounds. Whitney Wright had 10 first-half rebounds, as the Roadrunners out-rebounded the Aggies 27-23 in the first 20 minutes.
The Aggies came out strong in the second half with better shooting and strong defense. Threes by freshman guard Makenlee Williams and Schlott helped USU take a 43-34 lead. The Aggies took their biggest lead of the game, 45-34, with 17:18 remaining.
The Roadrunners continued to chip away at the Aggie lead from that point. Utah State continued to apply pressure to the Roadrunners as the Aggies held onto 60-53 after a Schlott layup. An Ashley Spaletta three with under eight to play cut the lead to 60-56.
UTSA re-took the lead after a Young layup, 68-67, with under four remaining. Schlott nailed two free throws to re-take the lead briefly before the Roadrunners came storming back to take a 72-69 lead with 3:13 left in the game.
Once UTSA re-took the lead, 70-69 with 3:42 left in the game, the Roadrunners did not give that lead for the remainder of the game. The eight-point lead that UTSA took to end the game was the biggest of the game for the Roadrunners.
For the game, USU was 26-of-67 from the field good for 38.8 percent. The Aggies were 5-of-21 from three for 23.8 percent. USU was also 15-of-19 from the free throw line for 78.9 percent. UTSA was 27-of-62 from the field, which was good for 43.5 percent. The Roadrunners were also 8-of-23 from three for 34.8 percent and 18-of-27 from the charity stripe 66.7 percent.
The Aggies will await the results of first round matchup on Tuesday, March 12 as No. 7 Denver takes on No. 10 Texas State at 1 p.m. (MT). Utah State will take on the winner of the game between the Pioneers and the Bobcats on Wednesday, March 13 at 3:30 p.m. (MT).
Top-seeded Seattle will take on the winner of the game between No. 8 New Mexico State and No. 9 UT Arlington on March 13 at 7 p.m. (MT). The first quarterfinal will pit No. 3 Idaho against No. 6 San Jose State at 1 p.m. (MT). The final quarterfinal game will be No. 4 UTSA against No. 5 Louisiana Tech at 9:30 p.m. (MT).
Utah State's women's basketball tickets are available through USU's website at www.UtahStateAggies.com or by calling the ticket office toll free at 1-888-USTATE-1 or (435) 797-0305.
Fans can follow USU women's basketball on twitter at http://twitter.com/USUwbb or on facebook at http://facebook.com/USUWBB, or Utah State athletics on twitter at http://twitter.com/USUAthletics or on facebook at http://www.facebook.com/USUAthletics.
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