March 10, 2014
LAS VEGAS, Nev. - Senior guard Jennifer Schlott scored 29 points in leading eighth-seeded Utah State to a come-from-behind 69-66 win against ninth-seeded New Mexico in the opening round of the 2014 Reese's Mountain West Basketball Championships held here Monday at the Thomas & Mack Center on the UNLV campus.
Utah State evens its season record at 15-15 with the win as it has now won four-straight games and five of its last six overall. USU also improved to 5-10 all-time in conference tournaments. New Mexico concludes its season with an 11-19 record as it lost all three of its matchup with USU during the year.
The Aggies improved to 10-0 on the season when allowing less than 70 points as it limited New Mexico to just 18 second-half points after yielding 48 points in the first 20 minutes of play.
Utah State, who was just 2-13 on the season when trailing at the half entering Monday's matchup, rallied from a 48-44 half-time deficit to take its first lead at the 13:26 mark of the second-half on a layup by junior forward Ingrid Strikas. USU pushed its advantage to eight points at 65-57 with 7:23 remaining following a putback from sophomore guard/forward Stephanie Bairstow, but scored just four points the remainder of the game and held on for the three-point win as New Mexico's desperation trey at the buzzer never reached the basket.
Utah State finished the game shooting 47.5 percent (28-59), including 42.9 percent from three-point range (6-14) and 58.3 percent at the free throw line (7-12). New Mexico shot 41.1 percent overall (23-56), but just 22.2 percent in the second-half (6-27). The Lobos were also 5-of-16 (.313) from behind the arc and 15-for-23 (.652) at the charity stripe for the game. USU also got out-rebounded by 13 (41-28), but recorded seven more steals (14-7) and three more blocked shots (4-1), and four fewer turnovers (19-15).
Schlott, the Mountain West's Player of the Year, recorded her 23rd 20-point game of the season as she was 11-of-24 from the field, 3-of-5 from three-point range and a perfect 4-for-4 at the free throw line. She also had seven assists, four rebounds and two steals, and played the final 9:38 of the contest with four fouls. Schlott entered the game with six-straight 30 points outings.
Bairstow added a career-high tying 16 points for Utah State as she was 7-of-11 from the field, including 1-of-1 from three-point range and 1-for-3 at the free throw line. Sophomore guard Makenlee Williams also scored in double-figures for USU as she finished with 11 points.
New Mexico started the game with a three-pointer and opened the contest by scoring nine of the first 11 points before Utah State responded with a 15-8 run to tie the game at 17-all at the 12:38 mark of the opening half. UNM then went on a 15-4 run over the next 3:56 to take a 32-21 lead with 8:42 to play in the half. USU fought back to within three at 39-36 with 4:31 remaining only to see the Lobos push its advantage back to eight at 48-40 with 1:07 left. USU, however, finished the half with a four-point play as Williams was fouled on a three-point basket to trail by just four at 48-44 at intermission.
Utah State shot 56.3 percent in the first-half (18-32), while New Mexico shot 58.6 percent (23-56).
Utah State will now play top-seeded Colorado State (23-6) in the first of four quarterfinals on Tuesday, March 11 at 1 p.m. (MT). USU lost both of its meetings to CSU during the regular season.
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