CEDAR CITY, Utah -
While several individuals produced strong performances, Utah State women's basketball dropped a 70-67 decision at Southern Utah Tuesday.
Sophomore guard Olivia West led the team with 22 points, followed by junior guard Rachel Brewster who tallied a season-high 20 points. Sophomore guard/forward Shannon Dufficy recorded her third double-double of the season, highlighted by a career-best 19 rebounds. Those 19 boards tie for eighth all-time in a single game for an Aggie, and are the most by any USU player since 1983.
With the loss, Utah State falls to 1-3 on the season, while Southern Utah moves to 1-3 with the win.
Utilizing their second starting lineup of the season, Utah State got off to a hot start. Winning the tip for the first time this year, sophomore guard Jessie Geer put the Aggies on the board on the team's first possession. USU built up a six-point lead twice through the first quarter, but Southern Utah was able to climb back both times. The Thunderbirds took their first lead of the day at the 2:20 mark with their third-straight make from the 3-point line. The Aggies subbed several players at once out of the media timeout, including redshirt sophomore guard Victoria Price, who saw her first minutes since Jan. 31, 2016, after an injury and a redshirt season. Utah State had the final possession of the quarter, but lost it on a shot clock violation, giving Southern Utah the 22-19 lead.
Dufficy started the quarter with a made jump shot, but the Thunderbirds then went on a 6-0 run. The Aggies responded with six-straight points of their own, but were then held without a field goal for 4:12. Both teams struggled to shoot the ball through those minutes, combining to miss seven-straight shots. Brewster was finally able to end the Aggies' scoring drought, hitting a deep 3 with 1:48 to play. SUU added one more jumper before Olivia West made the final shot of the half, but the Thunderbirds took the 40-36 lead into the halftime break.
The Aggies came out strong in the third quarter, with Olivia West picking up where she left the second and making the first shot. She quickly put together nine points, giving the Aggies the lead back at the 5:58 mark. Dufficy reached double-digit rebounds in the third, recording her third double-double of the season. Utah State led for just under two minutes, as the Thunderbirds refused to let up. The Aggies were held to just a single free throw for the final two minutes of the quarter, while Southern Utah build its lead back up and took a 62-56 lead at the quarter break.
Southern Utah had the first made shot of the fourth quarter, but junior center Deja Mason responded for the Aggies with back-to-back layups. She was then fouled on a third attempt, hitting one of the free throws. The Aggie defense held the Thunderbirds scoreless for five minutes, ending the drought at the free throw line. Southern Utah went on to miss 14-straight field goals, not hitting another the remainder of the game, but maintained its lead through free throws. However, the Aggie offense couldn't capitalize on the opportunity, committing five turnovers in the fourth quarter. Brewster reached the 20-point mark for the first time this season with her fourth 3-pointer of the night, but another pair of free throws kept SUU in the lead. With five seconds to go, the Thunderbirds had what would have been their first field goal since the first possession of the quarter, but it was called off on a foul. The Aggies had the control for the final seconds of the game, but missed the last 3-point attempt, giving Southern Utah its first win of the season.
Overall, Utah State shot 43.1 percent (25-of-58) from the field, 36.8 percent (7-of-19) from the 3-point line and a season-high 76.9 percent (4-of-17) from the free throw line. Southern Utah shot 34.3 percent (24-of-70) from the floor, 23.5 percent (11-of-30) from behind the arc and 81.8 percent (18-of-22) from the free throw line.
After the Thanksgiving holiday, Utah State will head to Idaho State for a game on Monday, Nov. 27, at 7 p.m. The Aggies will then travel to Maui, Hawaii, where they will take on Montan State and Oregon State in the Maui Classic, Dec. 1-2.
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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