Explosive Second Half Too Much For USU Women's Basketball Against No. 5 Notre Dame Saturday
Dec. 8, 2012
SOUTH BEND, Ind. - Despite a very competitive first half, No. 5 Notre Dame proved to be too much for the Utah State women's basketball team capturing a 109-70 win at Purcell Pavillion in South Bend, Ind., on Saturday.
With the loss, the Aggies return home to the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum with a 2-7 record. Notre Dame improves to 6-1 with the win. USU is now 0-1 against the Fighting Irish. The last time that the Aggies allowed 100 points was a 116-65 loss to Western Michigan in 2003.
Senior guard Devyn Christensen led the Aggies with 21 points, while junior guard Jennifer Schlott added 14. Christensen reached the 20-point plateau for the fifth time this season to lead the Aggies. Freshman guard Makenlee Williams added eight points and four boards. All five of the Aggies starters had at least two steals.
Notre Dame had five players in double figures, led by 23 points from Natalie Achonwa who had a double-double with 12 rebounds. Markisha Wright also had a double-double off the bench with 14 points and 11 boards. Skylar Diggins had a double-double with 12 points and 10 assists for the Irish, who had 27 assists.
After scoring the first two points of the game on a Johnson lay up, the Irish scored the next six points to take a 6-2 lead.
USU re-took the lead on Christensen's first three of the game 9-8 at the 17:25 mark. The teams exchanged baskets with neither team gaining too much momentum. Eventually, Notre Dame stretched its lead to 20-12 after an old-fashioned three-point play by Achonwa.
After a Kayla McBride bucket increased the Irish lead to 35-21, Schlott fought right back with the Aggies fourth three of the half to cut the lead to 35-24. Despite the fight, the Aggies got into early foul trouble, putting the Irish the bonus at the 8:30 mark.
A Jenna Johnson layup cut the lead to 48-40 with 4:22 left in the first half. Notre Dame scored the next six points to make the score 54-40 before a Schlott deep three put USU within 11 points. In a very physical half, the Irish closed strong scoring six-straight points to jump out to a 62-44 lead before a pair of free throws by junior guard Elise Nelson stopped the Irish hot streak.
Johnson was hampered with four first-half fouls, limiting her action and putting the Aggies down a starter.
Notre Dame ended the half strong, entering the locker room with a 66-49 lead. The Irish's biggest lead of the half was 18 points as the Aggies continued to battle throughout the half against the No. 5 Notre Dame squad.
Both Schlott and Christensen scored 14 points in the first half. Williams also added six points in the first 20 minutes of action. The Aggies had only 11 first-half rebounds, but had strong defense with 10 steals. USU scored nine points off of turnovers in the first half.
In the first half, the Aggie defense was able to keep Notre Dame star Diggins to only one field goal and four total points. The Irish scored 14 points off from the charity stripe in the first half alone. Achonwa led all scorers with 21 first-half points and nine boards.
Notre Dame came out aggressive in the second half, scoring the first seven points of the half before Williams drained a bucket with 17:37 left in the half. Johnson fouled at the 17:54 point of the second half, leaving the Aggies a starter down the rest of the game.
Despite the efficiency of the Irish in the second half, the Aggies never backed down to the highly-skilled Irish. The Notre Dame lead continued to climb, taking its biggest lead of 41 points with 29 seconds left in the game.
For the game Utah State was 23-of-68 from the field good for 33.8 percent and 16-of-19 from the charity stripe which was good for 84.2 percent. The Aggies were 8-of-26 from beyond the arc (30.8 percent). The Irish were 39-of-75 from the field, which was good for a stellar 52.0 percent. Notre Dame was 5-of-15 from three (31.3 percent) and 26-of-31 from the charity stripe (26-of-31).
The Aggies finally return home after playing eight of their first nine on the road. After a week off for finals, USU will take on UC Irvine on Dec. 18 at 7 p.m., before facing South Dakota on Dec. 20 at Noon for school day..
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.
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