Sophomore forward Franny Vaaulu's performance was not enough as the Utah State women's basketball team fell just short against UC Riverside, 94-90, in overtime Thursday. Vaaulu banked in a three with 15.2 left in regulation to send the game to overtime.
The Aggies fall to 0-2 for the first time since starting the 2010-11 season when USU started the season 0-4. With the win, UC Riverside improves to 2-1 this season.
USU had five players in double figures led by Vaaulu's career-high 24 points. Senior guard Devyn Christensen added 22 points to go along with six steals and six assists. The six steals tied a career high for the senior. Fellow senior guard Jenna Johnson had her first double-double of the season with 16 points and 10 boards, while senior guard Cristal Turner had 11 points. Junior guard Jennifer Schlott scored 10 points off the bench.
UC Riverside was led by 29 points from TreShonti Nottingham. Natasha Hadley had a double-double for the Highlanders with 18 points and 15 rebounds.
Playing in her home state, Vaaulu, the Los Angeles native, scored the first four points of the game for the Aggies. After a three by Turner, USU jumped out to a 7-0 lead.
A three pointer by Turner, making her first start of the season, expanded USU's lead to 12-3 with 17 minutes left in the half.
The Highlanders fought back scoring seven-straight points to cut the lead to 17-10. Four-straight points by Christensen upped the Aggie lead to 21-10 with 14:!3 left in the half. Utah State continued its balanced scoring with six different players earning a point in the first half.
UC Riverside would not go away though cutting the USU lead to eight 26-18 after a layup by Jamilia Williams with under 12 minutes left in the half. The Highlanders trimmed the lead to 28-25 with 10:12 left in the half, leading to a Utah State time out after another three by Brittany Crain.
With just over eight minutes left in the half, UCR took its first lead of the game 29-28 after a Hadley jumper. UCR helped take a 37-28 lead behind a 17-0 run. Vaaulu stopped the streak with a layup to make the deficit 37-30. USU went over five minutes without a field goal during the Highlander run.
The first 20 minutes ended with UCR scoring the final five points to take a 51-38 lead into the locker room.
In the first half, Utah State was led by 11 points from Johnson, who also added six rebounds and two assists in the very productive half. Vaaulu added eight points in the half with both Christensen and freshman forward Haylee Thompson scoring six.
UCR had three players in double figures in the first half, starting with 14 points from Crain, Nottingham scored 11 points with Hadley adding 10. The Highlanders out-rebounded the Aggies 25-20 in the first half.
Vaaulu scored six quick points in the first six minutes of the second half to help cut the lead to 60-49, still in favor of UCR. A Christensen trey made it 60-52 with 15:47 left on the clock. The scored remained 62-54 for three minutes and 28 seconds before a pair of Schlott free throws made the score 62-54.
Utah State kept in the game, getting it down to a one possession game, 79-76, with less than three minutes left. A pair of free throws by Christensen made the game 79-78 with less than two minutes left.
Vaaulu continued her stellar day by banking a three with 15.2 second left in the game to tie the score at 81-81 and send it to ovetime. USU had its opportunities in overtime, tying the score at 90-90 after a Turner three pointer with 44 seconds left in overtime. From that point, the Highlanders scored the last four points to seal the win.
For the game, Utah State shot 39.0 percent (30-of-77) from the field and 25.9 percent from beyond the arc (7-of-27). USU was a solid 23-of-27 from the free-throw line for 85.2 percent.
The Highlanders shot a 41.8 percent from the field (33-of-79) and 33.3 percent from three (8-of-24). UC Riverside shot 74.1 percent from the charity stripe (20-of-27).
The Aggies remain on the road heading to the Golden State traveling to Los Angeles to take on Loyola Marymount on Saturday, Nov. 17 at 3 p.m. (MT).
Doug Hoffman is the assistant athletic director for Utah State University Athletic Media Relations.
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