Recovering from a pair of double-digit deficits, the Utah State women's basketball team fought to a 91-85 win over Idaho at the Cowan Spectrum in Moscow on Saturday.
Four different Aggies scored in double figures led by 25 points from senior guard Devyn Christensen. Freshman guard Makenlee Williams had a stellar night with a career-high 21 points and seven rebounds. Senior guard Jenna Johnson had her third-straight double-double with 19 points and 10 boards. Senior guard Jennifer Schlott had her ninth game in double figures with 11 points.
Idaho got an amazing shooting night from Stacey Barr who made six threes for 23 points. Christina Salvatore also had six threes for 18 points.
With the win, Utah State improved to 6-9 overall and 3-1 in Western Athletic Conference action. Idaho falls to 4-10 overall and 1-2 in league play.
Utah State started shooting (1-for-6) slow from the field before a Schlott jumper tied the score at 5-5. Idaho jumped out to an early 20-10 lead with 12:17 left in the game after another three by Salvatore. The Vandal lead increased to 23-10 after a Connie Ballestero three, which was the fifth of the game for Idaho with under 12 minutes left in the half. The Vandals scored 10-straight points before Christensen sunk two free throws to cut the lead to 23-12.
The Aggies fought back with a 9-0 run of their own to cut the score to 23-19. Williams scored five-straight points to help fuel the run. Idaho was turnover prone early in the game, helping USU stay in the game. Several times the Aggies got within two points, but the Vandals seemed to have an answer.
Utah State took its first lead of the game with 1:09 left in the first half after a Franny Vaaulu layup. Vaaulu scored the final four points of the half for the Aggies as they entered the lockerroom with a slim 42-40 lead after trailing by as many as 13 in the half.
Schlott continued her sharp shooting, leading USU in the first half with 11 points. Christensen added eight points with Johnson scoring seven points and adding three steals. The Aggies had eight steals in the first half, while Idaho had 15 turnovers.
Alyssa Charlston had 11 points for the Vandals in the first half. Ballestero had five points but added four assists in the half.
A Salvatore three put the Vandals back on top, 46-45, with 18:27 remaining in the game. Idaho used a 12-3 run to start the second half and take a 52-45 lead. Barr scored five-straight threes as the Vandals took a 16-point lead, 61-45.
Christensen hit her first three of the game with 10:35 left as the Aggies cut the lead to 63-55. From that point, USU chipped away at the Idaho lead with Johnson hitting back-to-back threes to make the score 68-66 with 7:49 left on the clock. Johnson followed with a jumper to tie the score at 68-68. Once USU took the lead on a Christensen three with under seven to play, it never trailed again.
Christensen sunk another three to give USU an 81-74 lead with under two minutes remaining. Three quick fouls by the Vandals put them in the bonus, but Vaaulu missed the front end of the one-and-one. Charlston also missed the front end as neither team could change the scoreboard. After a foul by Stephanie Bairstow, Charlston hit three free throws to cut the lead down to 83-77 with under a minute left.
Down the stretch, Utah State made its free throws and were able to hold on to capture only its second road win of the season.
For the game, Utah State was 31-of-65 from the field — good for 47.7 percent — which was a season high. The Aggies went 13-of-26 from three for 50.0 percent, which was also a season high. The Aggies were once again solid from the free-throw line, going 16-of-21 for (76.2 percent).
The Vandals were 31-of-75 from the field, which was good for 41.3 percent. Idaho was 15-of-39 from three (38.5 percent) and 8-of-12 from the charity stripe (66.7 percent).
Utah State has only one game next week, remaining on the road to face San Jose State on Saturday, Jan. 5, at 8 p.m. (MT).
Utah State's women's basketball tickets are available through USU's website at or by calling the ticket office toll free at 1-888-USTATE-1 or (435) 797-0305.
Doug Hoffman is the assistant athletic director for Utah State University Athletic Media Relations.
Copyright 2015, Deseret News Publishing Company