LOGAN Call it pre-Christmas anticipation or a post-Utah hangover. Whatever it is, the Utah State Aggies wish it would go away.
Utah State, which shot just 28 percent from the field in a 32-point loss to the Utes last week, didn't see much improvement in a 71-49 loss to Montana State.
The Aggies (2-7) were playing relatively good basketball with back-to-back wins over Eastern Washington and Northern Arizona before being blown out by the Utes, and it hasn't returned.
Believe it or not, the Aggies trailed by a point five minutes into the game, but over the next 10 minutes they scored just four baskets, allowing the Bobcats, coached by former Utah State assistant Tricia Binford, to pull away.
Utah State, which shot just 33.3 percent for the game, cut the lead to one with 15:02 left in the first half on a bucket by Taylor Richards, but went nearly five minutes before scoring again. Even then, the Aggies were still in the game trailing 17-12.
Over the next five minutes, the Bobcats, winners of two straight, went on a 16-3 run to put the game out of reach.
Montana State's Rebecca Mercer torched the Aggies for 14 of her 15 points points in the first half.
The Aggies shot just 34.6 percent, while the Bobcats hit 63 percent. Montana State led 39-26 at the half before pouring it on.
Utah State's Jamelah Brown scored early in the second half to cut the lead to 11, but a conventional three-point play by Montana State's Krislyn Wallace, who also finished with 15 points, ballooned the lead to 14. The Bobcat lead eventually got as high as 22 points for the first of three times with 8:50 left in the game.
The Aggies wouldn't get any closer than 17 in the second half.
Utah State entered the game 13th in the nation in free throw percentage 77.8 percent, but in the loss the Aggies shot just 38.9 percent (7-of-18). Also, the Aggies were 38th in the nation from the three-point line at 37.0 percent, but they hit 4 of 16 (25 percent) against Montana State.
Brown led the Aggies with 12 points, while Danyelle Snelgro and Nicole Johnson added eight each.
Utah State hosts St. Mary's Saturday night and will be off until Dec. 29 when it host BYU.
SUU 58, PORTLAND 54: At Ceder City, SUU snapped a seven-game losing skid with a win over the University of Portland. Anne Westwood led the way with a game-high 21 points and 10 rebounds for her third double-double of the season as SUU improved to 2-7 while UP dropped to 7-5.
Neither team held much of an advantage in the first half as the lead swapped hands on three occasions with the score tied seven times in the first 20 minutes. Portland maintained a lead for the first 10 minutes of the game until a Westwood layup and an Erin Heuett jumper tilted the scales to the Thunderbirds' favor.
Heuett joined Westwood in double figures with 12 points.WEBER STATE 65, UC IRVINE 58: At Irvine, Calif., The Wildcats hit the road and beat the Anteaters for WSU's fourth straight win.