LOGAN — With 12 different Aggies recording at least one point, the Utah State women's basketball team captured its third-straight win with a 83-53 victory over Asbury University Tuesday at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum.
The Aggies improve to 8-5 with the win. The Eagles remain 7-8 as the game was an exhibition for Asbury of the National Intercollegiate Athletic Association (NAIA). The three-game winning streak is the second longest of the season for USU, winning four straight earlier this season.
Utah State was led by a season-high 13 points from junior center Banna Diop, while senior guard Brooke Jackson added 11 for the Aggies. Freshman forward Franny Vaaulu had a season-high seven rebounds and and five assists. Junior Pualei Furtado and sophomore Kamie Imai both scored career highs with Furtado netting eight and Imai scoring nine.
Asbury, located in Wilmore, Ky., was led by a game-high 13 points from Trenia Barbee who was the only Eagle to reach double digits. Lakin Griffin was the top rebounder for Asbury with five.
For the third-straight game, USU won the battle of the boards, outrebounding the Eagles, 38-28. Utah State is now 5-0 when out-rebounding its opponents this season.
Utah State started strong, jumping out to an 11-4 lead after a layup by Christensen.
Asbury used a 4-0 run to cut the Utah State lead to 16-8 with 13:44 left in the first half. The Aggies were able to rotate several players in the game in the first half with 13 players seeing action in the first 20 minutes. USU used a 5-0 run to take a 21-8 lead before a layup by Barbee stopped that run.
The Eagles climbed back into the game, cutting the lead to 25-22 after another layup by Barbee. The Aggies fought back with a 10-0 run of their own to increase the lead to 35-22 with 3:42 left in the half.
Despite leading scorer junior forward Ashlee Brown playing only four first-half minutes, the Aggies went into the locker room with a 40-27 lead. In the first half, Utah State was led by nine points from Diop who passed her season high in the first half. Plunkett added seven points and three rebounds.
The Eagles were led by eight points by Barbee who had to leave late in the half with an injury. She would return in the second half.
In the second stanza, USU took control for good. With 14:05 in the second half, a three pointer by Jackson gave the Aggies a 20-point lead. Utah State never led by less than 14 points in the final 20 minutes of the game.
The Aggies extended their lead to 30 points with 6:02 remaining after a three-point play by Imai.
Utah State's biggest lead was 33 points. The Aggies would end the game scoring 33 bench points to 15 by Asbury. USU also had 20 points in the paint compared to six by the Eagles.
USU was 37-of-65 (56.9 percent) from the floor in the game, which was tied for its best shooting performance of the season. The Aggies were 7-of-17 from three-point range (41.2 percent), while shooting 2-of-3 (66.7 percent) from the charity stripe which was the fewest free throws attempted or made this season. Asbury was 20-of-55 (36.4 percent) from the field, hitting 8-of-22 threes (36.4 percent). The Eagles went 5-of-10 (50.0 percent) from the free-throw line.
The Aggies have one more nonconference game, Saturday against Utah Valley in Logan at 2 p.m. The game is the first half of a doubleheader with the Utah State men's team.
SAN JOSE STATE 70, SOUTHERN UTAH 68: At Cedar City, sophomore forward Carli Moreland posted 22 points and 17 rebounds against visiting San Jose State Tuesday, but it wouldn't be enough as late comeback attempt by Southern Utah came up just short as the Spartans held on for a 70-68 victory.
The two teams went back and forth early on, reaching a 6-6 tie after four minutes of play. Moreland got off to a fast start for the Thunderbirds, scoring four of the first six points for SUU. The Thunderbirds would then go on a 12-2 run as Moreland added four more points while Hailey Mandelko and Andrea Jones both connected from the outside to help their team go up by a margin of 18-8.
The Spartans quickly rallied with six straight points and after a Tayler Anderson free throw trailed by just five with the score at 19-14 in favor of SUU near the 12-minute mark. Both teams then went cold as the next three minutes of the game went without any scoring until a jumper by San Jose State's Brea Matthew pulled the Spartans within three at 19-16.
Mandelko would sink another three to put SUU back up by five near the end of the opening period. The final five minutes of the half belonged to San Jose State however as Sara Plavljanin sank three shots from behind the arc to help the Spartans score 16 unanswered on their way to an 11-point lead. Hawkins finally closed the half with a put-back layup
to stop the run and set the score at 37-28 heading into the break.
Moreland did the bulk of the scoring for Southern Utah in early-going, racking up 10 points while going 5-5 from the floor. The sophomore forward also pulled down six rebounds during the first 20 minutes to help the Thunderbirds build a 25-18 edge on the boards in the opening period. San Jose State would get a dozen from Johnson in the first half and another 11 from Plavljanin.
The Spartans stretched their lead back into the double-figures early on in the second half, and were then able to withstand various attempted rallies by SUU. The T-Birds were able to cut the deficit on several occasions, even coming within six-points halfway through the period as a driving layup by Anderson made the score 53-47. San Jose State would come up with another big run to go back up by 13 at 64-51.
With just over six minutes remaining in the game Southern Utah would mount one last rally in which the Thunderbirds outscored the Spartans 12-0 over a three-minute period to pull within a single point of the Spartans. SJSU would then tally a couple of baskets to go back up by five, but SUU answered once again as a pair of free throws by Mandelko cut the advantage to one with 12 seconds remaining. Following a made free throw by Johnson, the T-Birds took possession trailing 70-68 with 11 seconds on the clock. Mandelko quickly brought the ball up the court and found Hawkins who fired a jumper that was just partially deflected by Myesha Broaden. Moreland was there to grab the loose ball and fire up another shot but her try was just off the mark as the horn sounded to seal the victory for the visiting Spartans.
Carli Moreland had a career night for the Thunderbirds in the loss, finishing the game with 22 points and 17 rebounds. Kimie Hawkins would also post a double-double, pulling down 14 boards to go along with her 12 points. Brittany Johnson led all scorers with 28 points, 12 of which came from the free-throw line. Plavljanin and Ta'Rea Cunnigan each
tallied 15 from the guard line for SJSU.
San Jose State improves to 4-10 on the year and has come away with a victory in three of its last five outings. Southern Utah suffers its fourth straight defeat to fall to 4-10 this season while holding a Summit League mark of 0-3. The Thunderbirds will be at home again this Saturday as they host North Dakota State at 5 p.m.
ACADEMY OF ART 60, DIXIE STATE 59: At San Francisco, Calif., returning to play for the first time since Dec. 18, Dixie State had trouble wiping off the dust on Tuesday night at the famous Kezar Pavilion.
The Red Storm (6-4, 1-1 PWC) fell behind early and trailed by as many as 13 points in the first half. The Red Storm shot just 26.5 percent from the field and they were 2-10 from behind the arc as well.
With the dismal first-half shooting performance, DSC trailed 34-26 at intermission.
Dixie State used a 15-3 run and took a 41-35 lead on a Sheila Adams 3-pointer with 13:27 left in the half.
The two schools exchanged baskets for the next 11 minutes and set up the thrilling finish.
DSC had two opportunities with less than 23 seconds left to win the game, but could not convert a missed 3-pointer and a layup at the buzzer.
"We battled back at the end and gave ourselves a chance to win," said coach Angie Kristensen. "We just have to shoot the ball better and execute our plays."
Despite Becca Thomas scoring 10 of her game-high 16 points and seven rebounds, the hole the Red Storm dug for themselves was just too big.
Adams scored 14 points and was in double figures for the sixth consecutive game. Additionally, Erica Hayes added 14 points.
This was the first meeting between Urban Knights head coach LaNay Larson and Kristensen. Larson took over at AAU this summer after spending six years as an assistant to Kristensen.
The Urban Knights' spark came from Nicol Biesek with 14 points and a double-double performance from Alisa Griggs who finished with 10 points and 10 rebounds. The win was the first time the Urban Knights (5-5, 1-1 PWC) have defeated the Red Storm in five tries.
Dixie State continues its three game road trip with a matchup at Dominican University on Thursday night at 6:30 p.m. MT.