LOGAN — After being outscored 7-2 in the final minute and a half, the Aggies fell to Louisiana Tech, 82-76, snapping their four-game winning streak Thursday at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum.
Utah State (15-7, 6-2 WAC) had four players in double figures, led by 22 points from junior guard Devyn Christensen. Senior forward Ashlee Brown and senior guard Brooke Jackson both added 14 points, while senior forward Maddy Plunkett netted 12. Plunkett was the leader in rebounds with eight.
Louisiana Tech (12-11, 5-3) also had four players in double figures, led by Whitney Frazier's 25 points all in the second half. Shantale Bramble-Donaldson had 12 points and nine boards, while Jasmine Bendolph scored 11 points. Off the bench, Brittany Hardy had 10 points.
The teams traded baskets early on with USU taking an early 9-7 lead before a Bendolph three gave the Lady Techsters and early 10-9.
After a Jackson 3-pointer with 10 minutes left in the half, USU took an 18-14 lead. The Aggies extended that lead to 20-14 after a Plunkett layup.
Neither team took more than a six-point lead in the first half. Louisiana Tech was able to tie the score 29-29 with 1:25 left in the half after a Bramble-Donaldson basket. It was the second tie of the game. After a Kanedria Andrews 3-pointer the Lady Techsters took their biggest lead of the half at 32-29 with 28.0 seconds left in the first half. Louisiana Tech was able to close the gap with a 9-0 run to end the first stanza.
In the first half, Plunkett led all scorers with 10 points and five rebounds. Christensen added seven points, while Brown added four. In the first 20 minutes, Utah State shot 40.7 percent (11-of-27). Louisiana Tech was led by nine points from Bendolph and Bramble-Donaldson's six points and eight rebounds in the first half. Louisiana Tech shot 46.4 percent (13-of-28).
Christensen came out strong in the second half, scoring the first five points of the half for Utah State. After a block by Brown and a trey by sophomore guard Jennifer Schlott, Utah State regained the lead, 43-41 with 14:29 left in the game.
In a very physical game, the teams exchanged leads several times. With the score tied at 49, Louisiana Tech scored four straight points to take a 55-51 lead.
After Bramble-Donaldson's fourth foul, the Aggies took the lead at 58-57 with just over eight minutes left. The Aggies stretched the lead to 60-57 before the Lady Techsters tied it back up at 60. The Aggies went on to score four straight to take a 64-60 lead. Bramble-Donaldson fouled out on an offensive foul with 6:09 left in the game.
Louisiana Tech was not done, scoring five straight to cut the lead to 72-71 with 2:32 left.
With 46 seconds left in the game, LTU took the lead after a Frazier jumper. From that point, the Lady Techsters were able to keep the lead the remainder of the game.
For the game, Utah State shot 51.9 percent (27-of-52) from the field and a near-perfect 93.8 percent from the charity stripe (15-of-16). The Aggies shot 58.3 percent from beyond the arc (7-of-12). Louisiana Tech shot 47.6 percent for the game (30-of-63) and 76.5 percent from the free-throw line. LTU shot 40.9 percent from three (9-of-22).
On Saturday the USU women's basketball team will be taking on New Mexico State in a 4 p.m. tipoff in the women's hoops annual "Play 4Kay" fund raiser. All fans who wear pink will receive free admission. The first 500 fans in attendance will receive a pink T-shirt. There will be donation sheets available at the USU marketing and promotions table located on the west concourse behind section S. All funds collected will be donated to the Kay Yow Cancer Fund. To donate online or for more information on the Kay Yow Cancer Fund, visit play4kay.org/utahstateaggies.
EASTERN WASHINGTON 78, WEBER STATE 45: At Cheney, Wash., senior forward Brianne Ryan knocked down 33 points after scoring 32 points in the first meeting between the teams in Ogden.
Weber State (2-22, 0-11 Big Sky) was led by junior forward Shawnte Taylor's 14 points, while senior guard Caela Mohre added eight.
Eastern Washington (10-2, 16-9) won its sixth straight game.
The Eagles led 40-21 at halftime, shooting 51.6 percent from the field. Things went from bad to worse for the Wildcats in the second half as they connected on just 7-of-31 shots from the field (22.6 percent).
The 33-point loss was the worst for Weber State since falling 78-40 to Wyoming on Dec. 18, 2009, and was the worst Big Sky loss since a 76-37 setback to Idaho State on Feb. 12, 1998.
Weber State returns home on Saturday seeking its first Big Sky win of the season against Northern Arizona. The Lumberjacks are 0-13 on the road this season, but defeated Weber State 71-58 in Flagstaff, Ariz., on Jan. 19.
Saturday's game is also Weber State's annual Breast Cancer Awareness day, with the first 100 fans receiving a free pink shirt.
NJIT 48, UTAH VALLEY 46: At Orem, the Wolverines trailed by five with 27 seconds to play but couldn't convert the tying bucket as time expired.
The Wolverines were led by 13 points from Sammie Jensen and a double-double performance from Erika Newbold.
"This was a real opportunity for us to defend our home court and put ourselves in a position to contend for the conference championship," said UVU head women's basketball coach Cathy Nixon. "We were solid on the defensive end, but we missed a lot of opportunities in this game."
The Wolverines (11-11, 3-2 GWC) grabbed a three-point lead, 31-28, midway through the second half following a leaner in the lane from Jensen with 13:41 remaining. But that score would be the last the Wolverines would see for the next six minutes, a drought during which NJIT (9-14, 3-3) pieced together an 8-0 run, capped by a three-point play from Uju Nwankwo, to capture a 36-31 lead with eight minutes to play.
A free throw from Newbold at the 7:35 mark finally stopped the UVU scoring drought, and both teams would seesaw back and forth over the next five minutes.
Then, with 3:06 to play, NJIT seemed to grab all momentum when leading scorer Rayven Johnson notched three of her team-high 13 points after finishing a lay-in despite the Newbold foul, and sinking the ensuing free throw.
But UVU got right back into it when Newbold scored four points in a 25 second span, cutting the deficit to 45-43 with 1:35 showing on the clock. A series of empty possessions from both teams found NJIT clinging to that two-point lead and just 48 seconds left.
The Wolverines forced an air ball from Denisa Domiterova, but failed to corral the rebound, allowing NJIT a second chance in the offensive zone. Then, with the shot clock winding down, Domiterova tracked down a deflected pass near the half-court line and turned to heave a desperation 35-footer as the shot clock expired. The junior guard's prayer was answered as the ball banked in, giving NJIT a 48-43 cushion with 25 seconds to play.
After a timeout, the Wolverines stayed alive when Abbie Beutler netted a quick, wing trey with 18 seconds left. A foul in the backcourt sent NJIT's Kimberly Dweck to the line for a one-and-one, where she missed her first attempt off the back iron. UVU raced the other way with a chance to tie, but Whitney Jenkins' baseline fall-away was short.
Newbold's 12 points and career-high 14 rebounds marked her first double-double on the year. Jenkins also finished with nine points and Beutler handed out five assists.
Utah Valley now hosts defending conference champion Chicago State Saturday afternoon. The Wolverines fell to the Cougars in the squads' first meeting this year in Chicago. Tipoff is set for 3 p.m. in the UCCU Center.
NO. 19 WESTMINSTER, 50, ROCKY MOUNTAIN 38: At Billings, Mont., for the second time this season the Griffins held an opponent below 40 points.
The win is the fifth straight for Westminster and their 11th win over the previous 12 contests. They are now 16-7 overall on the year and on top of the conference with a 9-1 mark. Rocky drops to 17-7 and 6-3.
The Griffins held Rocky to 30.6 percent shooting from the floor and forced them into 20 turnovers. Rocky was also just 1-of-9 from beyond the arc.
Westminster only shot 38.6 percent from the floor themselves while making just 3-of-11 attempts from deep. Westminster held RMC to 18 points in the first half and 20 in the second. Last month Westminster held MSU-Northern to 39 points in a game.
Nicole Yazzie and Dana Bates finished the game with 10 points apiece. Yazzie went 4-of-9 shooting with two triples and three rebounds. She also came up with two assists and three steals. Bates was 6-of-7 at the foul line with two rebounds. Cydney Tibbitts added eight points and five rebounds while Shelby Ellsworth scored seven points off the bench.
Jillian Stanek led Rocky with 10 points and Alli Blake grabbed a game-high 12 rebounds. Rocky had a 38-28 rebounding edge and forced 15 Griffin turnovers.
Westminster will play the final road game of the regular season on Saturday when they face Carroll in Helena, Mont. Tipoff is slated for 5:30 p.m. and the game will be available at www.GOTW.tv.