Utah State women's basketball opened its home season Tuesday, earning its first win of the year in a 92-72 victory over Dixie State.
Sophomore guard Eliza West was the leading scorer for the Aggies, as she notched a career-high 19 points. She was one of five Utah State players to score in double figures, joined by sophomore guard/forward Hailey Bassett with 15, sophomore guard Olivia West with 12 and junior guard Rachel Brewster and sophomore guard/forward Shannon Dufficy with 10 apiece. Dufficy recorded her second double-double in as many games, leading the team with 10 rebounds. Additionally, Dufficy led the Aggies with a career-high five steals.
Two freshmen made their collegiate debuts for the Aggies, as forward Taylor Franson and center Laura Daulton played nine and six minutes, respectively. Franson recorded four rebounds, while Daulton had two points, one rebound and one block.
With the win, Utah State improves to 1-1 on the season. As a Division II program, the contest was an exhibition game for Dixie State.
After winning the tip, Dixie State scored on its first possession, but the Aggies quickly answered as junior center Deja Mason put USU on the board. The Trailblazers took the lead and tied the score one more time each, but the Aggies took the lead permanently on a layup and the and-one from Olivia West at the 7:48 mark. Just ahead of the media timeout, Utah State went on its longest run of the game, scoring seven straight, with five of those points coming from Bassett. The final minutes of the quarter were dominated by the Aggies, who scored 12 points to the Trailblazers' four. Dixie State had the final say with a pair of free throws, but USU held the 34-22 lead.
The Aggies shared the ball around well through the second quarter, as seven different players scored. Overall, the offensive pace slowed on both ends of the court, with USU out-scoring Dixie State, 15-13. A pair of 3-pointers from the Trailblazers cut the Utah State lead back to single digits, but a layup from Olivia West moved it back to double figures, where it stayed the rest of the game. Dixie State closed out the half with a layup and free throw in the final 30 seconds, with the Aggies leading, 49-35, at the break.
Back on the court, the Aggies started to pull ahead quickly. From the first inbounds play of the quarter, Utah State started to capitalize on Dixie State turnovers. Brewster started things off with a steal and fastbreak layup in the first seconds of the half. The Trailblazers had six turnovers in the quarter, with the Aggies earning eight points off them. The teams traded made field goals back and forth through the majority of the third quarter, but USU ended the period with six-straight points to lead 74-55.
The Trailblazers again opened the quarter by turning the ball over on their first possession. Later though, Dixie State put together an 8-0 run, which was snapped by a 3-point shot from sophomore guard Jessie Geer. With a single free throw at the five-minute mark, Dufficy reached her double-double on the day. Utah State made its final statement in the final seconds of the game, as Daulton blocked a Dixie State shot. Redshirt sophomore guard Lindsey Jensen snagged the rebound and turned it into a made layup, giving USU its 20-point win.
Overall, Utah State shot 47.3 percent (35-of-74) from the field, 16.7 percent (2-of-12) from the 3-point line and 66.7 percent (20-of-30) from the free-throw line. Dixie State shot 41.9 percent (26-of-62) from the floor, 31.8 percent (7-of-22) from behind the arc and 81.3 percent (13-of-16) from the free-throw line.
Utah State continues its homestand this weekend as it hosts Arizona (1-0). The Aggies and Wildcats will meet in the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum on Friday, Nov. 17, at 7 p.m.
Megan McCuistion is an Assistant Media Relations Coordinator at Utah State.