PROVO — Utah State women's basketball got back in the win column in a big way Wednesday, as the Aggies defeated in-state rival BYU, 76-69.
This was Utah State's first win over BYU since Dec. 7, 1978, ending what had been a 28-game winning streak for the Cougars in the series. It is just USU's second-ever win in the Marriott Center and the first since Feb. 9, 1974. Utah State is now 4-35 all-time against BYU.
Junior guard Rachel Brewster matched her season-high Wednesday as she led the Aggies with 20 points for the fourth 20-point game of her career. Sophomore guard Olivia West was next, putting up 19 points on the day. Sophomore guard/forward Shannon Dufficy recorded her fourth double-double of the season, scoring a season-best 16 points and adding 10 rebounds. Sophomore guard Eliza West led the Aggies to a season-high 18 assists, contributing eight for her own season-best performance.
Utah State snaps a six-game losing streak with the win over the Cougars, improving to 2-6 on the year. BYU dropped its fourth-straight contest and falls to 3-5 with the loss.
BYU won the tip but quickly turned the ball over. As Eliza West made the steal, she passed to Olivia West, who got the Aggies on the board from the 3-point line. Aside from an early one-point deficit, Utah State led the Cougars for the majority of the first quarter. With just a minute left to play, BYU briefly took the lead, but sophomore guard Jessie Geer answered with a drawn foul for the 3-point play. The Cougars had one last say as the buzzer sounded, tying the score at 16 with a final layup.
The Aggies came out strong to start the second quarter, scoring nine-straight points and forcing a BYU timeout. The Cougars scored coming back to the floor after the stop and found a bit of an offensive surge, but Utah State quickly responded. Behind two quick 3-point shots from Olivia West, USU found its first double-digit lead of the day. BYU cut into that lead briefly with a pair of free throws, but junior center Deja Mason hit a layup in the final seconds of the half to take the 37-27 lead. With that, the Aggies had their biggest lead on BYU since the 2011 contest, when USU had a 10-point lead at the half and led by as many as 13 points.
Both offenses were slow to start after the halftime break, but once they did start, they got hot. Dufficy was first to strike, as she hit her first 3-pointer since the season opener at UC Irvine. The teams traded buckets throughout the quarter, but the Aggies led by as many as 18 points as they saw success from the 3-point line. Like she started the quarter, Dufficy scored the final basket of the third, securing the 61-46 lead for the Aggies.
The fourth quarter didn't start as well for Utah State, while BYU came out strong. The Cougars held USU to just four points early on, while scoring 12 of their own to cut the Aggie lead back to single digits. Sparked by an 8-0 run, BYU did not allow Utah State to score over a 5:26 span. The Cougars struggled to score late in that Aggie drought, keeping USU ahead.
Brewster finally ended the skid for the Aggies, scoring a quick five points. BYU was held to just four free throws until a 3-point shot fell with 37 seconds to go. The final minute came down to free throws, as the teams combined for eight fouls in that stretch. As both Olivia West and Eliza West fouled out of the game, Brewster matched her season-high with 20 points with two free throws. BYU had the final point with a single shot from the charity stripe, but the Aggies stayed ahead and secured the win.
Overall, Utah State shot 43.3 percent (26 of 60) from the field, 26.7 percent (4 of 15) from the 3-point line and 68.4 percent (13 of 19) from the free-throw line. BYU shot 51.7 percent (30 of 58) from the floor, 35.0 percent (7 of 20) from behind the arc and 64.3 percent (9 of 14) from the free-throw line.
Utah State continues competition against in-state rivals this weekend as it plays at Utah Valley on Saturday, Dec. 9, at 3 p.m.
Fans can follow USU women's basketball on Twitter, @USUWBasketball; on Instagram, @USUWBasketball, and on Facebook, at /USUWBB. Aggie fans can also follow Utah State Athletics on Twitter, @USUAthletics; on Instagram, @USUAthletics, and on Facebook at /USUAthletics.
Megan McCuistion is an assistant media relations coordinator at Utah State.