Fueled by a dominant first quarter, Utah State women’s basketball posted a 60-52 home win over Fresno State on Saturday.
Utah State had three players score in double figures Saturday, led by sophomore guard/forward Hailey Bassett, who led the team with 18 points. Sophomore guard/forward Shannon Dufficy recorded her sixth double-double of the season with 10 points and a team-high 12 rebounds. Additionally, sophomore guard Olivia West added 12 points. Fresno State had two players reach double digits, led by 16 points from Candice White.
With the win, Utah State improves to 5-16 on the year, including a 3-7 record against Mountain West opponents. Fresno State falls to 10-10 overall and 5-4 in league play.
Things started out well for the Aggies and stayed that way through the first quarter. Junior guard Rachel Brewster opened the game from the 3-point line, while sophomore guard/forward Shannon Dufficy and Hailey Bassett added to the early run. Fresno State's first points of the game came at the 6:18 mark, but the Aggies answered with another 12-straight points. Utah State added to its total with a last-second 3-pointer from sophomore guard Olivia West, taking a 19-2 lead at the end of the first.
Bassett opened the second quarter for the Aggies, but the Bulldogs started to find some traction, snapping their skid from the 3-point line. The teams alternated baskets then, as Fresno State cut into the deficit. The Bulldogs closed the half on a 13-3 run, holding USU to a single field goal and one free throw in the final five minutes. The Aggies held onto their lead though, heading into the halftime break with a 32-25 advantage.
Things slowed for both teams as the third quarter got underway. Fresno State picked up the first bucket of the quarter, continuing its run from the second. Dufficy then put up USU's first points of the period on a layup at the 7:46 mark. The teams continued to trade baskets back and forth, as Bassett hit three straight for the Aggies. During the last four minutes of the quarter, Utah State found its spark again, quickly building its lead back up to double figures. The Aggies closed the period on an 8-3 run, holding Fresno State scoreless until the last 30 seconds.
The first point of the fourth came at the free-throw line for Fresno State, but a pair from the stripe for the Aggies and trey from sophomore guard Eliza West put the USU lead back to double figures. The back-and-forth action continued through the fourth up until the media timeout. From there, both teams struggled to score, as two minutes ticked off the clock between made shots on either end. Olivia West ended the drought for the Aggies, but Fresno State went nearly another minute without a score. The Bulldogs got one last pair of free throws in the final seconds of the game, but the Aggies secured the win.
Overall, Utah State shot 36.5 percent (23-of-63) from the floor, going 15.0 percent (3-of-20) from the 3-point line and 68.8 percent (11-of-16) from the free-throw line. Fresno State shot 28.3 percent (15-of-53) from the field, including 36.0 percent (9-of-25) from behind the arc, and was 92.9 percent (13-of-14) from the free-throw line.
The Aggies return to the road for their sole game next week. Utah State will play at New Mexico (16-6, 4-5 MW) on Wednesday, Jan. 31, at 7 p.m. The team will be off for the weekend with its first Mountain West bye.
Megan McCuistion is an Assistant Media Relations Coordinator at Utah State.