LOGAN, Utah – Facing a sizable opponent with four starting forwards, Utah State women’s basketball dropped a home conference contest to UNLV Saturday, 63-54.
Sophomore guard/forward Shannon Dufficy was the leading scorer for the Aggies, as she matched her career-high with 21 points. She was also the top rebounder for USU with eight boards on the day. She was joined in double figures by redshirt sophomore guard Victoria Price who tallied 10 points. UNLV had two players record double-doubles, led by Katie Powell who finished the game with 25 points and 11 rebounds.
With the loss, Utah State falls to 3-12 on the year and 1-3 in Mountain West play. UNLV improves to 7-7 overall and 2-1 in league action with the win.
Utah State started strong and early, hitting back-to-back 3-pointers to open the game. UNLV answered with a layup and two free throws, but both offenses then started to struggle. More than five minutes ran off the clock with neither team being able to score. UNLV ended the drought with a pair of free throws at the 1:21 mark to tie the score, but USU had the final say. Dufficy ended the quarter the same way she’d started it with a shot from 3-point range, giving the Aggies the 9-6 lead.
The second quarter started well for the Aggies, as Price hit a pair of shots in the early minutes. Junior guard Rachel Brewster then scored five-straight points as she hit a trey to beat the shot clock and added a pair of free throws on the next possession to give USU a 10-point advantage. UNLV’s success from the free throw line continued, as the Lady Rebels continued to chip away at Utah State’s lead. Utah State went another two-and-a-half minutes without scoring, giving UNLV the chance to catch up. As the final minute hit, UNLV took its first lead of the day. Dufficy reached double figures to tie the score again, but two more Lady Rebel free throws gave UNLV the 27-25 lead at the halftime break.
UNLV scored four-straight to open the third quarter, forcing a Utah State timeout. Out of the break, redshirt sophomore guard Lindsey Jensen got the Aggies on the board with a layup two minutes into the period. The Lady Rebels added a 3-pointer then, but both teams then went two minutes without scoring. After a UNLV timeout, another trey gave the Lady Rebels their first double-digit lead of the day. Dufficy ended Utah State’s scoring skid with a pair of free throws, adding a jumper on the next possession for the first USU field goal in nearly four minutes. That shot sparked an 8-0 run for the Aggies, as the defense held UNLV scoreless for 3:30. A 3-point shot ended the drought for UNLV, but Dufficy added a trey of her own to end the quarter. After three, the Lady Rebels held onto the lead, up 42-40.
The offensive pace slowed again as the fourth quarter got underway, as teams traded shots back-and-forth early on. The Aggies were able to pull within two points, but the Lady Rebels then answered with a 9-0 run to build up the lead again. With under a minute to play, Dufficy snapped the scoring skid for the Aggies with a pair of free throws, tying her career-high. Brewster gave Utah State one last field goal on the final possession of the game, but the Lady Rebels took the win.
Overall, Utah State shot 34.5 percent (20-of-58) from the floor, 37.5 percent (6-of-16) from the 3-point line and 80.0 percent (8-of-10) from the free throw line. UNLV shot 31.0 percent (18-of-58) from the field, including 25.0 percent (5-of-20) from behind the arc, and was 95.7 percent (22-of-23) from the free throw line.
Next week, Utah State will play at Colorado State on Wednesday, Jan. 10, at 7 p.m. The Aggies will then return home to host Nevada on Saturday, Jan. 13, at 2 p.m.
Fans can follow USU women’s basketball on Twitter, @USUWBasketball, on Instagram, @USUWBasketball, as well as on Facebook, at /USUWBB. Aggie fans can also follow Utah State Athletics on Twitter, @USUAthletics, on Instagram, @USUAthletics and on Facebook at /USUAthletics.