PORTLAND, Ore. – Behind 17 points from freshman guard TJ Goddard, the Utah State women’s basketball team held on for a hard-fought, 63-57, win against Portland at the Chiles Center in Portland, Ore., on Monday. With the win, Utah State improves to 2-0 this season. This is the first time since the 1978-79 season that the Aggies have started the season 2-0. In 22 seasons of basketball, this is only the third time that Utah State has started the season 2-0. Portland falls to 0-2 with the loss. With the win, the Aggies even the series with the Pilots, 2-2. The Pilots had won the last two games in the series. The Aggies started out strong scoring the first five points of the game. The reigning WAC Player of the Week, junior guard/forward, Amber White, picked up where she left off last week, scoring eight points in the first nine minutes of play. With three-pointers by junior Alice Coddington and Goddard with four minutes left in the first half, USU extended its lead to 11 points, 33-22. The Aggies used a 10-2 run to extend its lead after the Pilots had closed the gap to two points, 23-20. USU would enter the locker room at half time with a 37-26 lead. Goddard led all scorers in the first half with 12 points, topping her eight points scored in the season opener against Utah on Nov. 13. White added eight points, while Alice Coddington added five. The Pilots were led by Lauren Angel’s eight points, while both Tara Cronin and ReZina Teclemariam scored five. USU was able to keep Laiken Dollente off the scoreboard as she only scored two points in the first stanza. The Pilots came out strong in the second half cutting the Aggies’ 41-31 lead to 41-39 as Portland went on an 8-0 run. Utah State responded with a 5-0 run of its own to extend its lead to 47-39. Two free throws by Alexis Gannis cut the USU lead to 58-52 with less than two minutes remaining. Portland cut the lead to 58-54 with 1:22 remaining in the game after two Laiken Dollente free throws. A Gannis turnover with 46 seconds remaining gave the Aggies the ball. Teclemariam fouled TJ Goddard with 38 seconds left. Goddard made one of two free throws to give USU a, 59-54, lead. But Lauren Angel sunk a three to cut the lead to two. Down the stretch, USU was able to sink its free throws as Coddington made four-straight free throws to hang on for the win. Despite being out-rebounded 27-16 in the second half, the Aggies were able to hold off the surging Pilots. Utah State had five blocks led by three by senior Nicole Johnson. The forward now has 90 career blocks in an Aggie uniform. After a tough first half, senior center Lydia Whitehead recovered with seven points in the first 10 minutes of the second half. Whitehead would end the game with 11 points and seven rebounds. Portland was led by 15 points from Lauren Angel and 11 by Laiken Dollente. For the game, the Aggies shot 46.2 percent (24-of-52) from the field and 36.4 percent from the three-point line (4-of-11). USU shot 68.8 percent from the free throw line (11-of-16). Portland shot 31.7 percent from the field (20-of-63) and 26.7 percent from the three point line (4-of-15). The Pilots shot 86.7 percent from the free throw line (13-of-15). Utah State is back in action on Sunday, Nov. 22 against San Francisco at 3 p.m. MT. This is the first time since 1985 that the Aggies and the Dons have met. USF holds a 1-0 advantage.
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