LOGAN, Utah – Despite not having the lead for 37 minutes of Monday night’s women’s basketball game, Utah State picked the best three minutes of the game to have a lead, using a 9-0 run over the final 3:23 of the game to complete the comeback and overtake Southern Utah, 63-56, at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum. It was the Aggies’ second win in a row, as Monday was the third of USU’s four-straight games against in-state foes.The win improves Utah State to 2-4 on the season, while Southern Utah drops to 2-4 having lost for the second-straight outing. The Aggies now have a 5-2 series advantage over the Thunderbirds, winning four in a row. Sophomore center Banna Diop logged her first career double-double with a career and game-high 19 points to go with a game-best 11 rebounds. Diop was the only Aggie in double-digit scoring and rebounding, while senior guard Alice Coddington tallied nine points and dished out a career-high nine assists, in playing all 20 minutes of the second half. Junior forward Ashlee Brown added eight points, six rebounds and six assists, tying her career-best for helpers, as USU distributed 17 assists, one shy of their season-high.Southern Utah was led by 16 points from Challis Pascucci, but the Aggie defense put the clamps on her in the second half, limiting her to just two points. Caitlyn Sears added 11 points and Desiree Jackson tossed in 10 points. Tayler Anderson pulled down 10 rebounds, leading the T-Birds to a 46-35 rebounding advantage.The game was tied four times, the last coming at 56-56 with 3:23 to go on a Coddington layup. USU did not lead in the game until a pair of free throws by sophomore guard Chelsea Burns with 2:33 left put the Aggies ahead for the first time and for good. Diop hit a layup with 55.5 seconds left and was fouled, but missed the ensuing free throw. SUU’s Kaila Goff missed a jumper with 41 seconds left and USU got the rebound. Sophomore guard Jenna Johnson hit a pair of charity stripe shots with 37.3 ticks on the clock for a 62-56 Aggie advantage. Jackson missed a three-pointer for SUU, that went out-of-bounds. Brown was fouled on the in-bounds pass, but missed both free throws, giving the T-Birds a chance, but the Aggie defense forced a desperation shot that Johnson corralled and was fouled. She hit one of her two free throws, and the USU defense caused an SUU turnover.The Aggie defense forced 21 T-Bird turnovers, while USU converted into 26 points, while SUU scored 11 points off USU’s 16 miscues. Despite forcing all the turnovers, USU only swiped seven steals, nearly five below their Western Athletic Conference-leading 11.80 steals per game.Utah State was 13-of-25 (52.0 percent) from the field in the first half, but just 10-of-30 (33.3 percent) in the second half, finishing at 41.8 percent (23-of-55). Southern Utah also shot better in the first 20 minutes, netting 43.8 percent (14-of-32) from the floor, cooling off to just 25.0 percent (8-of-32) after intermission to finish at 22-of-64 (34.4 percent).USU made more free throws than SUU attempted as the Aggies were 13-of-22 (59.1 percent) at the charity stripe, while the T-Birds tallied 6-of-8 (75.0 percent) at the free pitch line.Southern Utah hit its first three shots to open a 7-0 lead, and eight of its first 11 shots, leading by eight at 18-10 at the 13:33 mark on a layup by Sears. After USU climbed back to knot the score at 20-20 with 9:29 to go on a Burns layup, SUU pushed its lead back to eight at 30-22 on a jumper by Meghan Ringer. Trailing 32-24 with 5:10 to go after a pair of Pascucci shots from the free pitch stripe, Utah State closed to 35-34 at the half with five straight points.The T-Birds stretched their lead back to eight at 46-38 with 14:27 on the clock after a trey by Sears, but Diop made a layup followed by a Johnson jumper and then Diop drained a three-pointer to pull the Aggies within 46-45 at the 13:02 mark. After SUU regained control with six unanswered points, capped by a three-pointer by Goff to lead 52-45 at the 10:21 mark, USU climbed back and overtook the T-Birds for the win.USU concludes its stretch of four in-state foes in a row on Wednesday, Dec. 1, heading to Orem, Utah to take on Utah Valley in a 7 p.m. tip-off. The Aggies continue their road swing by traveling to Flagstaff, Ariz. to face Northern Arizona on Saturday, Dec. 4 at 2 p.m.Utah State returns to the friendly confines of the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum to open a four-game homestand on Wednesday, Dec. 8 against San Francisco in a 7 p.m. tip-off. For Aggie women’s basketball tickets contact the USU Athletics Ticket Office at 435-797-0305 for more information or visit the Utah State athletics web site at www.UtahStateAggies.com.Fans can follow USU women’s basketball and Coach Pebley on Twitter at http://twitter.com/UTAHSTATEofmind and Utah State Athletics at http://twitter.com/USUAthletics.-USU-
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