LAS CRUCES, N.M. – With four players scoring in double digits, the Utah State women’s basketball team captured its fifth-straight win with a 74-56 win against New Mexico State in USU’s Western Athletic Conference opener on Thursday. There was a crowd of 3,264 as it was Las Cruces School Day. With the win, the blue Aggies improve to 10-5 overall and 1-0 in WAC play. USU is now 4-3 in WAC openers, winning its last three. Utah State is also now 2-1 in WAC road openers. This was the first time that USU and NMSU have met to begin conference action. New Mexico State falls to 3-13 overall and 0-1 in league play. With 13 second-half points, senior guard Brooke Jackson led all scorers with 18 total points, while senior forward Ashlee Brown scored 15 points. Senior forward Maddy Plunkett added 13 points, while junior guard Devyn Christensen sunk 12 points. Sophomore guard Jennifer Schlott made the most of her minutes with five assists in five minutes of action. The five assists tied a career high for Schlott. New Mexico State was led by 12 points from both Kelsie Rozendaal and Jasmine Rutledge. The Aggie defense held NMSU’s leading scorer, Tabytha Wampler, to only five points. Camila Rosen registered a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds. The maroon Aggies won the battle of the board by slightly out-rebounding USU 30-28. Early on it was New Mexico State controlling the boards with an early 6-3 advantage through the first six minutes of the game. Despite the rebounding discrepancy early on, USU jumped out to a 16-13 lead. Utah State would never trail from that point on. After Brown’s first basket with 9:27 left in the first half, Utah State opened up a 20-15 lead. Plunkett’s second three of the half gave the blue Aggies a 28-19 advantage with 6:44 remaining in the first stanza. Utah State took its first double-digit lead of the game, 31-19, after yet another trey by Plunkett. A 6-0 run near the end of the half, gave Utah State an 11-point lead. A three by Jackson with six seconds left in the half gave Utah State its biggest lead of the half, 40-28, which is how the half would end. In the first 20 minutes, Plunkett led all scorers with 13 points, including going 3-for-3 from beyond the arc. Christensen added seven points with Brown scoring six. USU had eight first-half assists, including four from Schlott. New Mexico State was led by eight points from Rozendaal. NMSU won the battle of the boards in the first stanza, out-rebounding USU 17-12. Both teams started the second half a little turnover prone, but USU fought through taking a 47-32 lead with 15:28 left in the game. New Mexico State used timely shooting to cut the lead to 47-37 with 12:14 remaining before a Brown old-fashioned three-point play put USU back up 50-37. New Mexico State wasn’t done though, using four quick points from Camila Rosen to cut the lead to 54-44 with 9:18 left. NMSU would get no closer from that point on as Utah State put the game away for good. With less than three minutes remaining in the game, a three by Jackson gave USU its then-biggest led of the game 17 points, 71-54. The Aggies would top that, taking a 74-54 lead with 1:13 remaining. USU ended the game 530-of-53 (54.5 percent) from the floor. The Aggies were 6-of-13 from three-point range (46.2 percent), while shooting 8-of-11 (72.7 percent) from the charity stripe. New Mexico State was 22-of-50 (44.0 percent) from the field, making 2-of-11 threes (18.2 percent). NMSU was 10-of-15 (66.7 percent) from the free throw line. Utah State concludes the road trip at Louisiana Tech on Saturday, Jan. 14 at 5 p.m. (MT). The game is the first half of a doubleheader with the USU men’s team. This is the third-straight doubleheader for the Aggies. Fans can follow USU women’s basketball at http://twitter.com/UTAHSTATEofmind and Utah State athletics at http://twitter.com/USUAthletics. Live stats will be available for most Utah State women’s basketball games through the women’s basketball page on www.utahstateaggies.com, by clicking on GameTracker in the current events box. All home games can be viewed by clicking on “Watch Live.” For tickets contact the USU Athletics Ticket Office at (435)797-0305 or at 1-888-U-STATE-1 (1-888-878-2831) for more information or visit the Utah State athletic web site at www.UtahStateAggies.com.
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