Christensen 3 lifts Utah State past South Dakota

USU women's basketball player Devyn Christensen goes up for a shot during the Aggies game against South Dakota in the Spectrum on Dec. 20, 2012. Christensen hit the game winning 3-pointer with 10 seconds to play to lift Utah State to a 70-69 win. 

LOGAN, Utah – In front of over 1,000 kids, senior guard Devyn Christensen drilled a three with 10 seconds left to give Utah State women’s basketball a 70-69 win over South Dakota on Thursday in the first game of a tripleheader at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum.

Utah State improved to 4-0 on School Day also defeating South Dakota State, Northern Arizona and North Dakota State.

The win snaps a five-game losing streak for the Aggies, who improve to 3-8 this season. The Coyotes fall to 5-7 with the road loss. USU earned the win despite being out-rebounded 63-26 by South Dakota.

Four different Aggies were in double digits in scoring led by 25 points by Christensen. This was her seventh 20-point game this season. Senior guard Jenna Johnson added 16 points, while junior guard Jennifer Schlott scored 12 points and added a career-high eight assists.

Three different Coyotes scored in double figures with Tempestt Wilson scoring 18. Margaret McCloud had a double-double with 16 points and 10 rebounds. Nicole Seekamp added 14 points and eight boards.

The Aggies were very aggressive early on forcing three South Dakota turnovers in the first three minutes of action. Schlott continued her hot hand from Tuesday’s loss to UC Irvine, draining a three to give the Aggies and early 8-6 lead.

The scored was tied for the fourth time with a layup by sophomore forward Franny Vaaulu that tied the score at 10-10 with less the 15 minutes left on the clock. Ten-straight by the Coyotes gave them a 20-11 advantage with under 11 left. South Dakota used solid rebounding to help take the lead.

USU scored five-straight to cut the lead down to 25-21 with 8:40 remaining in the half. Despite the Aggie run, the Coyotes continued to have an answer. Five consecutive points gave the Coyotes a 31-23 lead.

In the first half, the game was dominated by the Coyote rebounding, as South Dakota out-rebounded the Aggies, 39-11, in the first half. Lisa Loeffler led all players with seven rebounds, including six offensive boards. On the offensive end, the Coyotes were led by Nicole Seekamp’s 10 points.

Johnson scored a game-leading 12 points in the first half, while Christensen had six of USU’s 11 rebounds and added seven points. Sophomore Elise Nelson had three steals in the first 20 minutes.

The Coyotes jumped out to a 10-point lead early in the second half its largest to that point. Five-straight Aggie points led by a trey by Christensen helped the Aggies claw back into the game, trimming the Coyote lead to 44-39 with 15:57 left.

South Dakota maintained the lead for much of the second half as the Aggie shooting struggled. Utah State was able to cut the lead down to five several times in the half but never could cut the lead down more than that.

With 6:47 left in the game, South Dakota held a 14-point lead, which was its highest of the game. From that point the Aggies began their comeback. A 7-0 run cut the lead to 65-51 with less that five minutes left on the clock.

A Christensen three cut the lead down to 66-64 with under four to play as the Aggies still had fight left in them. A Vaaulu free throw cut the lead to one at 66-64 before Wilson sank a three.

The only lead that Utah State would have in the second half was the final shot of the game as Christensen’s three gave USU the win.

Utah State shot 29-of-62 (46.8 percent) field goal shooting, making 7-of-21 (33.3 percent) of its three-pointers. The Aggies were also a season-low 5-of-9 (55.6 percent) at the free throw line.

South Dakota shot 26-of-75 (34.7 percent) from the field, making 4-of-22 (18.2 percent) from behind the arc, and the Coyotes were 13-of-19 (68.4 percent) at the charity stripe.

Utah State will begin its final season in the Western Athletic Conference after the holiday break. The Aggies will host WAC newcomers UTSA on Dec. 29 at 7 p.m. and close out 2012 against Texas State on Dec. 31 at 7 p.m.

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