USU women rally to beat Seattle in battle of top WAC teams

USU senior guard Jenna Johnson goes up for a shot during the Aggies game against Seattle in the Spectrum on Feb. 2, 2013. Utah State defeated the Redhawks, 67-62, to take control of first place in the Western Athletic Conference. 

<strong>LOGAN—</strong> Utah State women’s basketball captured sole possession of first place in the Western Athletic Conference with a scrappy, 67-62, win over Seattle Saturday at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum.

The win was the Aggies’ sixth straight which is the longest since last season when USU won six, which is a program record since the re-instatement. Utah State improves to 12-10 overall and 9-2 in the WAC. Seattle falls to 11-9 overall and 8-3 in league games, which is good for second place.

Senior guard Devyn Christensen led all scorers with 28 points to go along with four steals. With the 28 points, Christensen is just nine points away from breaking the Utah State scoring record. She now has 1,345 career points just eight points behind Jerrie McGahan (1977-80) who had 1,353 points as an Aggie.

Senior guard Jenna Johnson scored eight points and added a team-leading 13 rebounds. She also added four assists, two blocks and two steals. Junior guard Jennifer Schlott scored 13 points with four assists and four steals. The 10 blocks by the Aggies was a season high.

Kacie Sowell had a double-double with 20 points and 16 rebounds. The Redhawks were 0-for-8 from beyond the arc. This is the first time this season that the Aggies have not allowed a three.

Both teams started slow with no field goals in the first three minutes of action. USU’s only points came on a pair of Schlott free throws. The Aggies missed their first 13 shots before a Vaaulu layup with 10:43 left in the first half.

As the Aggies struggled, the Redhawks jumped out to a 13-6 lead with under 11 to play in the half.

Utah State used a 6-0 run to cut the lead to 13-10. The Redhawks responded with seven-straight to take a 20-10 lead as the tough SU defense was difficult for the Aggies to combat. The Seattle run ballooned to 10 as the Redhawks took a 23-13 advantage.

Despite the rough start, USU battled back and only trailed 29-24 at half time. Despite being out-rebounded 30-16 in the first half, the Aggies were within reach. Christensen was the first-half leading scorer for the Aggies with 11 points. Vaaulu added six off the bench.

Sowell led Seattle with 10 points nine rebounds, while Brenda Adhiambo added six for the Redhawks.

Freshman guard Makenlee Williams was charged with her fourth foul early in the second half, hampering the Aggies.

Seattle came out strong in the second half, increasing its lead to 38-27 with under 17 left in the game. Sophomore guard Elise Nelson was a spark off the bench with an assist, a steal and a basket within a minute to put Utah State within five, 39-34 with 14:37 left.

After the Aggies cut the lead to 44-42, Seattle scored four straight, stretching the lead to 48-42

USU tied the game for the first time since it was 4-4 after a Johnson free throw, making the score 53-53 with 6:19 left in the game. The Aggies took its first lead since 2-0 with 6:02 left on the clock after a pair of Schlott free throws.

After the fifth tie, Utah State took the lead for good, 59-57, after a Johnson layup. The Redhawks were never able to re-take the lead as USU made its free throws down the stretch.

For the game, Utah State shot 31.1 percent from the field (19-of-61) and 34.8 percent from beyond the arc (8-of-23). The Aggies shot 77.8 percent from the charity stripe (21-of-27).

Seattle shot 31.7 percent (19-of-60) from the field and were 0-of-8 from beyond the arc.. The Redhawks shot 75.0 percent from the free throw line (24-of-32).

The Aggies will conclude the homestand next week against San Jose State on Saturday, Feb. 9 at 7 p.m. The game against the Spartans is USU’s annual Play 4 Kay game in support of breast cancer research.

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