FRESNO, Calif. – Despite a record-breaking performance from senior guard Jennifer Schlott, the Utah State women’s basketball team dropped another heartbreaking game to Fresno State, 72-70, Saturday at the Save Mart Center.
Taylor Thompson went coast-to-coast and drained a jumper with as time expired to seal the Bulldog win. The Aggies looked to halt a 10-game losing streak against Fresno State.
Despite the loss, history was made as Schlott broke Kim Smith of Utah’s Mountain West record for single-season scoring. Smith scored 655 points during the 2005-06 season, while Schlott now has 664 points this season. She broke the record with a jumper in the second half. Schlott also set the Utah State single-season, passing Devyn Christensen who scored 643 last season.
This was also the first meeting between the Aggies and former head coach Raegan Pebley who took the reigns at Fresno State two seasons ago.
With the loss, Utah State falls to 11-15 overall and 5-10 in Mountain West action. Fresno State improves to 16-10 overall and 10-5 in league play.
Besides Schlott’s 35 points, sophomore guard Makenlee Williams had her second double-double of the season with 11 points and 10 rebounds. Sophomore guard Stephanie Bairstow was close to a double-double with 12 points and seven boards. The Aggies won the battle of the boards with the Bulldogs 47-26.
Fresno State was led by 18 points from Bree Farley, while the hero of the night Thompson added 16 points. Raven Fox scored 13 points, while Moriah Faulk added 11 boards.
The Bulldogs used the three to jump out early, making three of its first four treys to take a 17-10 advantage. The hot shooting continued early as Fresno State took its first double-digit lead after a Thompson three, 24-12 with 12:37 remaining in the first half.
Utah State was not helped by turnovers, as Fresno State forced seven in the first 10 minutes of action.
A Schlott three followed by a Williams layup help cut the Bulldog lead to 26-19 with 8:52 remaining.
The Aggies cut it to a four-point game after a Vaaulu layup with a little help from Schlott. The senior cut it to a two-point game with 5:07 remaining. USU tied it up with its first free throws of the game, 30-30. After the Aggies tied it up the Bulldogs did not take more than a three-point lead the rest of the half.
The half ended with Fresno State clinging to a one-point lead, 35-34. USU was led by Schlott’s 13 points and three assists. Bairstow scored eight points to go along with three rebounds, while Williams added seven points and six rebounds. The Aggies won the battle of the boards in the first half 21-14.
In the second half, back-to-back baskets by Williams put the Aggies back on top 46-45 with 13:56 on the clock.
The fouls started to mount as the Aggies had seven team fouls with 12 minutes left in the game. Vaaulu picked up her fourth with 12:49 left on the clock.
Utah State took its first double-digit lead after a Vaaulu layup as the Aggies went up 65-55.
Vaaulu fouled out with 3:28 left in the game with both Elise Nelson and Schlott picking up their fourth late in the game. Fresno State mounted a comeback with nine-straight points to cut the lead to 65-64 with under three left in the game.
Fresno State re-took the lead with a pair of Farley free throws, 68-67 with under a minute remaining. A layup by Fox with 25 seconds remaining put Fresno State up 70-67. Schlott drained a clutch three with seven seconds left to tie the scored at 70 before the Thompson heartbreaker gave the Bulldogs the win.
For the game, Utah State shot 51.8 percent (29-of-56) from the field. The Aggies shot 21.4 percent from beyond the arc (3-of-14), while ending the game shooting 75.0 percent from the charity stripe (9-of-12). Fresno State shot 38.1 percent from the field (24-of-63), while making 6-of-24 from three which was good for 24.0 percent. The Bulldogs shot 78.0 percent from the free throw line (18-of-23).
The Aggies return home for a two-game homestand against New Mexico on Wednesday, Feb. 26 at 7 p.m. and conclude the home portion of the schedule against San Jose State on Saturday, March 1 at 7 p.m. at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum.
Live stats will be available this week by going to www.utahstateaggies.com. Live audio for both games is available by going to the “Listen Live” link on the front page of the Utah State web site at www.utahstateaggies.com.
Fans can follow USU women’s basketball at www.twitter.com/UtahStateWBB, as well as on facebook, at www.facebook.com/USUWBB. Aggie fans can also follow the Utah State athletic program at twitter.com/USUAthletics or on Facebook at facebook, at www.facebook.com/USUAthletics. Utah State women’s basketball is now also on instagram at www.instagram.com/USUWbasketball.
Aggie women’s basketball tickets will be available by contacting the USU Athletics Ticket Office at (435) 797-0305 or at 1-888- -STATE-1 (1-888-878-2831) for more information or visit the Utah State athletics web site at www.UtahStateAggies.com.