Utah State women’s basketball tops Nevada Wednesday (with photo gallery)

LOGAN, Utah – With a 70-55 home victory over Nevada Wednesday, Utah State women’s basketball picked up its second regular-season sweep of a Mountain West opponent.

Sophomore guard Funda Nakkasoglu led the Aggies and all scorers with 26 points on the night. Freshman center Deja Mason recorded a career-best 10 rebounds, en route to her first-career double-double as she added 11 points. Nevada had three players score in double figures, led by 13 apiece from Teige Zeller and Stephanie Schmid.

With the win, Utah State improves to 12-14 on the season, with a 7-8 record in Mountain West action. Nevada falls to 5-21 overall and 4-11 in league play with the loss.

It was a slow start for both teams on the night, while each tried to find its offensive flow. By the first media timeout, just two players had scored for Nevada, but the a Wolf Pack led, 11-8. Out of the break, a 3-pointer from Nakkasoglu ended a scoreless four minutes for either team. A layup from Nakkasoglu on the next possession put the Aggies ahead for the first time in the game, a lead she secured at the buzzer for USU to lead 15-12 at the end of the quarter.

In the first minute of second quarter action, a fastbreak layup put Nakkasoglu in double figures, well on her way to her team-leading 25 points. While the Aggie defense held Nevada without a basket for three minutes, the Wolf Pack called the first timeout of the quarter with Utah State on a 10-0 run. A hot streak from the Aggie offense extended USU’s lead, as the team made five of its seven shots over the stretch. With a layup from junior forward Antoina Robinson as the clock ran out, Utah State went into the halftime break with a 40-26 lead.

Nevada was first to score in the third quarter, getting on the board from the 3-point line. After the Aggies failed to answer, the USU coaching staff called an early timeout. Utah State didn’t score until the 5:56 mark of the second half, allowing the Wolf Pack to go on a 7-0 run. The skid was snapped by Nakkasoglu, getting fouled on a made layup and earning the extra point from the free throw line. By the 4:16 mark of the quarter, Nakkasoglu hit her 20 points on the night, reaching the benchmark on 12 field goal attempts. The battle continued through the final minutes of the quarter. While the Wolf Pack offense looked to make a run, the USU defense intensified as sophomore center Hannah Hutchins fouled out at the 2:09 mark.

The Aggies again had a slow start to open the fourth quarter, as it took two-and-a-half minutes to score. Senior forward Julianne Anchling gave USU its first points of the quarter, but followed the basket with a technical foul being assessed. Nevada struggled from the floor over the next stretch, going 3:39 without a point, committing five turnovers in the same time. The Wolf Pack snapped its skid with a free throw, but Mason snagged the rebound on the missed second shot, earning her double-double. With just under two minutes to play, Nevada made its first field goal since the first two minutes of the quarter, but the Aggies had built their lead back up. After a final minute of back-and-forth fouls and field goal attempts, Utah State secured the 70-55 victory.

On the night, Utah State shot 42.0 percent (29-of-69) from the field, 18.8 percent (3-of-16) from the 3-point line and 75.0 percent (9-of-12) from the free throw line. Nevada shot 38.5 percent (20-of-52) from the field, 42.9 percent (6-of-13) from behind the arc and 56.3 percent (9-of-16) from the free throw line.

Utah State returns to the road for the weekend as it plays at San José State. The Aggies and Spartans will battle at 3 p.m. (MT) on Saturday, Feb. 27.

Tickets for the 2016 Mountain West Championship are now available by contacting the Utah State Ticket Office at 1-888-USTATE-1 or 435-797-0305 during regular hours of operation. Fans can also buy tickets in person at the USU Ticket Office inside the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum or online by clicking on the “Buy Tickets” tab at www.utahstateaggies.com. The tournament will be held at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas, March 7-12.

A USU women’s sports pass is available for $75, giving the owner entry to all home volleyball, women’s basketball and gymnastics events. The pass, as well as individual game tickets, are available through the USU Athletics Ticket Office. Fans can find more information by calling (435) 797-0305 or at 1-888-U-STATE-1 (1-888-878-2831) or by visiting the Utah State Athletics website at www.utahstateaggies.com.

Fans can follow USU women’s basketball on Twitter, @UtahStateWBB, on Instagram, @USUWBasketball, as well as on Facebook, at USUWBB. Aggie fans can also follow Utah State Athletics on Twitter.com, @USUAthletics, on Instagram, @USUAthletics and on Facebook at Utah State University Athletics.

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Posted in USU