Albuquerque, N.M. – Senior guard Jennifer Schlott scored the final 14 points of the game as the Utah State women’s basketball team edged New Mexico Wednesday at the Pit. The win halted the Aggies season-long, five-game losing streak.
With the victory, Utah State improves to 9-10 overall and 3-5 in Mountain West play. New Mexico has now lost five-straight, falling to 7-12 overall and 2-6 in league action.
Schlott was clutch from the charity stripe, going 10-for-10, as she passed Devyn Christensen for the all-time USU leader in free throws made. She has now hit 328 career free throws in her Aggie career. Schlott ended the game with 30 points, four assists and three rebounds. For the second-straight game, freshman guard Lynette Johnson topped her career high with 10 points and five boards. Junior guard Elise Nelson added a team-high seven assists.
Sophomore guard Stephanie Bairstow added eight points, playing in the Pit where her brother, Cameron, is the Lobos leading scorer for the men’s team.
With four assists, Schlott now has 362 career assists. She is just nine assists away from tying Taylor Richards (2005-08) for the Aggie career lead in assists. Richards had 371 during her storied Utah State career.
New Mexico had three players in double figures led by 17 points from Bryce Owens. Both Sara Halasz and Antiesha Brown added 10 points for the Lobos. The Aggies won the battle of the boards, 39-32.
The Aggies started a little cold from the field, beginning the game 1-of-5. Both teams had their early struggles with New Mexico opening up the early 8-2 lead with under 15 left in the opening half.
After an Ingrida Strikas old-fashioned three-point play, USU cut the Lobo lead down to 19-17. A Johnson traditional three led to a UNM timeout, clinging to a 21-20 advantage with 8:22 left in the half.
The Aggies tied the score, 23-23, after a Nelson steal and Schlott basket. With under six minutes left, Utah State took its first lead of the game, 27-26, off of a Bairstow layup. The Aggies carried that momentum extending their lead to 34-28 after a pair of Nelson free throws.
Utah State ended the first half on a 10-2 run, taking a 37-30 lead into halftime. The lead was the Aggies first halftime lead since defeating San José State, 78-65, on Jan. 4.
The Aggies had very balanced scoring in the first half with four different players scoring at lead five points in the first 20 minutes. Schlott led the way with eight points and four assists, while junior forward Franny Vaaulu added seven points and six rebounds off the bench. USU had only five turnovers in the first half.
The Lobos were led by 12 points from Owens, while Halasz added eight points and four boards in the first half.
Utah State opened up its first double-digit lead after another Nelson steal and a layup by Schlott to take a 42-32 lead. The fouls began to mount for the Aggies with Schlott and Vaaulu being called for their fourth and third, respectively with more than 15 minutes remaining in the game.
Another three by Owens cut the Utah State lead to 10 points at 45-35 with under 16 minutes left in the game. Despite the foul trouble, the Aggies were able to maintain a double-digit lead for much of the second half. The Lobos got the lead under 10, 63-54, with a pair of Brown free throws with under seven left in the game.
Back-to-back threes by Brea Mitchell cut the Aggie lead back down to seven points with 2:28 left. Another three by Mitchell cut the Aggie lead to four with 1:10 left. Schlott took over from there, hitting a jumper with under a minute left to help USU remain on top.
Schlott scored the final 14 points of the game for the Aggies and 16 of the last 18 to help secure the Utah State win.
For the game, Utah State shot 44.1 percent (26-of-59) from the field. The Aggies shot 14.3 percent from beyond the arc (1-of-7), while ending the game shooting 84.6.9 percent from the charity stripe (22-of-26). New Mexico shot 39.6 percent from the field (21-of-53), while making 9-of-21 from three which was good for 42.9 percent. The Lobis shot 60.0 percent from the free throw line (18-of-30).
The Aggies return home for a brief one-game homestand against Wyoming on Saturday, Feb. 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.