LOGAN, Utah – Facing a short turnaround in game action, the Utah State women’s basketball was undeterred as it topped in-state foe Westminster, 74-67, at home Monday.
This was the Aggies’ first win of the season, as the team improves to 1-1. As a Division II program, Monday’s game was an exhibition for Westminster, who therefore remain 1-1 on the year.
Sophomore guard Funda Nakkasoglu for the top scorer for the Aggies Monday, tallying 24 points. Joining her in double figures were freshmen guards Katie Toole and Victoria Price with 11 and 10, respectively. Freshman center Deja Mason and junior forward Antoina Robinson led the team in rebounding with nine apiece.
Overall, the Aggies topped the Griffins in most major categories. USU turned the ball over just 12 times throughout the game, while picking up 12 steals and three assists. The Aggies also out-rebounded Westminster, 36-32.
Westminster opened the game with the early control, jumping out to the early lead. Playing at a much slower pace than Saturday’s competition, however, Utah State was able to maintain more consistent possession, and capitalize on offensive opportunities. With 1:30 remaining the in the first quarter, freshman guard Rachel Brewster pushed USU ahead with a 3-pointer.
The Aggies carried the momentum into the second quarter, extending the lead before allowing Westminster to catch up. The Griffins gained the scoring advantage in the final two minutes of the quarter, but a trey from Robinson and a set of successful free throws from Nakkasoglu put the Aggies up 41-38 at the halftime break.
The game picked up physically in the third quarter, as the fouls added up. With the increased defense though, the Aggies also gained speed on the offensive side of the court. Utah State found its first double-digit lead of the night late in the third on a layup from freshman guard Lindsey Jensen.
Throughout the fourth quarter, Westminster chipped away at the USU lead. After three minutes of neither team being able to score, Nakkasoglu snapped the skid with a pair of free throws. As the final minutes of the game ticked down, Nakkasoglu went on a hot streak for the Aggies, scoring the team’s final 10 points. Though the Griffins were able to scatter shots in between Nakkasoglu’s streak, it wasn’t enough to catch USU, securing the win for the Aggies.
Overall, Utah State shot 40.3 percent (25-of-62) from the field, 35.7 percent (5-of-14) from the 3-point line and 82.6 percent (19-of-23) from the free throw line. Westminster shot 48.0 percent (24-of-50) from the field, 37.5 percent (6-of-16) from three and 72.2 percent (13-of-18) from the free throw line.
The Aggies return to the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum on Saturday, Nov. 21. As part of a USU tripleheader that day, the Aggie women host Pacific at 6 p.m. The basketball game follows the USU football game against Nevada at 1:30 p.m. and precedes the volleyball game against Air Force at 8:30 p.m.
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.