Seattle University women’s basketball (11-9. 8-3 WAC) kept the lead for the majority of the contest in a battle for top spot in the Western Athletic Conference, but a late run by Utah State (12-10, 9-2 WAC) gave the Aggies the win, 67-62.
Neither team was able to get an early bucket, as Jennifer Schlott put Utah State ahead, 2-0, on a pair of free throws. Jenna Johnson would add two more right after the first media timeout, which proved to be the team’s only points for the first nine minutes of play.
Ashley Ward (Irvine, Calif.) tied the game, 2-2, on a jumper at 16:34 and Taelor Ross (Vancouver, Wash.) gave the Redhawks their first lead, 4-2, at 16:02.
After Johnson’s set of free throws tied the game at four, Seattle U went on a 9-0 run with contributions by four different Redhawks to lead, 13-4, at 11:04.
The Aggies drove in three straight layups over the next minute to cut the lead to just three, 13-10, but contributions from Ward, Brenda Adhiambo (Mombasa, Kenya), and Kacie Sowell (Ventura, Calif.) gave the Redhawks their first double digit lead, 21-10.
Devyn Christensen hit a three-pointer for USU at 5:40 to decrease the deficit to single digits, 21-13, but Daidra Brown (Seattle, Wash.) put Seattle U back ahead by ten, 23-13, with a pair of free throws.
Christensen added two straight three pointers for the Aggies to bring the team within five, 25-20. Sowell and Franny Vaaulu alternated layups over the final minute to keep the Redhawk lead at five, 29-24, at halftime.
Adhiambo opened up the second half with a layup, which was met with another three by Christensen.
Ward scored three straight points for Seattle U, complimented by back-to-back layups by Sowell and Sylvia Shephard (Alta Loma, Calif.) to stretch the SU lead back out to double digits, 38-27, at 16:43.
A layup by Elise Nelson cut into the Redhawk lead and the Aggies followed with an 11-4 run to come within two, 42-40, at 12:42.
Nelson added another layup to put USU back within two, but the Redhawks extended their lead back out to six, 49-43, at 10:28.
Schlott added a three-pointer to put USU within three, 51-48, and after two scoreless minutes, another three-pointer by Christensen put the Aggies within one, 53-52 at 6:40. Schlott put Utah State ahead by two, 55-53, and gave the Redhawks a deficit they were not able to overcome.
Seattle U tied up the score two more times over the final five and a half minutes and kept the deficit within three for four of the five minutes, but they were not able to regain the lead and fell to the Aggies, 67-62.
Sowell led the Redhawks with 20 points and a season-high 16 rebounds, recording her 12th double-double of the season. Adhiambo notched her third career double-double with 13 points and 11 rebounds. Christensen led the Aggies with 28 points, and Johnson recorded a team-high 13 rebounds.
SU outrebounded USU, 53-34, and led from the free-throw line, shooting 21-for-27 (77.8 percent) to Utah State’s 75.0 percent (24-for-32), as well as from the field (31.7 percent to 31.1 percent). The Aggies led from behind the three-point line (34.8 percent), as the Redhawks shot 0-for-8.
The Redhawks return home to host Denver on Feb. 7 at 7 p.m. and New Mexico State on Feb. 9 at 4 p.m. The NMSU contest will be the team’s annual pink game to benefit the Kay Yow Cancer Foundation. Fans can get involved by going to www.play4kay.org/seattleu.