Roadrunners drop conference opener at Utah State, 79-66
LOGAN, Utah — UTSA scored the last eight points of regulation to force overtime, but Utah State opened the extra session with an 11-0 run en route to a 79-66 victory on Saturday night in the Western Athletic Conference opener for both squads.
Senior Simone Young reached double-figures for the fifth consecutive contest with 16 points to pace UTSA (6-6, 0-1 WAC), which dropped its second overtime game of the season. Freshman Niaga Mitchell-Cole added a career-high 12 points and eight rebounds off the bench.
Meanwhile, Jennifer Schlott scored a game-high 22 for the Aggies (4-8, 1-0 WAC), who improved to 4-3 in WAC openers. Devyn Christensen finished with 19 points, a dozen of which came after halftime, while Jenna Johnson netted 17.
Christensen’s jumper with 4:37 to play in regulation gave Utah State a 58-50 lead, but the Aggies did not score again until Johnson’s 3-pointer with 4:31 to go in overtime.
Senior Jermini Malone hit one of her three treys of the night to pull UTSA to within five before Mitchell-Cole tied the score with 2:45 on the clock with a layup followed by a 3-pointer of her own.
The Roadrunners continued to get stops and had a chance to win with three-and-a-half seconds remaining, but senior Whitney York’s heave from near halfcourt fell just short and sent the game to overtime tied at 58.
Johnson’s triple on Utah State’s first possession in the extra frame ended a 5:06 scoreless stretch and started an 11-0 run that put the Aggies ahead for good. UTSA closed the gap to seven twice, but Utah State salted the game away with eight free throws in the final minute.
The Aggies scored the game’s first six points before Young put the visitors on the board with a 3-pointer. UTSA’s next two buckets, from sophomore Jenny Menz and Young, also came from behind the arc to give the Roadrunners their first lead of the contest, 9-8.
Senior Lyndi Thorman hit a baseline jumper before freshman Mannasha Bell connected inside as part of an 8-2 spurt that gave UTSA a 14-10 advantage.
However, the Aggies responded with a 10-0 run that saw baskets by four different players to grab a 20-14 lead with 8:34 before halftime.
The Roadrunners pulled to within two at 29-27 on Young’s layup with 2:51 on the clock, before Utah State ended the half on a 10-1 run. The spurt was capped by a half-court buzzer-beater by Schlott that pushed the Aggies' lead to 39-28.
The teams traded baskets to start the second half and a layup from Makenlee Williams extended the Utah State lead to 43-30.
A Menz layup started a 12-0 run that cut the deficit to one. Mitchell-Cole and senior Cori Cooper scored inside, while Malone and Young each hit 3-pointers during the stretch. However, the Aggies responded with six consecutive points.
Utah State shot 40 percent from the field, while UTSA checked in at 30.8 percent. The Roadrunners pulled down 22 offensive rebounds and got 28 points from their bench.
UTSA returns to action at 6 p.m. (CT) on Monday, Dec. 31, at San Jose State (4-8, 1-0 WAC).