USU women’s basketball opens 2018-19 season with 72-61 win at Washington State

PULLMAN, Wash. – Utah State women’s basketball (1-0) broke open the 2018-19 season with a 72-61 victory over Washington State (0-1) at the Beasley Coliseum in Pullman, Wash., on Tuesday night. Junior guard/forward Hailey Bassett-Meacham led the Aggies with a career-high 23 points in the win.

Three other Aggies scored in double figures on the night as junior guard Olivia West had 16, junior guard/forward Shannon Dufficy had 12 and junior forward Marlene Aniambossou had 10 in her USU debut. Aniambossou, Bassett-Meacham and Dufficy each grabbed six rebounds apiece to lead the Aggies on the glass. Junior guard Eliza West led the team with five assists, while Olivia West led the Aggies with three steals.

Utah State came out strong in the first quarter, with Bassett-Meacham scoring the first two buckets of the night to give USU the 4-0 lead with 8:58 left to play in the quarter. Dufficy and senior guard Rachel Brewster followed suit with a couple points of their own to put Utah State up, 8-2, with 6:48 on the clock. A layup from senior center Deja Mason put the Aggies up, 15-9, with 3:58 to go in the first. However, Washington State responded with an 8-0 run to take its first lead of the night, 17-15, with 1:28 left to play in the opening quarter. Bassett-Meacham would tie it back up at 17, but the Cougars would get the last bucket of the quarter to lead, 19-17.

Washington State opened the second quarter extending its lead to six, 23-17, with just under nine minutes to play. Aniambossou hit a pair of shots to cut the lead back down to two, 23-21, with 6:37 on the clock. The Cougars led by as many as seven twice, including 35-28 with 1:40 remaining in the second quarter. A Brewster jumper and a pair of Bassett-Meacham free throws cut the lead to 35-32 heading into the break.

Dufficy scored 10 of the Aggies’ 12 third quarter points. The Cougars maintained their lead, although USU came within one on three separate occasions early on in the quarter. The closest the Aggies got in the third came after a Dufficy layup, cutting the lead to 39-38 with about seven minutes remaining. Washington State continued to hold to its advantage, leading 48-44 at the end of the third quarter.

The Cougars scored the first three points of the final stanza, but then the Aggies took over. Free throws and a jumper from Bassett-Meacham, an Olivia West jumper and trey put the Aggies back on top, 53-51, with 7:24 to play. After some back-and-forth play, a couple of layups from Olivia West and Aniambossou gave USU a five-point advantage, 64-59, with 1:27 to play. Utah State maintained the lead, and Olivia West converted six free throws down the stretch to cement the 72-61 Utah State victory.

Washington State was led by redshirt junior forward Borislava Hristova, who had 27 points, and freshman forward Ula Motuga, who had 15. Hristova and senior center Maria Kostourkova led the Cougars with seven rebounds apiece.

Utah State shot 43.9 percent (29-of-66) from the field, 22.2 percent (4-of-18) from behind the arc and 100 percent (10-of-10) from the free throw line. Washington State shot 47.8 percent (22-of-46) from the floor, 23.1 percent (3-of-13) from the 3-point line and 66.7 percent (14-of-21) from the charity stripe.

Utah State returns to the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum on Friday, Nov. 9, as the Aggies host Northern New Mexico (1-3) in their home opener at 2 p.m.

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