RENO, Nev. – Utah State women’s basketball (2-3) lost, 55-46, to USC (5-0) on Friday night in its first game of the Nugget Classic at the Lawlor Events Center in Reno, Nev.
The Aggie bench led Friday night’s effort with 31 of the Aggies’ 46 points. Freshman guard Steph Gorman led the way with 14 points, while sophomore guard Emmie Harris and senior center Deja Mason added 11 and six, respectively. Mason also led Utah State on the glass with seven rebounds.
After USC jumped out to an early 6-0 lead with 7:09 to play in the first quarter, USU would score the next eight points after a layup from junior guard/forward Hailey Bassett-Meacham and a pair of Harris treys to lead, 8-6, with 2:08 remaining. The Trojans responded with another 6-0 run, but a final bucket by USU junior guard Olivia West ended the run and kept the Aggies within two, 12-10, at the end of the quarter.
The teams traded buckets in the second quarter until Southern California scored six-straight points for its largest lead of the half, 27-19, with 2:10 remaining. Gorman scored the final seven points with a pair of jumpers and a triple to make it a one-point game, 27-26, heading into the break.
USC expanded its lead to nine, 35-26, with 6:54 left in the third. The Trojans held the Aggies scoreless until a Harris 3-pointer put USU back on the board, 35-29, with 4:19 to go. A Gorman three and a layup from junior guard/forward Shannon Dufficy made it a two-point game, 38-36, with 1:20 to go, but USC scored the final three points of the frame to punctuate the third with a 41-36 lead.
Utah Sate opened the fourth quarter with a 7-1 run to lead, 43-42, after a Dufficy layup, Olivia West jumper and a Dufficy and-1 with 4:57 left to play. After a Mason bucket gave USU the 45-44 edge with 4:21 on the clock, the Aggies would not score from the field for the remainder of the game as USC took the 55-46 victory.
USC senior guard Mariya Moore and junior guard Minyon Moore each led the Trojans with 16 points apiece. Minyon Moore also led USC with six rebounds and five steals, while redshirt sophomore forward Asiah Jones also had six boards.
Utah State shot 36.2 percent (17-of-47) from the field, 42.9 percent (6-of-14) from behind the arc and 75.0 percent (6-of-8) at the free throw line. USC shot 37.3 percent (19-of-51) from the floor, 26.3 percent (5-of-19) from the 3-point line and 54.5 percent (12-of-22) at the free throw line.
Utah State next faces Colorado (4-0) in its last game of the Nugget Classic on Sunday, Nov. 25, at noon (MT).