RIVERSIDE, Calif. – Utah State women’s basketball (17-15, 10-8 Mountain West) recorded its first postseason victory since the 2010-11 season with a 68-60 victory over UC Riverside (17-16, 10-6 Big West) in the first round of the Women’s Basketball Invitational (WBI) on Wednesday night in the SRC Arena in Riverside, Calif.
Junior guard/forward Shannon Dufficy extended her school record in single-season double-doubles to 19 and tied the career record of 31 after recording 20 points and 10 rebounds. Junior guard Eliza West flirted with a double-double after posting 12 points and nine assists.
Utah State jumped out to an early 9-0 lead after a layup from senior guard Rachel Brewster, a jumper from junior guard/forward Hailey Bassett, a three from freshman guard Steph Gorman and a Dufficy layup. UC Riverside, however, closed out the quarter with an 11-2 run to tie it up at 11-11 at the end of the period.
The Aggies turned around in the second quarter with a 14-2 run to open the period after layups from E. West and Dufficy, a Gorman three, buckets from sophomore guard Emmie Harris and Dufficy, and a Dufficy 3-pointer for the 25-13 edge. After trading buckets, free throws and a three from junior guard Lindsey Jensen-Baker gave the Aggies the 36-20 advantage to end the stanza.
UC Riverside opened the third quarter with an 8-2 run to make it a 10-point game, 38-28. After some back-and-forth play, UCR used an 11-0 run to tie it up at 44-44 with 2:20 to go. The Aggies pushed the lead back out to four at 48-44 after a Dufficy layup and free throws from freshman forward Emma Dudley, but the Highlanders would come within two twice more in the period. Another Gorman 3-pointer to end the stanza gave Utah State the 53-48 edge.
A pair of 3-pointers from Dufficy and Harris extended the Aggie lead to 61-53 in the final stanza. After the Highlanders trimmed the lead to five, another Dufficy trey and a layup from senior center Deja Mason gave USU the 10-point advantage, 66-56. Utah State went on to win it, 68-60.
UC Riverside had three players score in double figures, led by junior forward Marina Ewodo with 14.
USU finished the night shooting 41.9 percent (26-of-62) from the field, 44.4 percent (8-of-18) from behind the arc and 66.7 percent (8-of-12) at the free throw line. UCR shot 39.2 percent (20-of-51) from the floor, 30.8 percent (4-of-13) from behind the 3-point line and 59.3 percent (16-of-27) at the free throw line.
Utah State will next face North Texas (16-15, 7-9 Conference USA) in the second round of the WBI on Tuesday, March 26, at 6 p.m. (MT) in Denton, Texas.
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