RENO, Nev. – Despite holding WAC Player of the Year Shanavia Dowdell to two points, the seventh-seeded Utah State women’s basketball team could not overcome sharp Lady Techster shooting, falling 82-65 in the Western Athletic Conference Tournament quarterfinals Wednesday in Reno, Nev. Utah State ends its fifth season in the WAC with a 13-17 record, while Louisiana Tech improves to 21-8 with the win. The Lady Techsters will advance to take on third-seeded and host school Nevada in the semifinals on Friday, March 12. Top-seeded Fresno State will face fourth-seeded Idaho in the other semifinal. Junior guard LaCale Pringle-Buchanan was the Aggies leading scorer with 18 points to go along with five steals. Fellow junior guard Amber White dished in 15 points 13 of which came in the second half to help USU have a 37 points second half. Senior center Lydia Whitehead had her best offensive game since scoring 14 in a win against Weber State on Dec. 21. The 82 points scored by the Lady Techsters was the most allowed by Utah State this season and was the first time it allowed 80 points all season. It was the first time this season that Dowdell was held without a field goal this season. After Dowdell got her second personal foul early in the first half, the Aggies got on the board with two Whitehead free throws. Utah State took its first lead of the game 4-2 with a LaCale Pringle-Buchanan jumper. The Lady Techsters used a 13-0 run to jump out to a 23-8 lead at the 11:49 mark of the first half. Louisiana Tech was led by an early seven points from both Jasmine Bendolph and Adrienne Johnson. Johnson would go on to score 11 of LTU’s first 25 points. Louisiana Tech also used its athleticism to take an early 16-6 advantage on the boards. USU cut the lead down to 36-26 after red-shirt freshman TJ Goddard hit her third three pointer of the first half. Despite Dowdell missing much of the first half with foul trouble, the Lady Techters jumped out to a 41-28 half time lead behind 25 points scored by the duo of Bendolph and Johnson. In the first half, the Aggies were led by nine points from Goddard and eight from Whitehead. Pringle-Buchanan added seven first-half points to go along with two steals. USU out-scored Louisiana Tech 16-7 in second chance points. Louisiana Tech was led in the first half by 13 points from Johnson, who also led the team with five rebounds.As a team, the Lady Techsters out-rebounded the Aggies 24-17 in the first stanza. Louisiana Tech also added eight steals in the first half. Despite being down, 48-34 early in the second half, the Aggies would not go away. USU fought back and cut the lead down to 50-41 with 13:24 left in the game. USU cut the lead down to six at 50-44 after an old-fashioned three-point play by Pringle-Buchanan. After USU cut the lead down to 50-46, LTU scored five-straight points to stretch the lead back to 55-46. The never-say-die Aggies used 13 second-half points from Amber White to cut the lead down to 60-54 with under five minutes remaining. LTU used two quick baskets to rebuild its 10-point lead 64-54. Once LTU re-took the 10 point lead, it never looked bad keeping a double-digit lead the remainder of the game. Utah State will say goodbye to a quartet of seniors, Nicole Johnson, Lydia Whitehead, TaHara Williams and LeeAnn Palo. Johnson will leave Utah State as the school’s all-time shot blockers with 133 blocks in her four-year career. In Whitehead’s two years at Utah State, she made a huge impact, ending her Aggie career with 420 rebounds and 65 blocks. For the game, the Aggies shot 41.4 percent from the field (24-of-58) and 50 percent from three (7-of-14). The Aggies shot 73.7 percent from the charity stripe (14-of-19). The Lady Tecshters shot 37.1 percent from the field (23-of-62), while shooting 41.7 percent from three (5-of-12). LTU shot 68.2 percent from the free throw line (15-of-22).
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