Career Highs From Christensen and Plunkett Lead USU Women’s Basketball to First WNIT Win, 103-95

LOGAN, Utah – Utah State women’s basketball made history in several ways in its 103-95 win in the first round of the Women’s National Invitation Tournament at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum Thursday. The win was the Aggies first WNIT victory and first postseason win since a 90-74 victory over Northern Colorado in the AIAW Championship in 1977.The 103 points was the most points scored by the Aggies since a 96-39 win against Southern Idaho in 1984. It was also the first time that USU scored 100 points since Utah State beat New Mexico State, 105-98 on Feb. 20, 1982.Utah State improved to 18-14 on the season which is a school record for most wins in a season since the 1973 finished with 17 wins. Arizona ends its season with a 21-12 record.Utah State used career highs from junior forward Maddy Plunkett and sophomore guard Devyn Christensen to seal the high-scoring affair. Plunkett dropped in 11 points, while Christensen topped all Aggie scorers with 27 points.Early layups by Diop and Christensen helped the Aggies jump out to an early 7-2 lead with 18 minutes remaining in the first half. Christsensen continued her hot streak with a three to extend the USU lead to 10-3. The Aggies used an 8-0 run to take a 15-3 lead. Christensen scored 10 of USU’s first 24 points.The Aggies continued to lead despite Brown scoring her first two points of the game with 10:11 left in the half. USU took its biggest lead of the half 16 points after a Diop jumper gave the Aggies a 29-13 lead.Early turnovers hurt the Wildcats with 10 in the first 10 minutes of the game. Strong first-half play by Soana Lucet helped Arizona stay in the game as she scored 11 of Arizona’s first 26 points.After another layup by Lucet cut the lead to nine points, freshman guard Jennifer Schlott delivered an old-fashioned three point play to up the USU advantage to 44-32 with less than two minutes remaining.The Wildcats used the three pointer to get back in the game at the end of the half. Both Candice Warthen and Davellyn White sunk threes to cut the lead. Despite the strong start, Arizona cut the lead to 46-40 at half. The Wildcats used 24 points in the paint to help stay in the game. On the other hand, USU out-scored Arizona 13-7 in bench points.In the first half, Christensen led the Aggies with 12 points, while Diop added 11. Senior guard Alice Coddington scored only two points, but added five steals on the defensive end.Arizona’s Lucet led all scorers with 13 first-half points and five rebounds. The Wildcats were hampered by 14 turnovers in the first stanza.The Wildcats scored the first four points of the second half to cut the lead to 46-44, which was the closest that Arizona had been since USU led 3-2. A 9-2 run to start the second half for Arizona gave the Wildcats their first lead since leading 2-0.Behind a second-half surge by Brown 71-62 lead in the second half. Brown scored only four points in the first half, scoring 12 early points in the second stanza.A jumper by Schlott with seven minutes remaining gave USU its biggest second-half lead 83-70; it was part of a 9-0 Aggie run. The Wildcats responded with back-to-back layups. With 3:46 Christensen suck a contested three-point bucket to regain a 10 point lead with an assist from senior LaCale Pringle-Buchanan.Arizona battled back and cut the lead to 91-84 with 1:54 left. The Aggies wouldn’t relent sinking 13-of-16 free-throws in the last two minutes of the game as the Wildcats attempted a comeback. The final score was 103-95.The Aggies will continue to the second round of the WNIT and will face the winner of the game between BYU and Denver. The site and game time are yet to be determined.Fans can follow USU women’s basketball and Coach Pebley on Twitter at http://twitter.com/UTAHSTATEofmind and Utah State Athletics at http://twitter.com/USUAthletics.–USU–

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