USU women’s basketball opens conference season in loss to San José State

LOGAN, Utah – In the first game of the Mountain West season and the last of 2015, Wednesday, Utah State women’s basketball fell to San José State, 86-74.

With the two leading scorers in the conference playing in the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum, sophomore guard Funda Nakkasoglu led Utah State with 22 points, while SJSU’s Dezz Ramos led all scorers with 24 on the night. Joining Nakkasoglu in double figures for the Aggies were senior forward Julianne Anchling with a career-best 15 points and freshman guard Rachel Brewster with 12.

With the loss, Utah State falls to 5-7 on the year and opens league play at 0-1, while San José State improves to 3-9 overall and 1-0 in conference action.

The night started out in the Aggies’ favor, picking up the lead at the end of the first quarter, where it would stay until halfway through the third. Anchling led the way early on, with two quick 3-point shots. The USU defense held the Spartans to just 2-of-13 in the final minutes of the quarter. With 37 seconds remaining, junior forward Antoina Robinson scored to give the Aggies the 18-17 advantage.

Both teams struggled to score in the early minutes of the second quarter, as the Aggies went 2-for-7 and the Spartans attempted just one shot in the first three minutes of play. Anchling continued her hot streak throughout the quarter, however, as she had a career-best 15 points by the end of the half. An 8-2 run by SJUS tied the score back up, but a pair of buckets from freshman guard Lindsey Jensen and Anchling in the final seconds secured the 35-31 halftime lead for Utah State.

Coming out of the break, Djukic scored six-straight points for the Aggies, but the team missed its next seven attempts, allowing the Spartans to again tie the score. A jumper from Brewster ended the USU scoring slump, but a SJSU trey gave the Spartans a lead they would retain for the rest of the night.

Nakkasoglu opened the fourth quarter with a 3-pointer for the Aggies, as the Spartans responded with a 10-0 run. Nakkasoglu chipped away at the San José State advantage though, scoring 11-straight points for the Aggies, interrupted by just one SJSU field goal. In the final minute, Utah State fouled the Spartans on four different occasions, which SJSU capitalized on at the free throw line for an additional eight points. As the seconds ticked off the clock, the Aggies missed a pair of last 3-point attempts, sending the Spartans out with the victory.

On the night, Utah State shot 32.5 percent (25-of-77) from the field, 26.7 percent (8-of-30) from the 3-point line and 80.0 percent (16-of-20) from the free throw line. San José State shot 45.8 percent (27-of-59) from the field, 33.3 percent (8-of-24) from behind the arc and 77.4 percent (24-of-31) from the free throw line.

The Aggies play their first road game of the Mountain West season at San Diego State on Saturday, Jan. 2. Utah State will battle the Aztecs at 3 p.m. (MT). The roadswing will continue next week, when USU plays at Boise State on Wednesday, Jan. 6, at 7 p.m.

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Posted in USU