Utah State women’s basketball ends season in first round tournament loss Monday

LAS VEGAS, Nev. – Utah State women’s basketball’s 2017-18 season came to an end Monday, as the Aggies opened the Mountain West Championships in a 68-54 loss to No. 8 Air Force.

Sophomore guard Olivia West led the Aggies in scoring, finishing the day with 13 points. She was joined in double figures by sophomore guard Eliza West and junior guard Rachel Brewster, who posted 12 and 11 points, respectively. Brewster was the leading rebounder for Utah State with six boards. Air Force also had three double-digit scorers, led by two players with 18 points apiece.

Utah State ends the 2017-18 season with a 7-23 record, having gone 5-13 against Mountain West opponents. Air Force advances to the quarterfinals of the Mountain West Championships with a 6-24 overall record.

Both teams were hot from the floor early on, shooting a combined 12-of-15 before the media timeout. Utah State was first to score, but the Aggies and Falcons traded shots from there. Among Air Force’s made shots though were three 3-point shots, giving it the early advantage. The Aggies were held to just four points for the remainder of the quarter and were not able to score in the final 2:41. The Air Force surge gave the Falcons the 24-14 advantage at the end of the first.

The Aggies’ scoring drought ended on the first possession of the second quarter when freshman forward Taylor Franson snagged an offensive rebound for the put-back. Utah State added one more layup from Eliza West before the Falcons could score, but they answered with five-straight points, including another 3-point shot, to retake the double-digit lead. Air Force ended the quarter with back-to-back made field goals while holding the Aggies scoreless for the last 2:44 to take a 35-24 lead into the halftime break.

Air Force came out strong in the first second of the second half, scoring on its first possession and then forcing a turnover to score again. The Falcons continued to shoot well, while Utah State went 2:44 between made field goals. Utah State forced Air Force to tally most of its points at the free throw line in the latter minutes of the quarter, but the Falcons built up a 56-38 lead by the third quarter buzzer.

Utah State struck first again in the fourth on a free throw from sophomore guard Jessie Geer, followed by a layup from Eliza West. The last 11 Aggie points of the day all came from Olivia West, as she put up a mix of shots over the final six minutes. Utah State out-scored Air Force in the fourth quarter, but it wasn’t enough to catch the Falcons and keep the season going.

Overall, Utah State shot 47.8 percent (22-of-46) from the floor, 33.3 percent (1-of-3) from the 3-point line and 75.0 percent (1-of-3) from the free throw line. Air Force shot 52.1 percent (25-of-48) from the field, including 38.5 percent (5-of-13) from behind the arc, and was 68.4 (13-of-19) from the free throw line.

Fans can follow USU women’s basketball on Twitter, @USUWBasketball, on Instagram, @USUWBasketball, as well as on Facebook, at /USUWBB. Aggie fans can also follow Utah State Athletics on Twitter, @USUAthletics, on Instagram, @USUAthletics and on Facebook at /USUAthletics.

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