Williams’ career night not enough for Aggies
Published: Tuesday, January 15, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, January 15, 2013 15:01
Playing in its final game of a three game road-trip, the Utah State women’s basketball team took on the San Jose Spartans on Saturday afternoon. The Aggies fell to the Spartans 103-80 despite a great shooting performance by freshman Makenlee Williams.
“It was a very confusing game and outcome of the game,” said USU head coach Jerry Finkbeiner. “It is a really hard one to explain. Everything seemed to be coming together and yet just flat tonight. What we can do here is dust our saddles off and move on.”
With the loss, USU falls to four games below .500, 6-10 on the season and 3-2 in the WAC. SJSU improved their record to 5-11 overall and 2-3 in conference play.
Williams had a career-high five 3-pointers and led the team in scoring with 19 points. It was tough game for both of the Aggies’ star seniors. Jenna Johnson finished with 14 points but had an uncharacteristic nine turnovers. Devyn Christensen had a rough shooting game for USU, chipping in with 13 points on 4-25 shooting including 0-11 from beyond the arc.
The Spartans were led by forward Emily Schill, who poured in a game-high 36 points to go along with 17 rebounds, six assists, four steals and two blocks. Guard Ta’Rea Cunnigan also had a good game for SJSU with 26 points and six assists.
“Schill totally dominated us and the thing was it had nothing to do with low post plays,” Finkbeiner said. “It was all second chance putbacks. Our post players were nonexistent defensively. She outscored, outplayed and outrebounded our four bigs all by herself. She was really a big surprise for our scouting report because she hasn’t done this against other teams.”
Things got off to rocky start for the USU right from tipoff. The Spartans made the opening basket and never looked back. SJSU led the entire way and were up by double-digits for most of the game.
The Spartans opened the game on an 8-0 run and led 24-10 halfway through the first half. The Aggies were able to cut the deficit to 21-30 at the six minute mark after a jumper by Williams. That’s as close as USU got in the half.
“It’s not fun and it’s very challenging when you dig a hole every game and spend the next 36 minutes trying to get out of it,” Finkbeiner said.
In the final six minutes of the half, both teams traded buckets but USU wasn’t able to cut any further into the lead. The Spartans took a 50-38 advantage into halftime.
The second half brought more the same for SJSU as they continued to dominate the Aggies with offensive rebounding and second chance points. The Spartans lead ballooned to 18 points with 13:25 remaining in the game.
USU clawed their way back into the game and cut the SJSU lead to single digits after a Williams 3-pointer to make it 65-56. Turnovers and missed layups doomed the Aggies as they weren’t able to cut further into the lead.
“We missed at least two, if not three fairly-open fast break layups,” Finkbeiner said. “We had a chance to cut it even closer than nine, but our guards also had some turnovers.”
The Spartans took advantage of their opportunities and took over the final 11 minutes of the game to handly hand the Aggies their 10th loss of the season.
It has been a disappointing season so far for the preseason-No. 1 Aggies. The team came into the season with high expectations and were favored to win the WAC in their final season in the conference.
The team will try to get back on track on Thursday, Jan. 17 at the Spectrum where they will host New Mexico State (9-7, 3-3) in the Battle of the Aggies. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m.