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Women's basketball falls in home opener

staff writer

Published: Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Updated: Tuesday, December 4, 2012 22:12

Devyn Christensen

AGGIE GUARD DEVYN CHRISTENSEN drives past a Texas State defender in Saturday’s 71-65 loss to the Bobcats. CURTIS RIPPLINGER photo

Senior Jenna Johnson’s career night wasn’t enough to propel the Utah State women’s basketball team to a win against Montana State on Saturday afternoon as the Aggies fell 71-65 in their first home game of the season.

“Very frustrating loss, very, very frustrating,” said USU head coach Jerry Finkbeiner. “Nothing really was consistent all night long other than getting a lot of steals. We got 17 steals, but the stat sheet says zero fastbreak points. How do you get 17 steals and not get any fastbreaks? Bottom line is in our halfcourt offense. We are really struggling in the halfcourt of our offense.”

USU lost their previous two games and owns a 2-5 record. The Bobcats improve to 5-1, continuing their impressive start to the season.

“We’re growing right now and it’s a challenge we are trying to get through,” Johnson said. “We’re trying to figure out who we are and what we’re capable of. It just didn’t come out the way we wanted it to tonight.”  

Johnson led the Aggies and was two steals away from her first ever triple-double. Her career-high 20 points, 10 rebounds and career-high eight steals led the game.

Senior Devyn Christensen struggled throughout the game to find her shot but finished with 18 points, despite shooting 6-22 from the floor.

“I worked my butt off but nothing is good enough unless we win,” Johnson said.

Montana State’s leading scorer was Kalli Durham with 18 points and four rebounds.

USU was outrebounded 48-30 in the game, including 19-11 on the offensive glass. That disparity combined with poor shooting ultimately decided the game.   

“We’re a smaller team every game out so we have to take that responsibility and our guards need to rebound more,” Finkbeiner said.  

USU took an early 5-0 lead behind back-to-back shots by freshman Makenlee Williams but the Bobcats fought back with a 7-0 run to take the advantage in the game with four minutes played.

Montana State took advantage of offensive rebounds and turnovers to push their lead to 16-9 with 10 minutes remaining in the half.

The Aggies regained the lead 22-21 with six minutes to play after a jumper by Johnson. It looked as if USU would take the lead into halftime, but the Bobcats tied the game 32-32 with 31 seconds left on the clock. Christensen had a chance to put the Aggies ahead to close the half but her 3-pointer at the buzzer hit the side of the backboard.

Johnson went into the break with 13 points, eight rebounds and five steals. Christensen had five points while shooting 2-11 from the field. As a team, the Aggies shot 39.3 percent from the floor.

In the first 10 minutes of the second half, both teams traded possessions and leads but neither team led by more than four points.

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