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Women's basketball falls to UC Riverside

Aggies 0-2 on road trip

staff writer

Published: Saturday, November 17, 2012

Updated: Saturday, November 17, 2012 00:11

The Utah State women’s basketball team remains winless after falling to UC Riverside on the road. The Aggies lost a tough game 94-90 in overtime despite a career night from sophomore Franny Vaaulu.

“It was a hard loss, but in three days of practice there was very good improvement in several areas of the game, but we aren’t there yet,” USU head coach Jerry Finkbeiner said. “We are a work in progress but we are going in the right direction.”

With the loss, the Aggies fell to 0-2 on the season and the Highlanders improved to 2-1. USU was led by Vaaulu’s career-high 24 points and her 3-pointer with 15 seconds remaining in regulation sent the game into overtime.

“We challenged Franny after the Utah Valley game,” Finkbeiner said. “Franny wasn’t Franny and the player I inherited so we had two good practice days and we challenged her to be what we believe is an all-conference first-teamer. She really responded well, and was the kind of player where our expectations are.”

The Aggies had four players hit the double-digit mark in scoring including seniors Devyn Christensen and Jenna Johnson. Christensen finished the game with 22 points to go along with her six steals and six assists. Johnson posted her first double-double of the season with 16 points and 10 rebounds.

UC Riverside senior guard Tre’Shonti Nottingham led all scorers with 29 points. Teammate Natasha Hadley chipped in with 18 points and 15 boards.

USU came out hot to start the game and took an early 21-10 lead with 14 minutes remaining in the half. The Highlanders fought back in front of their home crowd and were able to take the lead 29-28 with a little over eight minutes remaining in the half.

UC Riverside eventually pushed their lead to 37-28 behind a 17-0 run led by Nottingham and Hadley. During that stretch, USU went more than five minutes without a hitting a field goal. The run by the Highlanders was eventually stopped by a Vaaulu layup to cut the deficit to seven.

“We had a string of questionable shot attempts and we turned the ball over,” Finkbeiner said. “We lose our discipline of what got us to where we want to be.”

The Aggies went into the halftime break trailing 51-38. Johnson finished the first half with 11 points and six rebounds and Vaaulu tacked on eight points despite both players sitting on the bench for much of the first half with foul trouble.

“Franny and Jenna both got into foul trouble, and one of our weaknesses is depth at the big position,” Finkbeiner said. “That put them on the bench for much of the first half and that’s where we lost our big and went into halftime with a deficit.”

USU came out strong to start the second half with six-straight points from Vaaulu to cut the UC Riverside lead to 60-52 with more than 15 minutes remaining.

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