Logan, Utah – The San José State women’s basketball team led by two points, 78-76 with 1:34 to play in the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum, but in what has become an all to familiar scenario in the 2014-15 season they were outscored 9-2 down the stretch and lost 85-80 on Wednesday night in Mountain West action.
“This game came down to free throw shooting,” head coach Jamie Craighead said. “We made 17-of-30 (56 percent) and that killed us. Plus, we had a turnover in the final minute when we could have cut the lead to a point. The free throws have been an issue since we began conference play. They have cost us down the stretch before and tonight they did again.”
San Jose State (11-13, 5-8 MW) trailed by eight after the first possession of the second half, but after a 15-7 run, had forged a 48-46 lead with just inside 16 minutes to play. The run included three-pointers from Ta’Rea Cunnigan, Aniya Baker and Rebecca Woodberry and was capped by a trey from Rachol West.
Myzhanique Ladd gave the Spartans their biggest lead of the game, 51-47 with 14:30 to play, sinking the first of two free throws, but missed her second attempts. It was a familiar theme the rest of the way.
In the final 14 minutes the game was tied seven times while the lead see sawed back and forth. The Spartans had several chances to increase a narrow lead or cut a small deficit down from free throw line. But they missed nine of 18 tries and failed to cash in on both attempts on any two-shot fouls. The Aggies, on the other hand, made 18-of-26 from the line in the second half and nine of their last 10 and to close out a close game.
San José State also had to deal with was foul trouble on their front line. Utah State took advantage of the situation outscoring SJSU 46-to-29 in the paint. They also held a slim 55-49 advantage on the boards. In the crucial final minute Riana Byrd and Jasmine Smith both fouled out.
The Spartans did everything they need to do to win the game, but make their free throws. They shot 47 percent in the second half and kept the rebounds close against a taller team despite their best rebounders being in foul trouble. They hit 11 three-pointers to Utah State’s four. Every other statistic was close enough to be negligible.
Cunnigan, the school’s career scoring leader finished the night with a team-high 17 points and moved past 1,900 career-points. With Cunnigan at 1,903 points and averaging 17.0 per game, she could crack the 2,000-point plateau in the Mountain West Tournament in Las Vegas, Nev., in the early March. In the history of San José State basketball, no other player, man or women, has even reached 1,800 career points.
Baker had 14 points, one shy of her season-high, and Ladd added 11, the first time she has been in double figures since early December. Woodberry had eight rebounds and seven points.
Funda Nakkasoglu led Utah State (7-18, 4-9 MW) with 25 points. Elise Nelson had 13 points and 13 rebounds.
The Spartans next game is on Saturday afternoon at San Diego State. Tip off against the Aztecs is scheduled for 2:00 p.m. in Viejas Arena.
San Jose State vs Utah State
02/18/15 7:00 p.m. at Logan, Utah (Dee Glen Smith Spectrum)
At Logan, Utah (Dee Glen Smith Spectrum)
UTAH STATE 85, SAN JOSE STATE 80
SAN JOSE STATE (11-13, 5-8 MW)
0-0 0; Thomas, Chereese 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 26-69 17-30 80.
UTAH STATE (7-18, 4-9 MW)
NAKKASOGLU, Funda 7-19 11-15 25; NELSON, Elise 3-8 7-8 13; VAAULU, Franny
2-8 2-2 8; STRIKAS, Ingrida 3-8 2-2 8; PORTER, Jasmine 3-10 0-1 7; CLARK,
Tilar 2-8 3-6 7; HUTCHINS, Hannah 3-5 0-0 6; ANCHLING, Julianne 2-3 0-0 5;
DJUKIC, Tijana 2-4 0-0 4; MILES, Mariah 1-1 0-0 2; PECK, Baylee 0-0 0-0 0.
Totals 28-74 25-34 85.
San Jose State................ 33 47 - 80
Utah State.................... 39 46 - 85
Utah State 4-21 (VAAULU, Franny 2-5; ANCHLING, Julianne 1-2; PORTER, Jasmine
1-6; CLARK, Tilar 0-3; NAKKASOGLU, Funda 0-5). Fouled out--San Jose
State-BYRD, Riana; Smith, Jasmine, Utah State-None. Rebounds--San Jose State
49 (Woodberry, Rebecca 8), Utah State 55 (NELSON, Elise 13). Assists--San
Jose State 17 (Harris, Nyre 5), Utah State 13 (NELSON, Elise 5). Total
fouls--San Jose State 27, Utah State 20. Technical fouls--San Jose
State-None, Utah State-None. A-382