San Jose, Calif. – Hot three-point shooting off the bench from Emily Vann and Paris Baird propelled the San Jose State women’s basketball team to a 83-65 victory over Utah State on Saturday afternoon in The Event Center and set off several celebrations.
The biggest and most important celebration was that in combination with the win over the Aggies and losses by UNLV, New Mexico, the Spartans have secured a first-round bye in the Mountain West Tournament in Las Vegas, which begins March 7.
With two games left in the regular season, SJSU (12-15, 10-6 MW) is tied with Boise State for third place in the league standings. The determination of which team will be the third seed and which will be the fourth seed may come down to the game between the Spartans and Broncos on March 4 in Boise.
San Jose State also celebrated its 10th conference win. It’s just the fifth time, in the 40 years the program has been affiliated with a conference, that it has achieved double-digit wins in league play.
The Spartans also swept the season series from Utah State for just the second time and the first since 2005-06.
Vann finished with a career-high 20-points on 7-of-10 shooting including a sizzling 6-of-8 from beyond the arc. Baird equaled her career high with 15 points on 5-of-8 shooting from distance. Each also pulled down four rebounds.
Both teams came out firing in the first half. Utah State (12-15, 7-9 MW) hit 57 percent in the first quarter led by Funda Nakkasoglu’s 3-for-3 shooting from three-point range and 11 points. The Aggies built a 20-11 lead with 4:34 to go in the first when Vann and Baird entered the game.
Vann hit a jumper and on the next possession Baird drained a three-pointer. Vann came back with back-to-back threes and by the time Dezz Ramos completed a three-point play the score was 25-25. Eleven of SJSU’s final 14 points in the quarter came from Baird and Vann.
Utah State stayed in an uptempo style and its shooting percentage improved in the second period. They made 9-of-14 from the field (64 percent), but San Jose State responded with eight baskets, six of which were beyond the arc. Vann and Baird both hit a pair of threes and Nyre Harris got into the act with two of her own. The Spartans took a 47-45 lead into halftime.
The third quarter proved pivotal. Nakkasoglu, the leading scorer in the Mountain West had 13 points at the break, but managed just two in the second half. She finished with 15, well below her 21.9 point per game average. The Aggies managed just six points in the third on 1-of-15 shooting and were held without a point for over four minutes.
A Baird three, with 3:41 to go in the third capped the 12-to-2 run by the Spartans and gave them their first double-digit lead of the game, 59-47. Utah State would cut the advantage to eight points late in the period, but Ramos, who finished with 17 points, hit a jumper with 12 seconds to go which put SJSU back up by 10 and they never looked back.
Vann sank two more threes to open the fourth and Baird added her fifth of the game with 5:11 to go to push the lead to 70-53. From that point on Utah State was fouling to stop the clock. But it was a strategy which didn’t work. The Spartans made 11-of-12 free throws down the stretch to earn the 18-point win.
SJSU outrebounded the taller Aggies 38-to-32 and outshot them 45 percent to 38 percent. Utah State outscored the Spartans 18-to-12 in the paint, but SJSU made the most of its rebounds scoring 19 second-change points.
Rachel Brewster led the Utah State offense in scoring, but like Nakkasoglu she did the vast majority of her damage in the first half, scoring 14 of her team-high 17 in the first 20 minutes.
San Jose State plays its final home game of the 2015-16 season against Wyoming on Tuesday, March 1 at 7:00 p.m. In pregame ceremonies, the team will honor seniors Emily Schill, Ellie Stevens, Emily Vann, Nyre Harris and Riana Byrd.
Utah State vs San Jose State
02/27/16 2:00 p.m. at San Jose, Calif. (The Event Center)
At San Jose, Calif. (The Event Center)
SAN JOSE STATE 83, UTAH STATE 65
UTAH STATE (12-15, 7-9 MW)
BREWSTER, Rachel 7-15 0-0 16; NAKKASOGLU, Funda 4-12 4-4 15; ANCHLING,
Julianne 2-9 5-5 10; HUTCHINS, Hannah 3-3 2-2 8; MASON, Deja 2-6 0-0 4;
DJUKIC, Tijana 2-3 0-0 4; JENSEN, Lindsey 1-2 0-0 3; KLINKER, Lizzy 1-2 0-0
3; ROBINSON, Antoina 1-3 0-0 2; DE PAULO, Angelica 0-0 0-0 0; MILES, Mariah
0-1 0-0 0; TOOLE, Katie 0-4 0-0 0. Totals 23-60 11-11 65.
SAN JOSE STATE (12-15, 10-6 MW)
Kohlhaas, Andrea 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 27-60 15-19 83.
Utah State.................... 25 20 6 14 - 65
San Jose State................ 25 22 14 22 - 83
3-point goals--Utah State 8-22 (NAKKASOGLU, Funda 3-8; BREWSTER, Rachel 2-4;
ANCHLING, Julianne 1-5; KLINKER, Lizzy 1-1; JENSEN, Lindsey 1-2; MILES,
Mariah 0-1; TOOLE, Katie 0-1), San Jose State 14-35 (Vann, Emily 6-8; BAIRD,
State-ANCHLING, Julianne; BREWSTER, Rachel, San Jose State-None.
Rebounds--Utah State 32 (BREWSTER, Rachel 8), San Jose State 38 (Ramos, Dezz
6; Ladd, Myzhanique 6). Assists--Utah State 11 (NAKKASOGLU, Funda 7), San
Jose State 17 (Ramos, Dezz 4). Total fouls--Utah State 20, San Jose State
- Technical fouls--Utah State-None, San Jose State-None. A-486