After spending the majority of its first month in the friendly confines of the Spectrum, the Utah State women’s basketball team struggled to continue its success outside the 435.
The road trip, which featured the opening of conference play at Boise State, caused the Aggies to lose all five of their away games, with the lone victory of the winter break coming at home against Air Force.
Prior to the road swing, USU hosted in-state foe Brigham Young University, suffering the largest home loss of the season in a 60-40 decision. The loss turned into a losing streak with a narrow 61-57 final against the University of Arizona in Tucson. Shannon Dufficy, the starting Australian freshman forward for the Aggies, notched her first career double-double with 21 points and 11 rebounds in the loss.
Conference play began in Idaho with a 76-56 blowout loss to the Broncos. Dufficy earned her second double-double, but the 20 turnovers committed by the Aggies and their 34 percent shooting from the field were too much to come back from.
The Aggies were able to stop the skid with a New Year’s Eve win at home against the Falcons, 65-62. Three players scored in double figures for the home team, led by senior forward Antoina Robinson’s 13 points and four rebounds. USU forced 17 Falcon turnovers en route to the first conference win of the season.
For her strong performance during the week, Dufficy was named the Utah State student-athlete of the week, the first-such honor of her career.
The Aggies were unable to turn the win into a positive streak, however, as they fell in Albuquerque to the New Mexico Lobos 78-67. Freshman and fellow-Australian guard Olivia West scored a career-high 19 points, shooting 5-of-8 from 3-point land.
Utah State wrapped up the road trip and the winter break at UNLV, falling 55-53 in overtime. The Rebels took the lead on a tip-in with 11 seconds and sophomore guard Rachel Brewster missed the potential game-tying jumpshot as the final buzzer sounded. The most notable moment of the game was the benches-clearing scuffle in the third quarter. After a foul by the Aggies, Robinson and sophomore center Katie Powell of the Rebels got into a shoving match.
The referees and coaches eventually regained control and a combined eight players from the two teams were ejected.
The Aggies are now 8-7 on the season, and 1-3 in conference play. USU’s next game will be at home against the University of Wyoming on Wednesday.