After a hard road loss last week against Mountain West bottom-dwelling Air Force, the Utah State women’s basketball team put on a wire-to-wire showcase today against the visiting Fresno State Bulldogs, 60-52.
Head coach Jerry Finkbeiner, having tried out several lineups in order to find the right combination, went with a Deja Mason-less squad to focus on the faster forwards in Hailey Bassett and Shannon Dufficy.
“This was the lineup we had against Air Force,” said Finkbeiner, adding that barring injury, “this will be the lineup going forward.”
Bassett would lead all scorers with 18 while Dufficy recorded a 10-point, 12-rebound double-double. Guard Eliza West would record nine assists and zero turnovers.
The Aggies came out swinging against the Bulldogs, holding Fresno State to just two points and 1-for-12 shooting from the floor. This included a six-minute scoring drought to end the first quarter, which ended with a 19-2 Aggie lead.
Fresno State quickly woke up, however, as their intensity picked up in the second quarter. After shooting that 8.3 percent in the first ten minutes, as they would shoot 6-for-12 while notching five 3-point field goals. This, combined with a poor 6-for-17 from the Aggies, would shrink the lead down to just 10 going into halftime, 32-25.
For the first half, Bassett would lead all Aggie scorers with 11 while Dufficy and Mason tied as leading rebounders (5). The trio combined for 19 of the Aggies 32 first half points.
Second half action would serve as a summation of the first two quarters: Utah State would pound the ball inside as Fresno State sought to close the gap from downtown. The Aggies would add one extra point to their lead going into the final quarter.
Utah State held back Bulldog attempts at the lead, with contributions up and down the roster, including an Eliza West 3-pointer as the shot clock rang out.
Bassett said that her 18 points and Dufficy’s double-double were nearly at the command of coach Finkbeiner.
“We had a meeting and sat us down. He told me [to get] 16-18 points, and that Shannon would get a double-double,” Bassett said.
On the night, the Aggies held a positive assist-to-turnover ratio (15-to-9) and outscored Fresno State 28-8 in the paint.
“I’m hoping this is a turn-around game for us,” Finkbeiner said.
The Aggies will head to New Mexico on Wednesday before returning to the Spectrum the following week to host Wyoming.