Utah State basketball: USU women edge Lobos in opener
Las Vegas • Utah State guard Jennifer Schlott's run of 30-point games ended when she missed a floating shot in the lane Monday afternoon.
She's just happy New Mexico failed to force overtime, even though that would have given her more scoring opportunities.
Schlott hounded UNM's Antiesha Brown, who airballed a 3-point attempt at the buzzer as the Aggies took a 69-66 victory in the first round of the Mountain West women's basketball tournament at the Thomas & Mack Center.
The No. 8-seeded Aggies (15-15) will meet No. 1 Colorado State in Tuesday's quarterfinals at 1 p.m. MDT.
Schlott, the MW player of the year, finished with 29 points after having scored 30 or more in USU's previous six games. USU sophomore forward Stephanie Bairstow, whose brother is New Mexico star Cameron Bairstow, tied her career high with 16 points.
USU coach Jerry Finkbeiner often invokes Cameron's name as a standard of performance for Bairstow. "I don't use it to make her feel guilty," he said. "I just know [he's] her idol."
Bairstow ended USU's four-minute scoring drought with a shot in the lane, followed by her assist of Ingrida Strikas' basket, giving USU a 69-63 lead with 2:16 left. The only other scoring came via Deeva Vaughn's 3-pointer for the Lobos in the last minute. UNM had a chance to tie the game in the final 22 seconds, but the Aggies didn't allow the Lobos to get a decent look at the basket.
"We just switched everything and kept our hands up; that's about it," Schlott said.
Overall, USU played much better defense in the second half. The Aggies trailed 48-40 before Makenlee Williams produced a 4-point play with 2.3 seconds remaining before halftime, and they maintained their momentum.
New Mexico shot 58.6 percent in the first half, exploiting USU's trapping defense with drives to the basket. Finkbeiner adjusted by having his players stay back in a more conservative zone defense in the second half, when the Lobos made 6 of 27 shots (22.2 percent) and scored 18 points.