The Aggies surged at the end of both halves, but Kacie Sowell's 24 points helped the Redhawks secure a 71-68 win.
Utah State was rallying so quickly, Seattle U’s defense was spinning.
Aggie guard Jennifer Schlott used a quick-release left-handed shot to cap a 13-6 run to end the first half and cut the Redhawks’ lead to four points. It turned what looked like a blowout into a battle, one that Seattle needed overtime to win, 71-68, at Connolly Center.
After each game, SU coach Joan Bonvicini has her players write down notes to remember for rematches. Senior forward Brenda Adhiambo knew hers immediately after the final buzzer.
“They shot a lot, and we need to contain No. 3 (Schlott),” she said.
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Schlott put the Aggies ahead with 43 seconds left with a jumper before a Kacie Sowell layup tied the score at 64 and forced overtime.
In the extra period, Ashley Ward, a junior forward, gave the Redhawks the final cushion with a pair of free throws with 29.7 seconds remaining.
Senior guard Daidra Brown grabbed a key offensive rebound and made one free throw with four seconds left, and a desperation three-pointer by senior Devyn Christensen, the nation’s eighth-leading scorer (22.0 points), missed, sealing the fate of Utah State (5-9, 2-1 Western Athletic Conference).
Sowell paced the Redhawks with 24 points and 12 rebounds. Adhiambo added 14 points and 15 rebounds, while Schlott had a game-high 32 points.
“(Jennifer’s) dad came up to me before the game; she’s from Arizona, and he told me she went to all of my camps,” said Bonvicini, who coached the Arizona Wildcats for 17 seasons.
SU (5-6, 2-0) began to make the transition back to Division I status and NCAA-tournament eligibility in 2008. It could contend for its first berth in school history at the conference tournament in March.
But the Redhawks showed they still need some tweaking before that happens. They let Schlott get in a rhythm and needed a tough performance to pull out the win.
“I challenged Brenda and Kacie before the game, at halftime and overtime to be in ‘Beast Mode,’ seriously,” Bonvicini said of SU’s 40-26 scoring advantage inside. “They really needed to score to really be a threat.”