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Utah State falters late, drops game to Hawaii

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LOGAN — Utah State women's basketball coach Raegan Pebley can count on both hands how many times her team has dropped a close game in the final minutes.

Following the Aggies' 63-50 loss to Hawaii, she can add another.

The Aggies led 45-43 with 5:58 left after a bucket by Ali Marchant, but they would score only five more points the rest of the way in suffering the 13-point loss.

"They (the Rainbow Wahine) did what they needed to do at the end and we couldn't close it out," Pebley said.

After taking the lead at 47-45 with 5:20 left, Hawaii (15-8, 6-6) didn't let up. It missed only one shot from the field and converted on 12 of 13 foul shots down the stretch.

With the loss, the Aggies, who had won two of their last three games, fall to 3-19 overall and 2-10 in Western Athletic Conference play.

Hawaii shot just 26.9 percent from the field, but had 25 offensive rebounds, which it converted into baskets.

Utah State led 28-23 at the break, and led by as many as nine points in the first half.

"I thought we played a really good first half," Pebley said. "We opened the half really flat and we didn't push the tempo."

Amy Sanders and Janevia Taylor paced Hawaii with 17 points apiece, while Tanya Smith added 10 points and 10 rebounds.

Jessica Freeman and Marchant had 11 points each for the Ags, while sophomore Taylor Richards came off the bench to score nine points and dish out eight assists.

The Aggies shot 34.5 percent from the floor, but were outrebounded 52-39. They also turned the ball over 16 times.

The Aggies host Boise State at 7 p.m. Thursday for the third game and a four-game homestand.

WESTERN ILLINOIS 80, SUU 55: At Macomb, Ill., Mid-Continent Conference leader Western Illinois had four players score in double figures as the Westerwinds kept Southern Utah winless in league play on the road with an 80-55 victory. The loss dropped the T-Birds to 9-15 overall, 2-11 in conference play, while Western clinched at least a share of the conference regular-season title and the top seed in the upcoming Mid-Con tournament.

PORTLAND ST. 78, WEBER ST. 59: At Portland, Weber State took the lead in its game with Portland State at 9-8 with 13:29 remaining, but it would be the last lead of the game for the Wildcats as the Vikings pulled away for a 78-59 victory. The Vikings led 30-19 at the half, as the Wildcats struggled from the field, making only 7 of their 31 shots during the first 20 minutes.