LOGAN, Utah - Air Force women’s basketball dropped a 57-55 contest at Utah State Saturday afternoon in Mountain West action at Dee Glen Smith Spectrum. Eliza West scored the game-winning bucket with 1.2 seconds left in regulation to lift Utah State to the win.
Air Force rallied back from a 16-point deficit to tie the game up at 55-55 with 6.9 seconds left. Freshman Kailin Immel, who was fouled on a three-point attempt, made all three free throws to tie the game.
On the ensuing possession, West drove in for the bucket to take the lead.
The Falcons had one last shot for the tie or win and got the ball into Immel. Her feet got caught up with a Utah State player and she was forced to throw up a missed off-balance shot. No foul was called and the game ended.
Air Force had a sluggish first-half, trailing 35-21 at the break. Utah State made the first bucket of the second half to go up by 16. Air Force began its comeback by whittling Utah State’s lead down to six at the end of the third quarter at 43-37.
After the Falcons pulled to within three with a three from Conroe to start the fourth quarter, the Aggies pushed the lead back up to 10 points at 53-43 with six minutes to play. Air Force locked it down defensively the rest of the game, allowing two free throws and one field goal to Utah State the rest of the game, finishing on a 12-4 run over the final six minutes. The one field goal was the game-winner unfortunately.
Freshman Emily Conroe scored a game-high 23 points to lead the Falcons. Conroe was 8 of 13 from the field and 5 of 8 from three-point range. Immel scored 13 of her 15 points in the second half, adding four assists. Senior Erika Chapman was the third Falcon in double-figures, scoring 11 points and grabbing five rebounds.
Senior Cortney Porter, who grew up down the road in Ogden, Utah, played in front of a large contingent of family and friends. Porter led the Falcons with five assists, adding four points and four rebounds.
Olivia West led Utah State with 15 points. Eliza West followed with 14. Shannon Dufficy had 12 rebounds.
“I thought our freshmen played really well today,” Air Force head coach Chris Gobrecht said. “I also thought that we need to be better prepared for such a big game for us. I felt our players struggled with the magnitude of this game early on and we had to play catch up in the second half. I hope that we can take this game as a lesson in that we have to be able to handle the intensity of the situation and find a way to win.”
Air Force returns to action Tuesday, Feb. 27, hosting Wyoming in its home finale.