Las Vegas, Nev. • If the Aggies could've held on, who knows where the legend of Devyn Christensen might've taken them.
The school's all-time leading scorer played all-star basketball on Friday in the 84-82 loss to Idaho. She hit shots from way outside the line that the Vandals could only watch in amazement.
Her 37 points might've been remembered very differently in a win, but either way, it was a career that merited a special final chapter.
"Tonight what you saw is that fighting spirit she has," coach Jerry Finkbeiner said. "Devyn's an and-one type of kid, she's a Kobe type of kid. She kinda made a little bit of everything at the end there. It would've been a great, great story for the Aggies if we had won it."
Christensen has been that for the program this year: It's headlining act. Her 3-point prowess is no secret, and she's one of the leading free throw shooters in the nation.
Fans got a chance to see her killer instinct in games, like her game-winner at Denver in double overtime.
What went on behind the scenes, however, was just as critical. Christensen helped the team blend with the new coaching staff. She pulled people together. She was not only the face of the program, but part of the glue holding it steady.
That's why when she got the hot hand at the finish, Utah State deferred to her. She's earned that kind of respect.
"I forced a few that I wish I could get back, but never been one to step back from pressure," she said. "I was feeling good."
That confidence lasted all the way to the final buzzer, when Christensen collapsed on court. She composed herself for postgame interviews, but again got emotional afterward reflecting on the potential end of her career.
What not everyone knows: Christensen is planning her wedding next month, in addition to balancing her academics and trying to see if basketball will take her to the pro ranks. She's poured all of her energy out every day, trying to hold everything together.
"That girl is being stretched," Finkbeiner said. "I think that's one reason she's been so emotional. She's put so much into basketball, and now it's over."
Her future is unclear. Finkbeiner says she might have chances to play overseas or get a tryout stateside. But her impending matrimony may sideline basketball for a while.
Christensen, however, will live on the record books. And a game like this should live on in the memories of the Utah State faithful. The Aggies' star didn't want to stop playing.
- Kyle Goonkgoon@sltrib.comTwitter: @kylegoon