March 3, 2012
LOGAN, Utah - Five players in double-digits, including two with double-doubles propelled Utah State to an 84-71 win over San Jose State Saturday night in women's basketball at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum, giving USU its first 20-win season in school history. Saturday was USU's Senior Night and the Aggies sent their six seniors out in style with a big win in front their biggest single-game crowd.
Utah State already secured the second seed in the upcoming WAC Tournament with a win on Thursday. The Aggies will take on Nevada on Wednesday, March 7 at 3:30 p.m. (MT) at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas, Nev. The second seed is the highest ever for Utah State, who was the third seed in last's tournament, reaching the semifinals for the second time in school history.
In a pre-game ceremony Saturday, USU said thank you to six senior players, Chelsea Burns, Ashlee Brown, Banna Diop, Brooke Jackson, Maddy Plunkett and Reyneisha Mays, as well as team manager Atlee Zipf.
Saturday was also the Aggies' third-straight 80-point outing and fourth in the last five, after scoring 85 in the previous two contests, moving to 7-0 when scoring more than 80 points.
USU improves to 20-8 overall and 11-3 in WAC play, setting single-season school records for overall wins and conference victories. SJSU fell to 11-18 overall and 6-8 in league action and will be the sixth seed in the WAC Tournament.
Saturday night was USU's 10th-straight win over SJSU, improving to 11-3 as WAC foes and 11-4 overall.
Junior guard Devyn Christensen netted her fourth-straight 20-point game and 11th of the season with 20 points, hitting four three-pointers. Senior forward Ashlee Brown registered her 10th double-double this season with 18 points and a game-high and team-leading tying 10 rebounds. She shared top rebounding honors with junior guard Jenna Johnson who logged her first career double-double with 12 points and a career-high 10 rebounds.
In addition to USU's team record setting, Brown improved on her own marks in the Aggie record books, as she became the program's single-season record holder for free throws made, now with 151 free throws made, passing Sharon Epps' record of 148 from the 1982 season. Brown's 10 rebounds also give her 497 for her career, moving into No. 8 on USU's career rebounds leader, and needing just three boards to become the eighth Aggie player with 500 career rebounds.
Senior guard Brooke Jackson and sophomore guard Jennifer Schlott tallied 15 points apiece, both hitting crucial three-pointers down the stretch to seal the victory after SJSU closed the gap. Schlott hit three treys on the night while Jackson hit a pair, as USU was 9-of-20 (45.0 percent) behind the arc.
In making her first career start Saturday against the Spartans, freshman center Franny Vaaulu, pulled down a career-best nine rebounds, while Jackson also snared a career-high with nine boards.
SJSU was led by Sara Plavljanin with 20 points, one of four Spartans in double-figures.
Utah State was 26-of-63 (41.3 percent) from the field and continued its great free throw shooting, hitting 23-of-26 (88.5 percent) after going 19-of-19 in Thursday's win. The Aggies entered the game fifth in the nation at the charity stripe and padded their season percentage with Saturday's outing.
USU had a 45-32 rebounding advantage, the Aggies' most in a conference game and two shy of their season-best 47 against Utah Valley. Utah State is now 10-0 when out-rebounding its opponent. USU also had 21 assists on the night, its second-straight 20+ helper night and fifth of the season.
Down 4-2 in the early going, the Aggies went on to score the next 15 points, as a Johnson old-fashioned three-point play gave USU a 17-4 lead with 13:26 on the clock.
After Utah State extended its lead to 19-7 after a layup from Jackson, San Jose State fought back scoring the next seven points to cut the lead to 19-14 with 9:53 left in the game. The Aggies used a 7-0 run to take a 12-point lead with under six minutes in the half.
In a very physical game, the Aggie defense kept the pressure on San Jose State in the first half. Schlott nailed a three with under a minute remaining in the half to take a 41-29 advantage which is how the first half ended, as USU improved to 16-2 when leading at intermission.
In the first 20 minutes, Utah State was led by 13 points from Christensen. Vaaulu matched her career-high in rebounds in the first with seven. Johnson also scored nine points with Schlott added seven off the bench.
San Jose State got 13 points from Plavljanin in the first half. The WAC's leading scorer, Brittany Johnson, was held to two points. SJSU was hampered by turnovers in the first half with 17.
The Spartans scored 10 points of the second half to cut the Aggie advantage to 41-38 before the first media timeout and pulled within, 42-40, before Utah State made its first field goal of the half with 15:45 on the clock on a lay up by Christensen for a 44-40 lead.
SJSU continued to come on strong in the second half, cutting the lead to 53-51 before the Aggies were able to get a little breathing room, taking a 63-55 advantage after Schlott's third trey of the game with just over seven minutes left in the game and SJSU didn't get any closer.
After Brown's record-breaking free throws, USU jumped out to a 70-59 lead with 4:35 remaining, hitting 9-of-10 at the free throw line to clinch the record-setting 20th win.
Fans can get WAC Tournament game and ticket information as well as links for listening and watching live as well as live stats at www.UtahStateAggies.com, the official site of Utah State Athletics.
Fans can follow USU women's basketball at http://twitter.com/UTAHSTATEofmind and Utah State athletics at http://twitter.com/USUAthletics.
For tickets contact the USU Athletics Ticket Office at (435)797-0305 or at 1-888-U-STATE-1 (1-888-878-2831) for more information or visit the Utah State athletic web site at www.UtahStateAggies.com.
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