Nov. 5, 2013
LOGAN, Utah - Senior guard Jennifer Schlott netted a game-high 29 points and nearly had a quadruple double to lead Utah State women's basketball to an 81-65 exhibition win over Northwest Nazarene Tuesday night at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum.
The win was special for USU's coaching staff with several connections with NNU. Aggie head coach Jerry Finkbeiner was assistant for the Crusaders' men's team in 1984-85, including coaching the father of one of the current NNU women's players, Leslie Warwick, who scored five points to go with five rebounds Tuesday night. Finkbeiner's first women's basketball coaching position was also at NNU, as head coach in 1985-86, and Finkbeiner's father is a NNU alum. USU assistant Stu Sells attended Northwest Nazarene and lived in Boise, near NNU's location in Nampa, Idaho.
"It was a good exhibition game for us because we played a lot of girls, a lot of combinations. We had a few runs in the game where it felt good, but most of the time we were just kind of grinding things," Finkbeiner said. "We've got some really good video tape to look at and clean up for our first home game on Saturday. The exhibition game is a worthy game because we learned a lot about ourselves tonight."
A large, spirited crowd at the Spectrum saw Schlott dish out a game-high nine assists, while snaring seven rebounds and swiping six steals. Schlott's scoring led four Aggies in double-digits, as sophomore guard Makenlee Williams posted 18 points, including the last 10 in a row of the game, while junior guard Elise Nelson notched 10 points and senior forward Cristal Turner tallied 10 points off the bench.
Junior forward Franny Vaaulu snared a team-high eight rebounds, Nelson matched Schlott with seven boards and Willliams added six rebounds. Nelson also notched five steals, while Turner aided the Aggie defense with four blocks.
NNU had two players in double-figure scoring, led by Megan Hingston's double-double with 17 points and 15 rebounds, while Kayla Schumann also scored 17 points. Kylee Schierman nearly had a double-double with 11 rebounds to go with nine points, adding six assists and two steals.
Utah State shot 34-of-72 (47.2 percent) from the field for the game, netting 57.1 percent (20-of-35) in the second half. The Aggies also were 5-of-10 behind the arc after halftime, finishing the night 7-of-25 (28.0 percent), while making 6-of-7 (85.7 percent) at the free throw line.
The Crusaders made 25-of-76 (32.9 percent) of their field goals, including 3-of-18 (16.7 percent) from three-point range, in addition to 12-of-16 (75.0 percent) at the charity stripe.
The Aggie defense forced 28 NNU turnovers, swiping 19 steals and also posting six blocks.
"The first half I thought we played really good defense. We forced 17 turnovers and the second half was 11. It was a tale of two halves and we just didn't play very consistent tonight," Finkbeiner said.
After nearly three minutes of scoreless play to open the game, Northwest Nazarene got on the board on a short jumper by Schumann, but Schlott quickly responded with an old-fashioned three-point play to spark an 8-0 Aggie run for an 8-2 lead. After the Crusaders sliced away at the gap and tied the score up, the Aggies reeled off another 8-0 spurt, started by a layup from Nelson and capped by a Schlott layup with 10:57 to go in the half for a 16-8 lead.
NNU whittled its deficit to 20-18 with 4:51 to go after a jumper by Taylor Babbit. That would be the closest the Crusaders would get in the rest of the half, as the Aggie advantage swelled to 11 at 31-20 on a fast break layup by junior guard Jasmine Porter with 1:16 left in the first frame. USU had a chance to stretch its lead in the waning seconds of the half, but two three-pointers were off the mark, including one by Williams that bounced off the rim as the buzzer sounded, sending the teams into halftime with the Aggies leading, 31-23.
After the Crusaders closed to 33-29 on a Schierman free throw at the 18:00 mark, the Aggies went on a 17-2 run, started on a Nelson layup and capped by a Williams layup for a 52-31 lead with 11:24 to go. NNU got the gap down to single digits at 71-62 on a Schumann jumper with 2:43 left, but Williams righted the ship for the Aggies with a three-pointer with 2:22 to go on USU's next possession for a 74-62 lead. Those were the first three of Williams' 10-point outburst to end the game, giving the home team an 81-65 victory.
USU officially tips off the 2013-14 season on Saturday, Nov. 9, hosting Black Hills State at 7 p.m. at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum.
For Aggie women's basketball ticket information, fans can contact the USU Athletics Ticket Office over the phone by calling 1-888-USTATE-1 or 435-797-0305 during regular hours of operation. Fans can also buy their tickets in person at the USU Ticket Office inside the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum or online by clicking on the "Buy Tickets" tab at www.UtahStateAggies.com.
Fans can follow USU women's basketball at www.twitter.com/UtahStateWBB, as well as on facebook, at www.facebook.com/USUWBB. Aggie fans can also follow the Utah State athletic program at twitter.com/USUAthletics or on Facebook at facebook, at www.facebook.com/USUAthletics. Utah State women's basketball is also on instagram at www.instagram.com/USUWbasketball.
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