Jan. 2, 2012
LOGAN, Utah - TIP OFF - Utah State women's basketball extended its winning streak two games after beating Boise State before the holiday break. Utah State returns from the break with two home games this week, beginning with NAIA's Asbury University on Tuesday, Jan. 3 at 7 p.m. The Aggies will end the week against Utah Valley on Saturday, Jan. 7 at 2 p.m. USU's women will be the opening act as the Utah State men will take on Nevada at 7:05 p.m. This is the second of four home doubleheaders for the USU women and men's squads.
BATTLE OF THE BOARDS - Utah State is now 4-0 when winning the rebound battle. In wins against, Boise State, Weber State, UC Irvine and Northern Arizona, the Aggies have out-rebounded their opponent. Utah State made a nice recovery after being out-rebounded by 15 against BYU on Dec. 17. USU had a slight 41-40 rebound advantage against the Lumberjacks on Dec. 19. The win against NAU was also the first time this season that USU has reached the 40-rebound mark. In the win against Boise State, Utah State out-rebounded the Broncos 38-34.
THE OPPONENT - Asbury University is a new opponent for the Aggies. The Eagles are a National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) school that plays in the Kentucky Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. The game against Utah State will be an exhibition for the Eagles. Asbury University is located in Wilmore, Kent.
This season, Asbury is 7-8 this season, including going 1-2 on the road this season. The Eagles are 5-4 at home and 1-2 in neutral games so far this season. This is Asbury's only game this season in the Mountain time zone, playing the bulk of their games in the Eastern and Central time zones.
Trenia Barbee is the leading scorer for Asbury so far this season, averaging 16.2 points per game. Ellen Gray scores 12.6 ppg, while Laurel Caroll averages 10.3 ppg. As a team, the Eagles average 77.7 ppg, while allowing 73.1. Asbury averages 38.1 rebounds per game, while allowing 42.1 rpg.
NELSON BREAKS THROUGH - In Utah State's tough, 73-65, loss to BYU, freshman guard Elise Nelson had a breakthrough performance. Earning her first start of the season, Nelson scored a season-high 10 points. The newcomer also brought down four boards and added two assists. Nelson has now started three-straight games for USU.
AGAINST THE BEEHIVE STATE - BYU was the second of three teams from the Beehive State that the Aggies will this season. The Aggies are now 1-1 against Utah schools. USU has already earned a 73-63 win against Weber State on Nov. 16. Following the game against the Cougars, USU will conclude its tour of the Beehive State with a home game against Utah Valley on Jan. 7.
WAC TIME - Next week, Utah State will begin its seventh season in the Western Athletic Conference. The Aggies begin conference play with one of the toughest road trips of the season. USU will travel to Las Cruces to take on New Mexico State on Jan. 12 and to Ruston to face Louisiana Tech on Jan. 14. Both games tip off at 5 p.m. MT. In a rare occurrence, both games are the first half of doubleheaders with the USU men's teams. Once again, the WAC will play a double round robin format, taking on all seven teams twice. After taking on NMSU and Louisiana Tech, the Aggies will return home to take on both Fresno State (Jan. 19) and Nevada (Jan. 21).
CHANGING THE CALENDAR - The Aggies turn the calendar, ending the 2011 portion of the schedule with a 7-5 record. Last season at this time, USU was 6-6 as it began the 2011 portion of the schedule. Utah State has two more
non-conference games to begin the 2012 of the schedule, taking on Asbury and Utah Valley to end the non-conference schedule.
UP NEXT - Utah State will conclude non-conference action on Saturday, Jan. 7 against Utah Valley. It is not only the Aggies final non-conference game, but also USU's final game against a team from the Beehive State. The Aggies are currently 1-1 against teams from Utah with a win against Weber State and a loss to BYU.
AGAINST THE MOUNTAIN WEST - Utah State is now 3-0 against the Mountain West Conference. Wyoming was the first of two Mountain West Conference teams that the Aggies faced this season. The Aggies earned home and road wins against former WAC foes and current MWC rivals Boise State. USU defeated the Broncos, 97-86, in Logan on Nov. 23 and won in Boise, 64-52, on Dec. 22.
CHRISTENSEN CONTINUING STREAK - After struggling from the field to open the season, junior guard Devyn Christensen has come on strong of late. She has started the last five games for USU. The junior has scored in double figures in the last eight games for the Aggies. She scored a season-high 18 points in a loss to BYU on Dec. 17. Once again, Christensen continues to dominate from the charity stripe, shooting 84.4 percent this season (38-of-45). In the Aggies win against NAU, she scored 11 of her 13 points from the free throw line.
AGGIES IN THE NCAA STATS - In the most recent NCAA Statistics (Jan. 1), Utah State was sixth in the nation in free-throw percentage, shooting 80.2 percent from the charity stripe. Delaware leads the nation, shooting 82.9 percent. The Aggies are 13th in the country in three-point field goal percentage (37.3 percent). Vanderbilt leads the nation, shooting 43.8 percent from three.
BROWN EARNS HONOR - Senior forward Ashlee Brown was named the College Sports Madness Western Athletic Conference Women's Basketball Player of the Week for the week ending Dec. 25. This is the third time this season that Brown has been honored by College Sports Madness, also being honored on Nov. 14 and Nov. 21.
Brown, a Chandler, Ariz., native, averaged 16.5 points on 33 percent shooting, grabbed 8.5 rebounds and 3.0 steals per game as the Aggies went 2-0 last week with a win at home against Northern Arizona and a road win against Boise State. Brown led Utah State to a 70-51 over the Lumberjacks with a team-leading 21 points and 10 rebounds for her fifth double-double of the season.
In the Aggies' 64-52 road win against the Broncos, the forward scored 12 points and added seven boards to lead the way for Utah State. For the week, Brown averaged 16.5 points and 8.5 rebounds per game, shooting 33.3 percent (7-of-21). She shot 86.4 percent from the charity stripe (19-of-22). She ended the week with six steals and five assists on the week.
THAT VOICE SOUNDS FAMILIAR - Next week when Utah State travels to New Mexico State and Louisiana Tech, Aggie fans will hear a familiar voice on the radio. Al Lewis the voice of the Utah State men's basketball and football teams will be doing the first two WAC games for the USU women's team. Lewis will be busy as he will be calling both doubleheaders with the Aggie men and women's teams.
STARTING FIVE- In 12 games this season, Utah State has used five different lineups. Ashlee Brown is the only Aggie to have started all 12 games this season. Jennifer Schlott has started nine out of 12 games, while Brooke Jackson has been in the starting five eight times. Chelsea Burns started the first four games of the season until an injury ended her season. Freshman Elise Nelson earned her first career start against BYU on Dec. 17. Nine different players have started at least one game this season for USU.
PICKING POCKETS - Utah State has 124 steals this season compared to 112 by its opponents. The Aggies average 10.3 steals per game, while their opponents have 9.3 spg. Ashlee Brown leads the team with 31 steals (2.6 spg), while Brooke Jackson has 17 steals (1.4 spg).
STELLAR FROM THE STRIPE - In the Aggies 70-51 win over Northern Arizona on Dec. 17, Utah State had another stellar night from the free throw line. USU shot 77.4 percent from the charity stripe, going 24-of-31. For the season, the Aggies are shooting 80.8 percent from the free throw line (185-of-229).
Three of the top 10 free throw shooters in the WAC come from Utah State.
AMONG THE BEST IN THE WAC - Ashlee Brown is still fourth in the WAC in scoring behind San Jose State's Brittany Johnson, Fresno State's Ki-Ki Moore and Nevada's Kate Kevorken. Johnson is averaging 19.2 points per game, while Brown averages 16.5 ppg. Brown is second in the league in rebounding with 9.7 rpg. Senior Maddy Plunkett is first in the league in three-point shooting (.516). Brooke Jackson is still first in free throw percentage (.846). Brown and Jackson are among the leaders in made free throws in the conference with Brown sinking 74 and Jackson making 52.
As a team, USU is second behind Fresno State in scoring offense, averaging 69.2 points per game. The Aggies and the Bulldogs are the only two teams in the league with positive scoring margins with Fresno State standing +5.6 and USU holding a +2.2. The Aggies are still irst in free throw percentage (80.2). USU is now first in three-point field goal percentage (37.3).
CAREER HIGHS - The Aggies set several new career highs in their win against Boise State on Nov. 23. Sophomore guard Jennifer Schlott set a new career with 17 points against the Broncos. Senior guard Brooke Jackson also set a career-high with 27 points.
AGGIES LOSE BURNS TO INJURY - Utah State women's basketball junior guard/forward Chelsea Burns has been medically disqualified due to a knee injury. The injury is similar to the one that kept her out of the entire 2009-10 season.
Burns, a native of Carlsbad, Calif, started the first four games of the season and played in five this season. She averaged 10.8 minutes. 0.8 points and 1.6 rebounds per game. The junior has been diagnosed with an osteochondral defect and a meniscus tear and will have knee surgery on December 15. Burns graduated at the end of the fall semester with a degree in law and constitutional studies and will begin her master's of education next semester.
HOME OPENERS - Utah State is now 8-14 in home openers and 3-6 under Coach Pebley after the Aggies defeated Weber State, 73-63 on Nov. 16.Prior to the win over the Wildcats, the last time the Aggies won a home opener was a 67-58 win against in-state rival Utah in 2009. Last season, USU fell to Dixie State in its home and season opener, 71-67. Under Coach Pebley, Utah State is 1-2 against Weber State in home openers.
LAST TIME OUT - Junior guard Devyn Christensen and senior forward Maddy Plunkett both scored 17 points as the Utah State women's basketball team led the whole game in a 62-54 win over Boise State at Taco Bell Arena in Boise on Thursday.
The win was the Aggies' fourth-straight against former Western Athletic Conference rival Boise State. Utah State has swept the two-game series the last two seasons. The Aggies end the 2011 portion of the schedule with a 7-5 record, while the Broncos fall to 7-6 this season.
Three Aggies ended the game, scoring in double figures with Plunkett and Christensen leading the way with 17. Senior forward Ashlee Brown added 12 for Utah State along with seven rebounds. Plunkett led USU with nine boards. Ten different USU players brought down at least one rebound as the Aggies out-rebounded the Broncos 38-34 for the game. This is the second-straight game that USU has out-rebounded its opponent.
CAREER HIGHS FROM BROWN - Senior forward Ashlee Brown has had double-doubles in both of Utah State's games this season. She also added a career-high 31 points in the Aggies' loss to South Dakota State on Nov. 13. She also set a career high with six steals in the loss to the Jackrabbits.
ADMISSION - Admission to Utah State's women's basketball games is $5 for adults, $1 for youth. A woman's sports pass is also available for $50. 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.
TURNING 24 - The 2011-12 season marks the 24th year of women's basketball at USU, and just the ninth since the program was restarted prior to the 2003-04 season. The women's hoops program at USU had been disbanded following the 1987 season due to budget cuts. USU is playing in its seventh season in the WAC after playing its first two seasons in the Big West Conference.
AGAINST THE BIG WEST - UC Riverside is the second Big West team that Utah State has faced this season. The Aggies defeated UC Irvine, 69-64, on the road on Nov. 19. UC Riverside is the second and final Big West team that USU will play this season when the Aggies and the Highlanders meet on Nov. 25.
AGGIES IN THE PRESEASON POLLS - Utah State women's basketball was selected second in the Western Athletic Conference coaches' poll and third in the media poll. Both predictions are the highest for USU since joining the WAC. Last season, the Aggies were picked seventh in both the coaches' and the media poll.
Senior forward Ashlee Brown made Utah State women's basketball history by becoming the first Aggie to earn WAC Preseason Player of the Year honors when she was awarded the honor by both the coaches and the media. Brown, who averaged 15.2 points per game last season, is the top scorer returning in the WAC. Last season, Brown was the WAC's Newcomer of the Year and earned first-team all-WAC honors.
The Aggies received 40 points in the WAC coaches' poll, including two of the eight first-place votes. Defending WAC regular season-champion, Louisiana Tech, was picked first with 47 points, including five-first place votes. Fresno State, the 2011 WAC Tournament champions, was picked third with 36 points and the final first-place vote. Nevada placed fourth with 33 points, followed by Hawai`i with 22 points. New Mexico State was picked to finish in sixth place with 18 points, while Idaho was just a point behind with 17 points to finish in seventh place. The coaches' poll was rounded out by San Jose State in eighth place with 11 points.
In the media poll, Utah State was voted third with 126 points, including three first-place votes. As with the coaches' poll, Louisiana Tech was picked first with 144 total points and 13 first-place votes. The only difference between the polls was that Fresno State took second-place in the media poll with 129 points and three first-place votes. Nevada earned the fourth spot with 80 points, followed by Hawai`i with 72. The media poll was rounded out with New Mexico State in sixth with 59 points, while Idaho (52 points) and San Jose State (22 points) were picked to finish seventh and eighth, respectively.
AGGIES ON THE RADIO/WEB - All Utah State games can be heard on KLGN (1390 AM) in Logan with Craig Hislop taking the reigns this season. They can also be heard on the web by going to the Utah State Athletics home page at www.UtahStateAggies.com and clink on the "Listen Live" link in the right hand column.
GAMETRACKER - Fans can follow Aggie home games through the USU web site at www.UtahStateAggies.com via GameTracker, a free service, which updates play-by-play and statistics throughout the game.
ON THE INTERNET - All of Utah State's home games are available to watch live through Utah State TV via the internet at www.UtahStateAggies.com.
AROUND THE COURT - News and Notes from around the Aggie basketball court.
Last season was the first time in head coach Raegan Pebley's career that she has earned the Coach of the Year accolade. Pebley is also the first female to earn the award since 2004-05 when Rice's Cristy McKinney was named Coach of the Year.
This season, Utah State welcomes six newcomers, including senior transfer Brooke Jackson who comes to Logan from the University of Arizona. USU adds five freshmen in Brooke Beckstead, Xava Grooms, Addison Moore, Elise Nelson and Franny Vaaulu.
The Aggies had 10 WAC wins last season which was the most since the 2008-09 team that had a 9-7 record.
HEAD COACH Raegan Pebley - Raegan Pebley is entering her ninth season as head coach at Utah State, which is the longest tenure in the program's history. Five games into the 2007-08 season, Pebley overtook the lead for the most games coached in Utah State history (116). She has now coached 246 games for the Blue and White and has 96 wins as Aggie head coach, which is first ahead of Fern Gardner (55) on the all-time win list.
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