Jan. 10, 2007
LOGAN, Utah - Utah State hosts Idaho on Thursday, Jan. 11 in women's basketball action. The Western Athletic Conference contest will tip-off at 7 p.m. at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum.
The Aggies are 5-9 overall and 1-1 in WAC action, surpassing last season's win total (3-24) with USU's fourth win of the year, knocking off Colgate, 58-42, on Dec. 30. Utah State opened conference play with an 80-70 loss to Boise State Thursday. With Saturday's 81-75 OT win over Fresno State, USU snapped a six-game WAC game losing skid.
In the WAC statistics, Utah State has regained its top spot in free throw percentage, after slipping as low as fifth since leading the league two weeks ago. As a team, USU is shooting .710 (157-221) at the charity stripe. The Aggies are seventh in scoring offense (60.1 ppg) and sixth in scoring defense (67.4 ppg), to rank seventh in the league in scoring margin (-7.3).
USU, which was second in the nation in the last NCAA stats (Dec. 2), has slipped out of the Top 50, currently ranked 90th. The Aggies have five players that have shot at least 15 free throws shooting 67.6 percent or better from the charity stripe.
Junior guard Taylor Richards (5-4, West Valley City, Utah), leads Utah State with 12.2 ppg, dishing out 2.9 apg and swiping 1.6 spg. Richards ranks fifth in the WAC in assists and 13th in scoring, as well as eighth in minutes played (32.7) and 10th in free throw percentage (.692, 36-52).
Richards was named the WAC Player of the Week after tallying a career-high 28 points in USU's win over Fresno State Saturday. She also dished out four assists in the contest, giving her 248 for her career and becoming USU's career assist leader, surpassing Pam Shirley's 245 assists from 1977-79.
The honor is the first WAC Player of the Week award for a Utah State player since joining the WAC last season, and is the first conference player of the week honor since Ali (Aird) Marchant was named Big West Player of the Week on Feb. 21, 2005. Overall it is the third conference player of the week honor awarded to an Aggie player under head coach Raegan Pebley, as Christina Zdenek received a Big West honor on Oct. 29, 2004.
Brittany Phillips, (SR, F, 6-0, Orem, Utah), tallies 9.6 ppg and pulls down a team-high 5.6 rpg. Phillips also is .350 from behind the three-point arc (7-20), a mark that would be seventh in the conference but does not reach the required minimum to qualify for the league stats. Phillips does rank tied for second in free throw pct. (.780, 32-41) and is 11th in rebounding. Phillips tied a season-high with 15 points in the loss to Boise State Thursday, and had three rebounds and two steals. In Saturday's win, Phillips snagged nine rebounds, a new season-high and tying a career-high.
The Vandals of Idaho are 3-10 overall and 0-2 in WAC action after losing a pair of home games to Fresno State, 84-75, on Monday and to Nevada, 78-68, on Saturday. Idaho has lost six in a row overall and seven of the last eight WAC regular-season games dating back to last season.
Idaho is fifth in the league in scoring offense with 62.5 ppg, and ninth in scoring defense, yielding 76.0 ppg, to rank ninth in scoring margin at -13.5.
Katie Madison, a 6-0 freshman forward, leads the Vandals with 18.8 ppg and 9.3 rpg. Madison leads the WAC in both scoring and rebounding, and ranks 29th in the NCAA in scoring and 43rd in rebounding. She also leads the league and ranks 49th in field goal percentage, hitting 53.1 percent (85-160). In Idaho's WAC opening loss to Fresno State, Madison had 14 points to go with seven rebounds. Saturday against Nevada, Madison was held to nine points, but pulled down a game-high 10 rebounds.
Thursday will be the 10th meeting between Utah State and Idaho, and the Aggies are 1-8 vs. the Vandals. USU's lone win in the series was last season in the regular-season on Feb. 16, 2006 at Logan when the Aggies won 63-53, snapping Idaho's seven-game winning streak in the series. Idaho rebounded to beat Utah State in the first game of the WAC Tournament at Reno, Nev., on March 7, 2006.
Utah State heads to Ruston, La., to face Louisiana Tech on Monday, Jan. 15 at 6 p.m. (MT).
The Aggies return home to host San Jose State on Saturday, Jan. 20 at 7 p.m. (MT).
Ticket prices for the regular-season games are $5 for adults, $1 for youth. Contact the USU Athletics Ticket Office at (435) 797-0305 or at 1-888-U-STATE-1 (1-888-878-2831) for more information.
Utah State women's basketball games can be heard on KLGN (1390 AM) in Logan with Evan Nyman calling the play-by-play and Clair Anderson providing color commentary for home games. They can also be heard on the web by going to the women's basketball home page at www.UtahStateAggies.com and clicking on the LISTEN link.
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