USU Women's Basketball Opens WAC Action at New Mexico State on Thursday
Jan. 10, 2012
LOGAN, Utah - TIP OFF - Utah State women's basketball looks to remain undefeated in 2012, beginning its seventh season in the Western Athletic Conference on Thursday, Jan. 12 at New Mexico State. USU will also take on Louisiana Tech on Saturday, Jan. 14 in Ruston. The Aggies (9-5) have won four-straight games, including the first two games of 2012. Last time out, USU concluded non-conference play with a 61-43 win over Utah Valley on Jan. 7 at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum.
AGGIES IN WAC OPENERS - Utah State is 3-3 in Western Athletic Conference openers winning the last two on the road at Louisiana Tech in 2010 and at home against Boise State in 2011. This is the first time since USU joined the league that the Aggies of Utah State have faced the Aggies of New Mexico State in a league opener. Utah State is 1-1 in WAC openers on the road.
USU IN WAC OPENERS (3-3) 2005-06 L, vs. San Jose State, 51-63 2006-07 L, vs. Boise State, 70-80 2007-08 W, vs. San Jose State, 68-58 2008-09 L, at Idaho, 63-71 2009-10 W, at Louisiana Tech, 69-66 2010-11 W, vs. Boise State, 69-57THE OPPONENT - New Mexico State is 18-13 against Utah State in 21 meetings. Since both teams joined the WAC in 2005, the maroon Aggies hold a slight 7-6 advantage. Last season, Utah State won two of three meetings, winning in Logan and in Las Vegas in the quarterfinals of the WAC Tournament.
Under new head coach Mark Trakh, New Mexico State is 3-12 through 15 games this season. The Aggies have wins against Houston, UC Santa Barbara and Shaw. USU and NMSU have two common opponents this season in Boise State and Idaho State. Both Aggies have played the Broncos twice with USU going 2-0 and NMSU going 0-2. Both team fell to the Bengals.
Tabytha Wampler continues to be a force for New Mexico State. The senior averages 13.7 points and 9.3 rebounds per game. She is sixth in the WAC in scoring and second in rebounding. Kaitlyn Soto is second on the team in scoring, averaging 8.1 ppg. As a team, NMSU scores 53.5 points per game, while allowing 63.5.
AGGIES VS AGGIES IN THE WAC 2005-06 NMSU 55, USU 48 (in Logan) USU 55, NMSU 45 (in Las Cruces) 2006-07 USU 68, NMSU 51 (in Las Cruces) USU 70, NMSU 67 OT (in Logan) 2007-08 NMSU 71, USU 58 (in Las Cruces) NMSU 78, USU 51 (in Logan) 2008-09 USU 72, NMSU 58 (in Logan) USU 69, NMSU 52 (in Las Cruces) 2009-10 NMSU 56, USU 55 (In Logan) NMSU 73, USU 54 (in Las Cruces) 2010-11 NMSU 75, USU 71 (in Las Cruces) USU 72, NMSU 61 (in Logan) USU 72, NMSU 67 (WAC Tournament in Las Vegas) WAC Record 7-6
THAT VOICE SOUNDS FAMILIAR - 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.
REBOUNDING RENAISSANCE - After struggling on the boards early in the season, Utah State is now 6-0 when winning the rebound battle. In wins against, Utah Valley, Asbury, Boise State, Weber State, UC Irvine and Northern Arizona, the Aggies have out-rebounded their opponent. The win against Utah Valley was also the second time this season that USU has reached the 40-rebound mark. The Aggies had a season-high 47 rebounds.
DISHING THE BALL - The Aggies had a season-high 25 assists in the win against Asbury on Jan. 3. Freshman Franny Vaaulu had a career-high five assists with sophomore Jennifer Schlott also adding five. Ten different players had at least one assist.
DOUBLE YOUR PLEASURE - Both games of this WAC road trip are doubleheaders with the USU men's team also making a trip to Las Cruces and Ruston. By the end of this week, the teams will have played three-straight doubleheaders.
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 - Utah State ended non-conference play with a 2-1 record against teams from the Beehive State USU earned a 73-63 win against Weber State on Nov. 16. The Aggies then fell to BYU 73-65 on Dec. 17. USU improved to 2-1 against the state of Utah with a 61-43 win 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).
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 19.3 points per game, while Brown averages 15.1 ppg. Brown is second in the league in rebounding with 9.0 rpg. Senior Maddy Plunkett is first in the league in three-point shooting (.513). Brooke Jackson is still first in free throw percentage (.862). Brown and Jackson are among the leaders in made free throws in the conference with Brown sinking 78 and Jackson making 50.
As a team, USU is second behind Fresno State in scoring offense, averaging 69.6 points per game. The Aggies and the Bulldogs are the only two teams in the league with positive scoring margins with Fresno State standing +6.7 and USU holding a +5.4. The Aggies are still first in free throw percentage (79.0). USU is now second in three-point field goal percentage (35.6).
CAREER HIGHS FOR THE HAWAIIANS - In the Aggies win against Asbury on Jan. 3, the two Hawaiians on the team Pualei Furtado and Kamie Imai had career-best performances. Imai had a career-high nine points, while Furtado added a career-high eight points. Imai also added a career-high five rebounds in the win.
PEBLEY NEARING A MILESTONE - USU head coach Raegan Pebley is nearing milestone as she now has 98 career wins. Pebley is in her ninth season at Utah State and is first in career wins for a women's basketball coach at USU.
UP NEXT - The Aggies will open the home portion of the WAC schedule next week. Utah State will take on first-place Fresno State on Thursday, Jan. 19 at 7 p.m. USU concludes the brief road trip against Nevada on Saturday, Jan. 21 at 7 p.m.
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.
SINKING IT FROM THE STRIPE - Utah State continues to be stellar from the free throw line.The Aggies are still in the top 10 in the nation in free throw percentage, standing in seventh this week. USU has made more free throws (248) than its opponents have attempted (222). USU is first in the WAC, shooting 79.0 percent from the free throw line (248-of-314). The Aggies opponents are shooting 68.9 percent from the charity stripe (153-of-222).
AGGIES IN THE NCAA STATS - In the most recent NCAA Statistics (Jan. 8), Utah State was seventh in the nation in free-throw percentage, shooting 79.0 percent from the charity stripe. Delaware leads the nation, shooting 83.5 percent. The Aggies are 32nd in the country in three-point field goal percentage (35.6 percent). Vanderbilt still leads the nation, shooting 43.0 percent from three.
In the latest RPI the Aggies are ranked 160 which is second in the WAC behind Fresno State which is 64.
JACKSON EARNS HONOR - Utah State women's basketball player Brooke Jackson has been named the America First Credit Union Utah State Student-Athlete of the Week for the period ending Sunday, Jan. 8, an award that is voted on by a state-wide media panel.
Jackson was also named College Sports Madness WAC Women's Basketball Player of the Week. The Madness identifies the highest impact players nationally and one from each conference in their weekly feature. Jackson is the second Aggie to win the award with senior forward Ashlee Brown being honored three times. This is Jackson's first career USU award, and she is the first women's basketball player to earn USU Athlete of the Week honors this season.
The senior guard from Mesa, Ariz., led Utah State to a pair of home wins last week against Asbury (83-53) and Utah Valley (61-43). Against the Eagles, Jackson had 11 points, four rebounds and three steals as she was 4-of-6 from the field and 3-of-4 from three-point range. Against the Wolverines, she added 13 points, seven rebounds, two assists, one block and one steal. For the week, Jackson averaged 12.0 points, 5.5 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 1.0 steals, while shooting 50.0 percent from the field (7-14), 44.4 percent from three-point range (4-9), and was a perfect 6-for-6 at the free throw line.
STARTING FIVE- In 14 games this season, Utah State has used five different lineups. Ashlee Brown is the only Aggie to have started all 14 games this season. Jennifer Schlott has started nine out of 14 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.
BRINGING THE DEFENSE - Utah State is 5-0 when it opponents score under 60 points or less. The Aggies have wins against Wyoming, Northern Arizona, Boise State, Asbury and Utah Valley. Utah State has allowed less than 55 points in its last four games.
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 - Four different players reached double-digits in scoring, as the Utah State women's basketball team completed non-conference action with a 61-43 win over in-state rival Utah Valley Saturday at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum.
Utah State ends non-conference action with a 9-5 record, and has won four-straight games. This is the second four-game winning streak of the season for the Aggies. Utah Valley is now 6-9 this season and has lost two-straight games to Western Athletic Conference teams after losing to San Jose State on Jan. 5.
Senior forward Ashlee Brown and senior guard Brooke Jackson led Utah State with 13 points each. Brown was one of three Aggies with eight rebounds along with senior forward Maddy Plunkett and freshman guard Elise Nelson, who had a stand out game. Nelson also added a career-high 12 points, going 10-of-12 from the free throw line. Plunkett added 10 points as the fourth Aggie in double figures.
Junior guard Jenna Johnson played stellar defense with a career-high six steals. USU ended the game with a season-high 17 steals.
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 248 games for the Blue and White and has 98 wins as Aggie head coach, which is first ahead of Fern Gardner (55) on the all-time win list.