Aggie Women's Basketball Closes Homestand Against UNLV Wednesday
Jan. 20, 2014
LOGAN, Utah - - TIP OFF - Utah State women's basketball looks to snap a season-long, three-game losing streak when they host UNLV on Wednesday, Jan. 22 at 7 p.m. at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum. The Aggies won their first two Mountain West games before losing home games to Nevada and Boise State and a road game to Colorado State.
Overall, Utah State is 8-8 overall and 2-3 in conference games. UNLV comes to Logan with a four-game winning streak. The Lady Rebels are 7-10 overall and 4-1 in MW action.
THE OPPONENT - This will be the first meeting between the Aggies and the Lady Rebels since USU joined the Mountain West. UNLV holds a 13-2 series lead against Utah State. The Aggies won the last meeting in Logan on Jan. 2, 2010 when USU captured a 78-70 victory. USU's other win against UNLV came in its first meeting in 1974 when the Aggies stopped the Lady Rebels, 70-63.
UNLV as won four-straight games after dropping its first conference game to first-place Fresno State. The Lady Rebels earned road wins against Air Force and Nevada and home wins against New Mexico and San Diego State. The Aggies and the Lady Rebels have three common non-conference teams. UNLV was 0-3 against BYU, Utah and Loyola Marymount, while Utah State was 2-1 against those teams.
The Lady Rebels have three players who average in double figures led by Danielle Miller, who averages 13.6 points per game, which is eighth in the Mountain West. Alana Cesarz is second in scoring with 13.4 ppg, while Mia Bell scores 11.6 ppg. UNLV scores 65.8 ppg and allows the exact same amount of points per game.
BRING ON THE BAIRSTOW - Sophomore guard Stephanie Bairstow has come on strong of late. She has started the last two games and has started three games this season. She scored in double figures in three of the last four games. She scored a career-high 13 points against Nevada on Jan. 11. She also played a career-high 31 minutes against Boise State on Jan. 18.
DOUBLE-DIGIT REBOUNDING - Utah State has had five different players register double-digit rebounding games this season. Junior forward Ingrida Strikas leads the way with three double-digit rebound games, while junior guard Elise Nelson has two. Junior forward Franny Vaaulu has had two double-digit rebound games this season, while sophomore guards Makenlee Williams and Stephanie Bairstow have both had one double-digit rebounding game. Nelson is eighth in the Mountain West in rebounding, averaging 6.9 rebounds per game.
STARTING LINEUPS - The Aggies have had six different starting lineups. The quintet of Jennifer Schlott, Elise Nelson, Makenlee Williams, Ingrid Strikas and Franny Vaaulu have started nine games which is the most of any lineup. Schlott, Nelson, Strikas, Vaaulu and Shelby Cloninger have started a trio of games. There are four lineups that have started one game this season. Eight different Aggies have started at least one game this season led by Schlott who has started all 16 games.
TAKING IT AWAY AND HELPING OUT - This week, Utah State improved to eighth in the nation in steals per game, averaging 11.9 steals per game which is also first in the conference. USU has three players in the top seven in the MW in steals, led by junior guard Elise Nelson with 2.9 spg. Senior guard Jennifer Schlott is second in the league (2.3 spg) and junior forward Franny Vaaulu is seventh (1.8 spg). The Aggies are also 37th in the nation in assists per game, averaging 16.5 apg, which is good for second in the MW.
GETTING IN THE GAME - With the change of line up against Boise State on Jan. 18, senior guard Jennifer Schlott is the only Aggie to have started all 16 games. Junior forward Ingrida Strikas, junior forward Franny Vaaulu, senior guard Cristal Turner, sophomore Stephanie Bairstow and junior guard Elise Nelson have played in all 16 games. Sophomore guard Makenlee Williams started the Aggies' first 11 games before injury kept her out the next five games. Freshman guard Shelby Cloninger has played in 15 games, starting five.
CLIMBING THE CHARTS - USU is now eighth in the NCAA statistics in steals, averaging 11.9 spg. Sacramento State leads the nation with 13.3 spg. The Aggies are have another stellar season from the charity stripe, standing 21st in the nation (75.6 percent). The Aggies are also 22nd in scoring offense behind Oregon which leads the nation with an amazing 96.5 ppg.
Individually, senior guard Jennifer Schlott is up to sixth in the country in points per game (23.8 ppg). Baylor's Sims is first in the nation with 31.1 ppg. Schlott is also 15th in assists per game (6.4 apg). Junior guard Elise Nelson is ninth in the nation in assist/turnover ratio (3.17).
NEARING HISTORY - With five assists against Boise State on Jan. 18, senior guard Jennifer Schlott stands alone in second place with 347 career helpers. She is now 24 assists away from passing Taylor Richards (2005-08) who leads with 371 career assists. She is also now fifth all-time in USU history in scoring with 1,136 points. She is two points away from tying Richards for fourth in scoring with 1,138 points.
Schlott is also second in career free throws made with 306. She is just 13 free throws away from tying another Aggie-great Devyn Christensen who made 319 free throws from 2010-2013.
LAST MEETING AGAINST UNLV - Guards Tahara Williams and LaCale Pringle-Buchanan netted career-highs of 18 points each to lead Utah State to a season-high scoring outing in a 78-70 win over UNLV at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum.
Williams, a senior, and Pringle-Buchanan, a junior, helped the Aggies match their longest win streak since reinstating women's basketball, with a four-game streak, matching last year. Before that, USU, which discontinued women's basketball from 1987-2003, hadn't won four in a row since the 1981-82 season.
Utah State finishes non-conference action with an 8-5 record, as the Aggies open up Western Athletic Conference action next week at Louisiana Tech. UNLV leveled its ledger at 7-7, losing two of its last three games. Saturday was just the Lady Rebels' second road loss in six games.
Additionally, Saturday was just the second-ever win over UNLV by Utah State, and the Aggies are now 2-13 all-time against the Lady Rebels, snapping a 13-game losing streak since USU's only other win, back in 1974. Saturday was just the second meeting between the teams since USU's reinstatement, facing off last season at Las Vegas, Nev., with UNLV winning, 84-79.
The 78 points scored by Utah State Saturday was a season-high, as the Aggies improved to 3-0 when topping 70 points and 6-0 now when scoring 60 or more points. It was the most points scored by USU since a 90-82 OT loss to LA Tech on Jan. 10, 2009 and the most points scored in a victory since Dec. 22, 2007 when the Aggies beat Saint Mary's, 81-60.
SCHLOTT NAMED TO LEIBERMAN WATCH LIST - Senior guard Jennifer Schlott has been named to the Nancy Lierberman Award watch list, honoring the top point guard in the nation. The award is given by the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
The award recognizes the top point guard in women's NCAA Division I college basketball. Candidates exhibit the floor leadership, play-making and ball-handling skills of Hall of Famer Nancy Lieberman.
The Aggies' starting point guard has started every game this season and has scored in double figures in every game. She is first on the team and in the Mountain West in scoring, averaging 23.3 points per game, which is also eighth in the nation. She is also first in the MW in assists, averaging 6.6 apg, which is also 13th in the country.
The senior is the only player in the Beehive State and in the Mountain West Conference to be named to the watch list. Schlott has earned Mountain West Player of the Week honors twice this season, and recently joined the 1,000-point club.
Previous winners of the Nancy Lieberman Award include last year's recipient Skylar Diggins (Notre Dame), Sue Bird (Connecticut), Renee Montgomery (Connecticut), Diana Taurasi (Connecticut), Lindsey Harding (Duke), Courtney Vandersloot (Gonzaga), Temeka Johnson (LSU), Kristi Toliver(Maryland), Ivory Latta(North Carolina), andAndrea Riley (Oklahoma State).
CONFERENCE OPENERS - The Aggies improved to 6-5 in conference openers since the re-instatement after USU's win against Air Force on Jan.1. Utah State was 5-3 in Western Athletic Conference openers winning the last four at home against UTSA last season and on the road against New Mexico State in 2011. In 2010, USU won at home against Boise State and in 2009, USU earned its first ever win against Louisiana Tech. Utah State was 3-2 in WAC openers at home. USU was 0-2 in Big West openers, taking on Idaho in both games.
USU IN MW OPENERS (1-0) 2013-14 W, vs. Air Force, 88-78 USU IN WAC OPENERS (5-3) 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, 69-57 2011-12 W, at New Mexico State, 74-56 2012-13 W, vs. UTSA, 79-66 (OT)
SCHLOTT BY THE NUMBERS - Senior guard Jennifer Schlott is the only player in Mountain West conference games to score 30 points with 31 against Boise State on Jan. 18. In Mountain West games, she is one of only six players to have a double-digit assist game this season. In league contests, she is the only player in the MW to have three 20+ games in league contests. Overall, she has 11 20-point contests.
SHATTERING RECORDS - Senior guard Jennifer Schlott did more than help the Aggies snap a two-game losing skid against UC Santa Barbara on Nov. 19. The guard shattered the school record for single-game scoring with 44 points against the Gauchos. She became the first USU player to break the 40-point mark. The previous school record was 38 points by Pat Montgomery against Weber State in 1979. She is the eighth men or women's basketball player to score at least 44 points. The last men's player to score 44 points was Aggie-great Jaycee Carroll against New Mexico State in 2007. Schlott's previous career-high was 37 points against Utah on Nov. 19. She is the only Aggie to have scored in double figures in all 16 games this season.
EVEN MORE ON 44 - Jennifer Schlott's 44 points is also among the best ever in the Mountain West. The 44 points scored is the second-most in Mountain West history as another Beehive State player Kalee Whipple of Utah scored 45 against TCU in 2010. Schlott's perfect 18-for-18 from the charity stripe also set records. The 18 made were the most ever in Mountain West history, as three different players made 17. She also joins one of many players to have a perfect free throw percentage (1.000).
Schlott's 44 points are tied for the sixth-most in the nation this season. Troy's Joanna Harden scored 52 points to lead the country, while Chelsea Douglas of Wake Forest and Baylor's Odyssey Sims both scored 48. UT Martin's Jasmine Newsome tied Schlott with 44 points earlier this season.
SCHLOTT JOINS EXCLUSIVE CLUB - Senior guard Jennifer Schlott became the eighth member of the 1,000-point club at Utah State. Schlott, who already has 326 points this season, now has 1,136 points in her Aggie career. The last Aggie to join this club was Devyn Christensen who scored 1,551 in illustrious Utah State career. Schlott has passed Danyelle Snelgro for sixth place all-time in USU history in scoring. She is now in fifth all-time.
MOVING UP THE MOUNTAIN - Utah State remains among the top of several Mountain West categories. USU is now first in scoring offense (80.4 ppg). The Aggies are also second in assists (16.5 apg) and first in steals (11.9 spg) and turnover margin (+4.8). The Aggies are third in scoring margin (+6.1) behind Colorado State (+8.2) and Wyoming (+7.1).
Individually, senior guard Jennifer Schlott is still first in the MW in scoring, averaging 23.8 ppg. Due to her injury, sophomore guard Makenlee Williams has fallen out of the rankings, despite averaging 18.0 ppg. The Aggies have three players in the top seven in the conference in steals per game led by junior guard Elise Nelson (2.9 spg) and Schlott (2.3 spg) who are first and second, respectively. Franny Vaaulu is seventh 1.8 spg. Nelson is also first in the MW in assist-turnover ratio (3.2), while Schlott is seventh 1.5. FINKBEINER REACHES A MILESTONE - With a win against San José State on Jan. 4, head coach Jerry Finkbeiner reached a milestone in his 25th season. Finkbeiner won his 500th career game against the Spartans. He now has an overall record of 500-261. He is the 48th winningest active NCAA Division I coach by winning percentage .655. By victories, Finkbeiner started the season 30th.
AGGIES ON THE RADIO/WEB - Most Utah State games can be heard on KLGN (1390 AM) in Logan with Craig Hislop in his second season as the voice of the Aggies. 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. There will be nine game that will only be heard through either www.UtahStateAggies.com or www.1390klgn.com but not on the radio.
SEASON OPENERS - This was the 11th season since Utah State women's basketball was re-instated for the 2003-04 season. The Aggies are 3-8 in season openers, falling to Utah Valley on the road last season, 78-62. The Aggies wins came against Wyoming to open the 2011-12 season and against Utah to begin the 2009-10 year and finally the win against Black Hills State, 103-46 this season.
BEING SOCIAL WITH THE AGGIES - Fans can follow USU women's basketball at twitter.com/USUwbb and Utah State athletics at twitter.com/USUAthletics. This season, Aggie fans can also find out what Utah State is up to on instagram at instagram.com/USUWBasketball and on facebook at facebook.com/USUWbb.
ON THE INTERNET - All of Utah State's home games are available to watch live through the Aggie Digital Network via the internet at www.UtahStateAggies.com. USU fans can also listen to every game both home and away, via USU's web site. This season the Aggies will be working in conjunction with the Mountain West Digital Network to stream all home games for free.
UP NEXT - After concluding its two-game homestand, Utah State will then travel to San Diego State on Saturday, Jan. 24 at 3 p.m. (MT). The Aggies will then remain on the road to take on New Mexico on Wednesday, Jan. 29 at 7 p.m. to conclude the month of January.
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.
AGGIES PICKED SIXTH IN MW PRESEASON POLL - Utah State women's basketball was selected sixth in the Mountain West Women's Basketball Preseason Poll as voted on by a panel of the league's 11 head coaches and media. The poll was announced by the conference, prior to the league's media days at the conference office in Colorado Springs, Colo.
Fresno State, coached by former USU head coach Raegan Pebley, was picked to finish first in the conference with 238 points, including 17 first-place votes. The Bulldogs captured the 2013 Mountain West Tournament. Wyoming was tabbed second with 212 points, including four first-place votes, while the 2013 MW regular-season champion San Diego State was chosen third with 196 points and two first-place votes. New Mexico (185 points) and UNLV (170 points) were voted fourth and fifth, respectively with the Rebels taking the final two first-place votes. Utah State was picked sixth with 136 points, just ahead of Colorado State at seventh with 130 points. Boise State (96 points), San José State (76), Nevada (62) and Air Force round out the poll finishing eighth-11th respectively.
Wyoming junior Kayla Woodward was named the 2013-14 MW Preseason Player of the Year. Woodward, a forward, was a second-team all-Mountain West selection last season and was named to the 2013 MW all-Tournament Team. Woodward, the top returning scorer in the league, averaged 14.1 points per game in 2012-13. She is joined on the preseason team by Colorado State's Sam Martin, Fresno State's Taylor Thompson, San Diego State's Erimma Amarikwa, and San José State's Ta`Rea Cunnigan. San Diego State's Chloe Johnson was named Preseason Freshman of the Year, while San Diego State transfer Cierra Warren earned Preseason Newcomer of the Year honors.
LAST TIME OUT - For the first time since the 2010-2011 season, the Utah State women's basketball team lost back-to-back home games, dropping a heartbreaker to Boise State, 71-68, at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum.
This game was also significant as head coach Jerry Finkbeiner faced his son. Ben Finkbeiner is an assistant coach with Boise State and now holds a 1-0 record against his father.
Utah State was led by another stellar offensive performance from senior guard Jennifer Schlott who scored a game-high 31 points. This was Schlott's third 30-plus point performance this season and her first in MW action. She was also hampered by a season-high 12 turnovers. Junior forward Franny Vaaulu was the only other Aggie to score in double-figures with 10 points. Sophomore guard Stephanie Bairstow had another solid performance with nine points and eight rebounds.
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.
Jerry Finkbeiner - Jerry Finkbeiner enters his second season as Utah State's ninth head women's basketball coach. Assistant coaches Micha Thompson and Stu Sells return for their second and third seasons, respectively. Crystal Robinson joins the team as the Aggies' third assistant coach, while Ebony Haliburton will be USU's Director of Basketball Operations.