Utah State Women Take on Seattle Saturday in a Battle for First Place
Feb. 1, 2013
LOGAN, Utah - TIP OFF - Utah State women's basketball (11-10, 8-2 WAC) will take on Western Athletic Conference newcomer Seattle on Saturday, Feb. 2 at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum at 7 p.m. in a battle for first place. The Aggies and the Redhawks are tied for first with matching 8-2 league records. Utah State won its fifth-straight game with a 81-50 win over Idaho on Jan. 31. The 31-point margin of victory was the largest this season for the Aggies.
USU has now won nine of its last 11 games, dating back to a win against South Dakota on Dec. 20. The Aggies have seven conference games remaining this season after the matchup with the Redhawks.
HAPPY NEW YEAR - The Aggies will hate to see the calendar change from January to February. Utah State was a dominating 6-2 in the first month of the year. After going 2-4 in November and 3-4 in December, USU has had a breakout month in January. USU looks to take that momentum into February. Three of the Aggies' six wins in January came on the road with wins against Idaho, UT Arlington and Louisiana Tech.
DEVYN DOES IT AGAIN - Senior guard Devyn Christensen broke yet another career Utah State record against Idaho on Jan. 31. The current all-time USU leader in three-point field goals attempted and free throw percentage is the record holder for free throws made. She passes Ashlee Brown (2011-12) who made 289 in just two seasons in an Aggie uniform. Christensen now has 290 career free throws. The senior is currently first in the WAC and ninth in the nation, shooting 91.0 percent from the charity stripe.
SCOUTING SEATTLE - This is the third meeting between the Redhawks and the Aggies. Seattle leads the series 2-0 with a win against the Aggies in 1980. Seattle also captured a win earlier this season on Jan. 3 in Seattle, 71-68, in overtime. The Redhawks have held the top spot in the WAC for the bulk of the season so far. Seattle is 11-8 over all and 8-2 in league play. The Redhawks lost only their second conference season on Jan. 31 with a 74-65 defeat at the hands of San Jose State. After winning six-straight games, Seattle has now lost two of its last three games.
Kacie Sowell is the Redhawks leading scorer, averaging 16.7 points per game which is fourth best in the WAC. Sowell also brings down 9.56 rebounds per game. In the earlier meeting this season, Sowell scored 24 points against the Aggies. Sylvia Shephard is second in scoring with 13.5 points per game. Defensively, SU is also strong, averaging 13.5 spg which is fourth in the nation and second in the WAC Utah State (13.6 spg).
AGGIES VS SEATTLE IN THE WAC 2012-13 Seattle 71, USU 68 (in Seattle) Overall Record: 0-1CLOSER AND CLOSER - Senior guard Devyn Christensen inches closer and closer to the all-time Utah State scoring record. After a 13-point performance against Idaho on Jan. 31, she has 1317 points. Jerrie McGahan (1977-80) is the all-time scoring leader at USU with 1,353 points scored during her time at Utah State. Christensen is now 36 points away from tying McGahan.
TAKING ADVANTAGE - USU continues to dominate from the free throw line. The Aggies are second in the nation and first in the WAC, shooting 80.4 percent from the charity stripe. Utah State has had 12 games this season shooting over 80.0 from the free throw line, including two shooting over 90 percent. The Aggies set the single-game record against UTSA going 24-of-25 for 96.0 percent.
BENCH ALL-STARS - During the Aggies five-game winning streak, the bench has come alive. The USU bench is averaging 28.4 points and 15.4 rebounds per game. Sophomore forward Franny Vaaulu has been leading the way with 15.2 ppg and 5.4 rpg. Vaaulu also has 11 steals and 11 blocks off the bench. Sophomore guard Elise has averaged 5.3 ppg in 16.3 mpg during the winning streak. The bench players are shooting 58.3 percent from the field (56-of-96), while their opponents are shooting 35.7 percent from the field (41-of-115).
AGGIES IN THE NCAA STATS - In the most recent NCAA statistics release, senior guard Devyn Christensen is 21st in points per game (19.5 ppg). Christensen is still ninth in the nation in free throw percentage (91.0 percent) and 15th in three-pointers made (2.95). Senior guard Jenna Johnson is now 13th in the country in steals per game (3.48 spg) after snagging four against Idaho on Jan. 31.
As a team, Utah State moved up to third in the country in free throw percentage, shooting 80.4 percent from the charity stripe. The only team better that the Aggies is one of USU's foes this season, Notre Dame (81.0 percent). USU is up to third in the country in steals (13.6 spg). Utah State is also 13th in scoring offense, averaging 75.4 ppg.
TURNING IT ON - In conference games, the Aggies have really turned on the heat offensively. Utah State has five players, averaging in double figures as USU averages 80.0 points per game. Devyn Christensen leads the way with 16.5 ppg, while Jenna Johnson nearly averaging a double-double with 16.3 ppg and 9.4 rpg. Jennifer Schlott scores 15.0 ppg, while Franny Vaaulu comes off the bench to score 10.6 ppg. Makenlee Williams rounds out the quintet with 10.1 ppg.
EVEN STEVEN - During the Aggies five-game winning streak, the Aggies have had very even scoring as all 11 active players have scored a point. Four different players have averaged in double figures during the four-game span, including Devyn Christensen (15.8 ppg), Jenna Johnson (15.8 ppg), Franny Vaaulu (15.2 ppg) and Jennifer Schlott (11.2 ppg).
LIKE THIEVES IN THE NIGHT - The WAC has several teams among the nation's best in steals this season. Utah State is third in the nation behind North Carolina, averaging 13.6 steals per game, while Seattle is fourth with 13.5 spg. San Jose State is tied for 15th in the nation with 12.4. The three teams are the only ones in the WAC in double digits in steals per game. The Aggies are first in total steals with 285 this season. USU tied a season high with 19 steals against UTA on Jan. 24.
STEALING HISTORY - Senior guard Jenna Johnson moved up to third in career steals with seven in the Aggies' loss to San Jose State on Jan. 12. She now has 197 career steals. She is just 19 steals from tying Danyelle Snelgro (216) for second place. Former teammate Alice Coddington is the all-time leader in steals with 236. Johnson's eight steals against Montana State on Dec. 1 were the most by an Aggie this season.
HELPING OUT THE TEAM - Jennifer Schlott had a career-high nine assists in USU's win against Denver. She has nine games this season with at least five assists which leads the team. Her season high is nine in a win against Denver on Jan. 19. Schlott is still third in the WAC with 4.38 assists per game.
BEST START - The Aggies 8-2 WAC start matches its best in the eight years that USU has been in the league. This is the second-straight season that Utah State has begun conference play with a 8-2 record. This season, the Aggies only losses were an overtime loss on the road to Seattle and another road loss to San Jose State.
WAC starts through 10 games 2005-06 1-9 2006-07 5-5 2007-08 2-8 2008-09 5-5 2009-10 5-5 2010-11 7-3 2011-12 8-2 2012-13 8-2GAME WINNER - Freshman guard Makenlee Williams' three pointer with one second left on the clock lifted Utah State over New Mexico State, 65-63, on Jan. 17. Williams continues to have a very strong rookie season, averaging 7.6 points per game. In WAC games, she scores 11.1 ppg. She has started 16 of 19 games this season and seven of eight in league play.
FRIENDLY CONFINES - With a 81-50 win against Idaho on Jan. 31, Utah State improved to 6-2 at home this season and a perfect 5-0 in WAC games. At home games this season, USU out-scores its opponents 74.6 to 66.0. At the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum, the Aggies double up their opponents in blocks with 4.8 bpg compared to 2.5 bpg by their opponents. Utah State also has played well defensively at home, averaging 11.8 spg, compared to 7.4. The Aggies have four more home games left during the regular season against Seattle, San Jose State, Louisiana Tech and UT Arlington.
MAGIC NUMBER - The Aggies continue to have a magic number this season which is 70. When keeping opponents to under 70 points, USU is a stellar 8-0 this year. In five of USU's eight WAC wins this season, the Aggies have allowed under 70 points. Utah State is 3-10 when allowing more than 70 points.
AGGIES IN WAC OPENERS - Utah State is 5-3 in WAC openers winning the last four at home against UTSA this 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. This was the first time since USU joined the league that the Aggies faced a WAC newcomer to start the season. Utah State is now 3-2 in WAC openers at home.
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)TOPS IN THE WAC - Devyn Christensen is still third in the WAC scoring, averaging 19.5 points per game. Jenna Johnson is seventh, averaging 14.3 ppg, while Jennifer Schlott is 12th in scoring with 13.0 ppg. Christensen, who broke the WAC's single-season record for free throw percentage last season, is first in this season, shooting 91.0 percent. She has only missed eight of the 89 free throws that she has attempted. Freshman Makenlee Williams is first in the league in three-point free throw percentage, shooting 43.7 percent from beyond the arc. Johnson is tied for second in steals, averaging 3.85 spg, while Christensen is fourth with 2.81spg. Jennifer Schlott is still third in assists with 4.38 apg. Franny Vaaulu is second in field goal percent, shooting 55.8 percent from the field.
As a team, USU is first in free throw percent (80.4 percent). The Aggies are tied for second in blocked shots (4.00 bpg). Utah State is still first in scoring (75.4 ppg) and second field goal percentage (40.6 percent). Utah State is now first in steals (13.57 spg), passing Seattle who was first in the nation in steals earlier this season.
LOOKING AROUND THE LEAGUE - After a road loss to San Jose State on Jan. 31, Seattle and Utah State move into a tie for first place with matching 8-2 records. Idaho and San Jose State are tied for third with 6-4 marks. Louisiana tech stand alone in fifth with a 5-4 records, while UTSA and Denver are tied for sixth with even 5-5 records. New Mexico State is eighth with a 3-7 record, while Texas State (2-8) and UT Arlington (1-8) round out the league standings.
WINNING THE FIRST HALF - Utah State has a solid record when out-scoring its opponents in the first 20 minutes of action. The Aggies are 8-1 when scoring more in the first half. The only game that Utah State lost when leading at half time was an overtime loss to UC Irvine on Dec. 18. USU was ahead 41-36 at halftime and lost in overtime, 71-70. The Aggies have been leading at halftime in five of their nine WAC games. The only game they didn't have the lead was an overtime loss to Seattle on Jan. 3, San Jose State on Jan. 12 and Louisiana Tech on Jan. 26.
CHANGING IT UP - In 21 games this season, Utah State has had seven different starting lineups. The lineup of Jennifer Schlott, Devyn Christensen, Jenna Johnson, Makenlee Williams and Franny Vaaulu have started eight games this season. Elise Nelson, Christensen, Johnson, Cristal Turner and Vaaulu have been the starters for two games. Stephanie Bairstow, Christensen, Johnson, Williams and Vaaulu have been the starters for a trio of games. The group of Nelson, Christensen, Johnson, Williams, Vaaulu and Schlott started one game, while Christensen, Johnson, Williams and Bairstow have been the combination of starters for two games. Against New Mexico State on Jan. 17, the Aggies had another group of starters in Schlott, Christensen, Johnson, Nelson and Haylee Thompson. Yet another lineup was unveiled on Saturday, Jan. 19 when Schlott, Christensen, Williams and Thompson started. This group has started three games.
AGGIES SET SCHOOL RECORD - Against UTSA, Utah State set a school record, shooting 96 percent from the free throw line, making 24-of-25. The previous record was 95.6 against Colorado in 1980. In overtime, Utah State took control, making 12-of-13 free throws.
HOME OPENERS - Utah State fell to 3-7 in home openers after its 71-65 loss to Montana State on Dec. 1. The Aggies home wins came against Weber State (2011), Utah (2009) and Idaho State (2006).
AGAINST THE BEEHIVE STATE - Since the re-instatement, the Aggies are now 15-16 against the Beehive State, including this season's losses to BYU, Utah Valley and Utah. The Aggies now gone winless against the state for just the third time in the last 10 years. In USU's first season back in 2003, the Aggies went 0-2 against the state with losses to Southern Utah and Weber State. The 2006-07 season was the only other season where the Aggies went winless against the state with losses to both Utah Valley and Weber State.
WHAT'S NEXT - The Aggies are home for two-straight home games against Seattle (Feb. 2) and San Jose State (Feb. 9). All three home game begin at 7 p.m. at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum. Following the duo of home games, USU returns to the road to take on Denver (on Feb. 14) and New Mexico State (Feb. 16).
FAREWELL - USU enters its eighth and final season in the WAC. Next season, the Aggies will be heading to the Mountain West Conference along with San Jose State. Last season, the Aggies finished third in WAC play with an 11-3 conference record which was its best finish since joining the league.
AGGIES ON SCHOOL DAY - Utah State improved to 4-0 when packing the house with local elementary and middle schoolers for School Day. With a win against South Dakota on Dec. 20, the Aggies are now 4-0 on School Day when local elementary and middle schools pack the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum. In 2009, USU won the inaugural School Day game with a 58-46 win over North Dakota State. In 2010, edged South Dakota State, 60-57. Last season, USU improved to 3-0 on School Day with a 70-51 win over Northern Arizona.
BEING SOCIAL WITH THE AGGIES - Fans can follow USU women's basketball at http://twitter.com/USUwbb and Utah State athletics at http://twitter.com/USUAthletics. Fans can follow along with the games and keep up with what the Aggies are up to.
SEASON OPENERS - This is the 10th season since Utah State women's basketball was re-instated for the 2003-04 season. The Aggies are 2-8 in season openers after a 78-62 loss to Utah Valley on Nov. 12. Last season, USU started the season with a win last season at Wyoming, 62-56. USU's other season opening win came to begin the 2009-10 season against in-state rival Utah in Logan, 67-58.
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.
SILVER ANNIVERSARY - The 2012-13 season marks the 25th year of women's basketball at USU, and just the 10th 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 eighth season in the WAC after playing its first two seasons in the Big West Conference.
ALASKA - THE FINAL FRONTIER - The Aggies headed to the Final Frontier for the Great Alaska Shootout and returned with their first ever tournament win. With wins against Prairie View A&M and host Alaska Anchorage, Utah State captured the Great Alaska Shootout title. Senior guard Devyn Christensen was named MVP of the tournament, while sophomore forward Franny Vaaulu was also named to the all-tournament team. Vaaulu set the record for highest field goal percentage, shooting 81.8 (9-of-11).
AGGIES IN THE PRESEASON POLLS - Utah State women's basketball was selected first in both the Western Athletic Conference coaches' poll media poll. This is the first time that the Aggies have ever been picked first in a preseason poll. Last season, USU was second in the coaches' poll and third in the media poll. In 2010-11, the Aggies were picked seventh in both the coaches' and the media poll.
Senior guard Devyn Christensen became the second-straight Utah State women's basketball player to earn WAC Preseason Player of the Year honors when she was awarded the honor by both the coaches and the media. Last season, forward Ashlee Brown was named preseason all-WAC. Last season, Christensen was named to the second-team in the coaches' poll.
The league will have a new champion as Fresno State captured the regular season and tournament titles. The Aggies received 78 points in the WAC coaches' poll, including seven of the 10 first-place votes. Louisiana Tech was a close second with 75 points and the three remaining first-place votes. In its first season in the WAC, Denver was picked third with 55 points, while fellow newcomer Seattle U was fourth with 48 points. Idaho was just behind Seattle U in fifth place with 47 points. Texas State, another new team to the WAC, is sixth with 41 points, while San Jose State. Rounding out the coaches' poll is New Mexico State in eighth (27), and newcomers UTSA (26) and UT Arlington (17) in ninth and 10th, respectively.
In the media poll, Utah State was voted first with 165 points, including nine first-place votes. Louisiana Tech was also second in the media poll with 145 overall points and four first-place votes. Six different teams earned at least one first-place points.
LAST TIME OUT - Senior guard Jenna Johnson recorded her eighth double-double of the season as the Utah State women's basketball team swept past Idaho, 81-50, at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum on Thursday.
With the win, Utah State moves into a tie for first place with Seattle. Utah State is now 11-10 and 8-2 in Western Athletic Conference action. Idaho falls to 9-12 overall and 6-4 in league play. This is the first time this season that the Aggies have been over .500.
The 31-point win was the biggest margin of victory this season for the Aggies' whose previous high was 16 points in a win against Denver on Jan. 19. For only the second time this season, five different Aggies scored in double figures led by 19 points from Johnson, who also added 10 rebounds. Sophomore forward Franny Vaaulu continued her strong play off the bench with 15 points and six boards. Senior guard Devyn Christensen scored 13 with freshmen guards Makenlee Williams and Stephanie Bairstow added 11 and 10 points, respectively.
AGGIES ON THE RADIO/WEB - All 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.
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. USU fans can also listen to every game both home and away, via USU's web site.
THE NEWBIES - This season, Utah State welcomes nine newcomers, including four transfers, Kelsey Corcoran (Winthrop), Mariah Miles (Oral Roberts), Jasmine Porter (San Diego State) and Kali Roche (Utah Valley) that will have to sit out the 2012-13 season. Freshmen Makenlee Williams, Haylee Thompson, Stephanie Bairstow, junior Tanja Steed and senior Cristal Turner also join the Aggies this season and will be eligible to play in 2012-13.
Jerry Finkbeiner - Jerry Finkbeiner took the reigns as Utah State's ninth head women's basketball coach. Finkbeiner added assistant coaches Micha Thompspon and Robert Donaldson. Stu Sells enters his second season as an assistant at Utah State.