Utah State women’s basketball (5-21, 3-12 MW) returns to action after its second Mountain West bye as it hosts Air Force (3-23, 3-12 MW) on Saturday, Feb. 24, at 2 p.m.
OVER THE AIRWAVES
All regular-season home and Mountain West games will continue to be broadcast as a USU Athletics Production on the Mountain West Network. Live stats and play-by-play information will be available through GameTracker, while updates will also be provided through the team’s social media outlets. Utah State women’s basketball games are also broadcast on the radio on 92.3 KBLU, with Jaden Johnson on the call. The games will be streamed on the air and online. Links to each option will be available online prior to every game.
MILITARY APPRECIATION DAY
While the Aggies host Air Force on Saturday, Utah State Athletics will honor and thank all military personnel. A $1 ticket special is available for all veterans and active duty military. A select military member will be recognized as the Hero of the Game during a media timeout. A nomination form is available on utahstateaggies.com and on the USU women’s basketball Facebook and Twitter pages. A winner will be selected and notified on Friday, Feb. 23.
Saturday’s game is the fifth game of the 2017-18 Greek Challenge. Throughout the season, select Greek organizations at Utah State will be featured at each game. Fraternities and sororities will earn points based on percentage of members in attendance at the game, as well as for spirit, enthusiasm and participation. At the end of the season, the organization with the most points will receive a meet-and-greet with the women’s basketball team.
SCOUTING THE FALCONS
Air Force enters Saturday’s game with a 3-23 overall record, and is tied with Utah State in the Mountain West standings with a 3-12 ledger. The Falcons opened the week in a 56-48 win at San Diego State, sweeping the Aztecs on the season.
Air Force returned four starters and two additional letterwinners to its roster this season. A year ago, the Falcons posted a 4-25 overall record, going 2-16 against Mountain West opponents. Freshman guard Kaelin Immel is the leading scorer for Air Force this season, averaging 14.4 points per game. Senior forward Dee Bennett is the top rebounder, averaging 6.3 boards per game. Overall, the Falcons are averaging 55.2 points per game, while giving up an average of 63.5 points. As a team, Air Force is shooting 35.1 percent (527-of-1503) from the field, 25.5 percent (94-of-369) from the 3-point line and 66.4 percent (288-of-434) from the free throw line. Chris Gobrecht is in her third season as the head coach at Air Force, where she has an overall record of 8-76.
Utah State leads the all-time series against Air Force, 8-3, in games dating back to the 2004-05 season. The teams met earlier this season in a game at the Air Force Academy, with the Falcons taking the 57-50 win.
WHERE THEY STAND
With three games of the regular season left, the Mountain West Championship standings are shaping up. Wyoming and UNLV are tied for first, each with a 12-3 conference record. Should that tie stand, the Cowgirls hold the tie-break over the Lady Rebels, as the teams met just once this season and Wyoming took the win. Boise State is just half a game behind them, with one meeting left against Wyoming. Fresno State and Colorado State round out the top five spots, with 11-5 and 10-6 conference records, respectively. The top five teams will receive a bye through the first round of the conference tournament. New Mexico (8-7) and Nevada (5-10) fall next, while San Diego State and San José State (4-11) are tied for eighth. Utah State and Air Force wrap up the standings, tied for 10th with 3-12 conference records.
A NEW BEST
Junior center Deja Mason is the new all-time blocks leader at Utah State with 134 in her three seasons. Mason set the record with three blocks in the loss at Nevada, passing Nicole Johnson, who held the record of 133 since 2010.
RAKING IN THE POINTS
With her 10 points against New Mexico, junior guard Rachel Brewster broke into the all-time top-10 scoring list. She sits in 10th place with 969 career points. With one more season ahead of her, Brewster is on pace to become the 10th player in Utah State history to score at least 1,000 points.
NEED SOME MORE TIME
Last Saturday’s game at Nevada was only the second overtime game for the Aggies this season. Utah State is 0-2 in overtime games this year.
A HOMECOMING OF SORTS
Air Force has one player on its roster from the state of Utah. Senior guard Cortney Porter grew up in Ogden, where she played at Bonneville High School. She played for Salt Lake Metro, the same AAU team as Utah State redshirt sophomore guard Lindsey Jensen.
SHARE THE LOVE
In the loss at Nevada, five Utah State players scored in double figures, the second time the team has done that this season. Redshirt sophomore guard Victoria Price led the Aggies with 17 points, while junior guard Rachel Brewster and sophomore guard Olivia West added 15 points each. Sophomore guard/forward Hailey Bassett followed with 12 points and sophomore guard Eliza West tallied 10. Five Aggies reached double digits earlier this season in a win over Dixie State.
TO THE STRIPE
In the game at Nevada, the teams combined to attempt 73 free throws, the most in any game including a Mountain West team this season. The Aggies went 81.8 percent (27-of-33) at the free throw line, while the Wolf Pack shot 82.5 percent (33-of-40). Sophomore guard Olivia West made the most attempts for the Aggies (7-of-8), while T Moe was the leader for Nevada, shooting 14-for-17.
A TIME TO SHINE
Several Utah State players have seen their time in the spotlight this season, as seven different players have been the leading scorer in a game, while six have been the top rebounder. Sophomore guard Olivia West has led the Aggies in scoring in eight games, while sophomore guard/forward Shannon Dufficy has tallied the most rebounds in 19 contests.
FINDING THE FIVE
Utah State has used the same starting lineup for seven games in a row now, with that group making eight total starts together. Eliza West, Victoria Price, Rachel Brewster, Shannon Dufficy and Hailey Bassett have started every game since the Jan. 24 contest at Air Force.
BASSETT TO THE BASKET
Sophomore guard/forward Hailey Bassett has led the Aggies in scoring through conference play, averaging 10.3 points per game. Bassett has scored in double figures in eight of the 15 Mountain West games. She had the best games of her career in this season’s two games against Fresno State, scoring 22 and 18 points in each.
DISHING OUT DIMES
Sophomore guard Eliza West has tied her career high of nine assists twice this season, doing so against Nevada (Jan. 13) and Fresno State (Jan. 27). With her nine against the Bulldogs, West secured a spot on the all-time record list, as she currently ranks seventh with 246 career assists.
RANKING FROM LONG-RANGE
Junior guard Rachel Brewster and sophomore guard Olivia West both rank on the top-10 record list for 3-point field goals made and attempted. Brewster has made 93 3-pointers in her career, the third-most of any USU player. West has hit 65 shots from behind the arc, ranking 10th. Brewster has attempted 321 3-point field goals to rank fourth, while West ranks ninth in the same category with 196 attempted shots.
OFF THE GLASS
Utah State recorded 49 rebounds in the home win over Fresno State, the most the team has had in a conference game this season. The team’s season high came against Denver, when the Aggies tallied 51 rebounds. USU out-rebounded the Bulldogs by 15, its highest rebounding margin of the season.
THE WINNING TREND
Utah State’s wins have all had several statistics in common. In all five of the team’s victories, the Aggies have held the halftime lead, tallied more assists than the opposing team and shot better from the field than the opponent. Additionally, all five wins have been day games, while the team is 0-13 in games played at night.
RELYING ON THE STARTERS
Utah State’s starting five have made the most significant impact on the floor this season. The Aggie starters have played 68.3 percent (3,586) of the minutes while scoring 71.6 percent (1,086) of the points and tallying 64.3 percent (569) of the team’s rebounds.
BLOCK THEM OUT
Like she has done each year of her career, junior center Deja Mason leads the Aggies in the block column this season with 44. She now has 134 in her career, recently setting the USU all-time record. Mason tallied 38 blocks as a freshman and 52 last season. Sophomore guard/forward Hailey Bassett is second on the team in blocks with 29. Mason and Bassett rank first and second, respectively, in the Mountain West in blocks per game. Additionally, Utah State leads all conference teams in blocks, averaging 4.4 per game, and has a conference-high 115 blocks on the season. The Aggies posted a season-high eight blocks as a team in the game at Nevada.
AGAINST THE MOUNTAIN WEST
Utah State has an 87-151 all-time record against current members of the Mountain West. In their fifth year as a member of the conference, the Aggies have gone 32-47 in Mountain West play. Utah State has winning records against Air Force (8-3), Nevada (17-12) and San José State (16-10).
The 2017-18 regular season will come to a close next week. The Aggies open the final week of competition in a home game against San José State on Tuesday, Feb. 27, at 7 p.m. The team will then travel to Las Vegas to play at UNLV on Saturday, March 2, at 8 p.m. (MT), staying in town afterward for the Mountain West Championships.
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