Utah State women’s basketball (6-21, 4-12 MW) closes out the 2017-18 regular season this week with a pair of Mountain West games. The Aggies will host San José State (7-20, 4-12 MW) on Tuesday, Feb. 27, at 7 p.m., before beginning their time in Las Vegas with a game at UNLV (18-9, 14-3 MW) on Friday, March 2, at 8 p.m. (MT).
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.
Tuesday’s game is the final 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.
A SENIOR-LESS SENIOR NIGHT
As the last home game, Tuesday would be the typical Senior Night celebration for the Aggies. However, Utah State does not have any seniors on its roster and will plan to return all players next season.
SCOUTING THE SPARTANS
San José State opens the final week of the season with a 7-20 record, including a 4-12 Mountain West record. The Aggies and Spartans are currently tied for 10th in the conference standings. SJSU split its week of competition last week with a 57-54 home win over Nevada and an 85-78 loss at San Diego State.
San José State returned just one starter and seven total letterwiners to the bench this season, from a team that went 11-21 overall and 7-11 in Mountain West play last year. Sophomore guard Taylor Turney leads the Spartan offense with 13.6 points per game. Just behind her, senior guard Myzhanique Ladd averages 13.0 points per game, while adding a team-high 6.9 rebounds per game. Overall, SJSU is averaging 69.0 points per game, while giving up 81.7 from its opponents. As a team, the Spartans are shooting 38.4 percent (677-of-1762) from the floor, 32.8 percent (212-of-646) from the 3-point line and 65.6 percent (297-of-453) from the free throw line. Jaime Craighead is in her fifth season as the head coach at San José State, where she has an overall record of 57-94.
With shared time in the WAC and the Mountain West, Utah State and San José State have a long-running history of competition. The Aggies lead the all-time series against the Spartans, 16-10. USU holds a dominating lead (10-2) in games played in Logan, but the Spartans lead, 7-6, in games played in San Jose. The teams opened the Mountain West season against each other in San Jose, with the Spartans earning the 79-66 win.
SCOUTING THE LADY REBELS
UNLV opens the week with an 18-9 overall record and is tied for first in the conference with a 13-3 Mountain West record. The Lady Rebels have won four-straight games, including wins at Fresno State (73-58) and against New Mexico (74-62) last week.
The Lady Rebels returned four starters to the court this season, along with six other letterwinners. Last season, UNLV went 22-11 on the year, including a 12-6 conference record. Senior forward Katie Powell is the all-around leader for the Lady Rebels, averaging 16.3 points and 9.1 rebounds per game. As a team, UNLV is averaging 68.1 points per game, while allowing 65.8 points from its opponents. Overall, the team is shooting 40.2 percent (637-of-1583) from the field, 28.2 percent (129-of-457) from the 3-point line and 72.7 percent (437-of-601) from the free throw line. Kathy Olivier is in her 10th season as the head coach at UNLV, where she has an overall record of 156-55.
The series between UNLV and Utah State dates back to the 1975 season, where the Lady Rebels lead the Aggies, 20-4. All four of USU’s wins have come in the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum. The two teams met earlier this season, a 63-54 win for the Lady Rebels in Logan.
WHERE THEY STAND
Heading into the final week of the regular season, Wyoming and UNLV are tied for first in the conference standings with 13-3 league records. Should the tie stand, the Cowgirls will earn the regular season title with the tiebreak over the Lady Rebels. Boise State holds the third-place spot at 12-4, while Colorado State and Fresno State are tied for fourth with records of 11-6. New Mexico sits in sixth with an even 8-8 conference record, followed by Nevada and San Diego State, which are tied for seventh at 5-11. Utah State and San José State are tied for 10th with 4-12 records, with Air Force rounding out the standings at 3-13-.
RIGHT ON SCHEDULE
This is the second year in a row the Aggies and Lady Rebels have met in the regular season finale. Last season, UNLV traveled to Logan to close the year, while the Aggies took the 58-49 win.
WEDDING BELLS ARE RINGING
Sophomore guard/forward Hailey Bassett made good use of the team’s bye last week, when she got engaged. Bassett will marry Wade Meacham, a Utah State football player, on May 25.
STICKING UNDER SIXTY
Utah State picked up its first win of the season when scoring fewer than 60 points last Saturday. Previously, USU had lost six contests when scoring 50-59 points. Conversely, the Aggies are 4-3 on the year when holding their opponent to 60 points or less.
A NEW BEST
Junior center Deja Mason is the new all-time blocks leader at Utah State with 136 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 981 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.
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 nine games, while sophomore guard/forward Shannon Dufficy has tallied the most rebounds in 20 contests.
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 251 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 322 3-point field goals to rank fourth, while West ranks ninth in the same category with 197 attempted shots.
BUCKING THE TREND
Prior to Saturday, Utah State’s wins all had several statistics in common, as the Aggies always held the halftime lead, tallied more assists than the opposing team and shot better from the field than the opponent. Against the Falcons, the Aggies did lead at halftime, but had a lower shooting percentage and fewer assists than Air Force. All six of USU’s wins have been day games, while the team is 0-14 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 68.5 percent (3,731) of the minutes while scoring 72.2 percent (1,136) of the points and tallying 64.8 percent (599) of the team’s rebounds.
AGAINST THE MOUNTAIN WEST
Utah State has an 88-151 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 (9-3), Nevada (17-12) and San José State (16-10).
Utah State will await the official standings and seeding announcement for the 2017-18 Mountain West Championships. Tournament play will begin on Monday, March 5, with quarterfinal games set for Tuesday, March 6. The semifinals will be played on Wednesday, March 7, with things wrapping up in the championship game on Thursday, March 8. Utah State’s seeding and first-round matchup, along with the full conference bracket, will be announced Friday night at the conclusion of the Mountain West games.
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