Second-Seeded Aggie Women Face Third-Seeded Louisiana Tech in WAC Tournament Semifinals Friday
March 8, 2012
LAS VEGAS, Nev. - TIP OFF - Second-seeded Utah State women's basketball (21-8, 11-3 WAC) earns a trip to its third Western Athletic Conference Tournament semifinal in four years after a 75-66 win over seventh-seeded Nevada on Wednesday at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas. After a day off, Utah State will take on third-seeded Louisiana Tech on Friday, March 9 at 1 p.m. (MT). Top-seeded Fresno State defeated eighth-seeded New Mexico State and will face fourth-seeded Idaho after the Vandals beat fifth-seeded San Jose State.
All semifinal games will be televised live throughout the state of Utah on KMYU-TV (Comcast Ch. 12, DirecTV Ch. 12, Dish Network Ch. 12, Over-the-Air Ch. 2.2). Guy Haberman will handle play-by-play with Bob Donewald will provide color commentary.
WAC TOURNAMENT HISTORY - The Aggies are playing in their seventh WAC Tournament. Utah State is 3-6 in the tournament with an overtime win in the quarterfinals against Idaho in 2009 and a quarterfinal win over New Mexico State in 2011. USU's third win came against the Wolf Pack on March 7. Four of the six WAC Tournaments that USU has played in have been in the state of Nevada, playing three in Reno and one in Las Vegas. Utah State has the dubious distinction of having lost to the eventual champion the last three season's, losing to Fresno State in 2009 and 2011 and Louisiana Tech in 2010.
AGGIES IN THE WAC TOURNAMENT 2005-06 #8 Idaho 70, #9 USU 59 (at Reno, Nev.) 2006-07 #3 Nevada 61, #6 USU 60 (at Las Cruces, N.M.) 2007-08 #2 Boise State 61, #7 USU 47 (at Las Cruces, N.M.) 2008-09 #5 USU 59, #4 Idaho 58 (OT) (at Reno, Nev.) #1 Fresno State 57, #5 USU 54 2009-10 #2 Louisiana Tech 82, #7 USU 65 (at Reno, Nev.) 2010-11 #3 USU 72, #6 NMSU 67 (at Las Vegas, Nev.) #2 Fresno State 86, #3 USU 76 2011-12 #2 USU 75, #7 Nevada 66 (at Las Vegas, Nev.) Overall Record 3-6THE QUARTERFINAL OPPONENT - Louisiana Tech (16-14, 8-6 WAC) is 13-2 overall against Utah State in 15meetings. The third-seeded Lady Techsters advanced to the semifinals with a hard-fought, 75-66, win over sixth-seeded Hawai`i. Louisiana Tech is 21-5 in the WAC Tournament, losing to Fresno State in the championship game last season. The Lady Techsters have made it to the WAC Tournament final the last two season.
The Lady Techsters are led by Shantale Bramble-Donaldson who averages 11.3 point and 8.2 rebounds per game. Jasmine Bendolph averages 10.4 ppg and has 175 assists in 30 games this season. As a team, the Lady Techsters average 66.6 ppg, while allowing 65.4 ppg.
AGGIES VS LOUISIANA TECH IN THE WAC 2005-06 Louisiana Tech 73, USU 56 (Logan) Louisiana Tech 88, USU 54 (Ruston) 2006-07 Louisiana Tech 69, USU 54 (Ruston) Louisiana Tech 71, USU 58 (Logan) 2007-08 Louisiana Tech 71, USU 56 (Logan) Louisiana Tech 62, USU 46 (Ruston) 2008-09 Louisiana Tech 90, USU 82 (Logan) Louisiana Tech 53, USU 46 (Ruston) 2009-10 USU 69, Louisiana Tech 66 (Ruston) Louisiana Tech 74, USU 54 (Logan) Louisiana Tech 82, USU 65 (Reno, Nev. WAC Tournament) 2010-11 Louisiana Tech 91, USU 74 (Ruston) Louisiana Tech 78, USU 70 (Logan) 2011-12 USU 79, Louisiana Tech 62 (Ruston) Louisiana Tech 82, USU 76 (Logan) Total 2-13EARNING THE SECOND SEED - With the win against Hawai`i on March 1, the Aggies secured the second seed in the upcoming WAC Tournament in Las Vegas, March 7-10. The second seed is the highest in USU's seven seasons in the WAC after earning the third seed last season.
#1 Fresno State (26-5, 13-1 WAC): Fresno State is the defending WAC Tournament Champions, defeating Louisiana Tech in the title game last season in Las Vegas. WAC Player and Newcomer of the Year, Ki-Ki Moore leads the team in scoring, averaging 16.5 ppg and 7.4 rpg. She is also first on the team in steals with 91 in 31 games this season. The Bulldogs are first in the WAC in scoring offense, averaging 74.9 ppg, while allowing 62.5 ppg. Utah State was 0-2 against the Bulldogs this season.
#3 Louisiana Tech (16-14, 8-6 WAC): Shantale Bramble Donaldson leads the team in scoring, averaging 11.3 ppg. Bramble-Donaldson and Jasmine Bendolph both earned second-team all-WAC honors. The Aggies and the Lady Techsters both won games on each other's court. Utah State defeated LA Tech for the second-time in school history, 79-62, on Jan. 14. Louisiana Tech returned the favor with an, 82-76, win in Logan on Feb. 9. The Lady Techsters earned a spot in the semifinal with a 63-54 win over Hawai`i.
#4 Idaho (12-19, 6-8 WAC): Idaho has won three-straight games with wins to end the regular season against San Jose State and Hawai`i and a win against the Spartans in the WAC Tournament quarterfinals. First-team all-WAC selection Alyssa Charlston averages 14.5 ppg. Stacey Barr is second on the team in scoring averaging 10.2 ppg. USU swept Idaho for the second-straight season.
TOPS IN THE COUNTRY - Utah State moved up to first in the country in three-point field goal percentage, according to the latest NCAA statistics, released on Monday.
Utah State is now first in the nation in three-point field goal percentage (39.2 percent). The Aggies are 161-of-411 from beyond the arc. USU is also fifth in the NCAA statistics in free throw field goal percentage (78.9 percent). Delaware is first in the country (81.4 percent).
This is the first time that Utah State has led the nation in three-point shooting. It is also the highest three-point percentage in the Western Athletic Conference since Utah shot 39.2 percent during the 1994-95 season.
WAC TOURNAMENT - For the second time since 1999 the Western Athletic Championships will return to Las Vegas, Nev., where Utah State women's basketball will compete as the third seed in the four day tournament March 9-12 at the Orleans Arena. The last time the tournament was in Las Vegas, SMU defeated Colorado State 65-49 in the championship game.
AGGIES EARN POSTSEASON HONORS - Utah State women's basketball players senior forward Ashlee Brown and junior guard Devyn Christensen both earned first-team all-Western Athletic Conference honors as the league office announced its postseason honors Monday. Brown was also the WAC Defensive Player of the Year and was named to the all-Defensive team.
Brown (Chandler, Ariz.) is the first Utah State player to earn first-team all-WAC honors two-straight seasons. In 2009, current assistant coach Danyelle Snelgro was the first Aggie to be named to the first team. Brown ended WAC action sixth in the league in scoring (14.4 ppg) and fourth in assists (4.07 apg). Overall, the senior is fifth in scoring, averaging 14.8 ppg and has had 10 double-doubles this season.
Christensen (Caldwell, Idaho) is the fifth Aggie to earn all-WAC honors and the third to earn first-team accolades after Brown and Snelgro. Senior forward Amber White was named to the all-WAC second-team in 2010, while Ana Pares earned second-team honors in 2009. Christensen led the league in scoring in WAC games, averaging 20.6 points per game and along with San Jose State's Brittany Johnson are the only two players averaging over 20.0 ppg. The junior guard was also third in conference in steals, averaging 2.36 spg.
BROWN DISHES OUT CAREER-HIGH ASSISTS - Ashlee Brown dished out a game and career-best 12 assists, tying for second in school history, becoming the ninth Aggie player to distribute 12 helpers in a game. The last player to have 12 assists in a game was LaRonda Poydras in 1986 against Pepperdine. Brown has had 29 assists in the last three games for USU. The senior forward also missed a triple-double with a team-best eight rebounds. Brown's double-double was her 11th of the season, breaking last year's season-best of 10.
JOHNSON TIES CAREER HIGH - Junior Jenna Johnson tied her career high with 17 points in the WAC Tournament quarterfinal. She had previously scored 17 points on the road against Fresno State on Feb. 18. She has scored in double-figures in six fo the last seven games. HIGH IN THE 80S - USU's win against San Jose State on March 3 was the Aggies' third-straight 80-point outing and fourth in the last five, after scoring 85 in the previous two contests, moving to 7-0 when scoring more than 80 points.
RECORD-SETTING SEASON - With the win against the Spartans on March 3 to end the regular season, Utah State improved to 20-8 over to become the first Aggie women's basketball team to earn 20 wins. Last season, USU set the record for wins with 18. The Aggies now have improved to 21-8 this season.
JOHNSON EARNS FIRST DOUBLE-DOUBLE - After a scoring surge of late, junior guard Jenna Johnson topped of the regular season with her first collegiate double-double, scoring 10 points and bringing down 10 rebounds in a win against San Jose State on March 3.
KEEP THE RECORDS COMING - In addition to USU's team record setting, Ashlee Brown improved on her own marks in the Aggie record books, as she became the program's single-season record holder for free throws made, now with 158 free throws made, passing Sharon Epps' record of 148 from the 1982 season. Brown's eight rebounds against Nevada in the WAC Tournament also give her 505 for her career, moving into No. 8 on USU's career rebounds leader. Against the Wolf Pack, she became the eighth Aggie player with 500 career rebounds.
BROWN SETS CAREER RECORD FOR FREE THROWS MADE - After going a perfect 7-for-7 from the free throw line against Hawai`i on March 1, senior forward Ashlee Brown broke the Utah State career record for free throws made. With 266 free throws made in an Aggie uniform, she passes Utah State great Ali Marchant who made 262 free throws from 2003-06. Going 8-for-9 against SJSU, Brown now has 281 career free throws.
AGGIES CLIMB IN THE NCAA STATS - In the most recent NCAA Statistics (March. 1), the Aggies are up to first in the country in three-point field goal percentage (39.2 percent). The Aggies sharp shooting continues as they are 16th in the country in field goal percentage, shooting 44.1 percent. Utah State is also in the top 20 in free throw percentage, standing in fifth and shooting 78.9 percent.
Junior guard Devyn Christensen is now fourth in the nation in free throw percentage with a stellar 90.0 percentage. She is just behind Richmond's Abby Oliver who has a remarkable 94.2 free throw percentage. Senior guard Brooke Jackson 11th in the country with a free throw percentage of 88.8.
In the latest RPI the Aggies are ranked 136 which is second in the WAC behind Fresno State which is 63.
ON THE VERGE - Utah State is on the verge of several school records. USU currently has a free throw percentage of 78.9 percent. The school record is 76.0 percent in 1978. The WAC record for free throw percentage in a season is 76.8 by Hawai`i during the 1997-98 season. Last season, Devyn Christensen set the school record for free throw percentage (86.1). So far this season, she has a free throw percentage of 89.6 percent, while Brooke Jackson would also break the record as of now, shooting 88.5 percent from the charity stripe. The WAC record for free throw percentage in a season is 88.9 percent by SMU's Kim Brandl during the 1996-97 season.
LENDING A HELPING HAND - In the win against the Rainbow Wahine, Utah State came close to tying the school record for assists in a game with 27 led by 10 by Ashlee Brown. Both the 1982 and 1983 teams had 28 assists. The 10 assists by Brown was a career high and the most since Alice Coddington had 11 against Utah Valley in 2011. FREQUENT FLYERS - Utah State ended WAC road play with a 6-1 record which was its best ever since joining the league. The Aggies only loss came against first-place Fresno State on Feb. 16. Overall, the Aggies won seven-straight road games which is a Utah State record before falling to Fresno State. Last year, USU ended WAC action 4-4 in on the road. Overall, the Aggies are 9-5 on the road in 14 games. The nine road wins breaks an Aggie record as the 1975-76 team went 8-6 on the road. USU ended the 2010-11 season with a 7-8 record away from the friendly confines of the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum.
BRINGING THE DEFENSE - Utah State is 8-0 when it opponents score under 60 points or less. The Aggies have wins against Wyoming, Northern Arizona, Boise State, Asbury, Utah Valley, New Mexico State (twice) and Hawai`i. USU is 15-2 when allowing less than 69 points in a game.
RECORD SETTING AGGIES - In Utah State's win over Nevada on Jan. 21, the Aggies set a school record for field goal percentage in a game, shooting 58.6 percent from the field (34-of-58). The record was previously held by the 1982 Aggie squad that shot 58.3 percent against New Mexico State in 1982. In that game, Utah State defeated New Mexico State, 105-98.
CHRISTENSEN ENDS CONFERENCE PLAY ON TOP - Junior Devyn Christensen ended conference play, leading the WAC in scoring in league games, averaging 20.6 points. She is just ahead of San Jose State's Brittany Johnson who scores 20.1 ppg in league games. Her teammate Ashlee Brown is sixth in scoring in WAC games, averaging 14.4 ppg. Christensen is also first in free throw percentage (94.7 percent), fourth in field goal percentage (51.5 percent) and third in three point field goal percentage (44.1 percent).
HIGH SCORING AGGIES - Utah State's two meetings with Nevada have been two of the Aggies' highest scoring games of the season. USU won the first game 91-69 and took the second game 84-72. The most points that USU has scored this season was in a 97-86 win against Boise State at home on Nov. 23. Two Aggies had season highs in scoring in the win against the Wolf Pack. Devyn Christensen tied a career high with 27 points, while Jenna Johnson added a then season-high 12 points.
AGGIES IN THE WAC STATS - Devyn Christensen is now fourth in the WAC in scoring, averaging 15.4 points per game. Ashlee Brown is fifth in the league in scoring, averaging 14.8 points per game. Brown is fourth in the league in rebounding with 8.8 rpg. Senior Maddy Plunkett is first in the league in three-point shooting (47.4 percent). Devyn Christensen overtook Brooke Jackson for first place in the league in free throw percentage, shooting 89.6 percent. Brooke Jackson is now second in the WAC free throw shooting (88.5 percent.).
As a team, USU is second behind Fresno State in scoring offense, averaging 73.0 points per game. The Aggies, Louisiana Tech and the Bulldogs are the only three teams in the league with positive scoring margins with USU holding a +6.9 scoring margin. The Aggies are still first in free throw percentage (78.9). USU is still first in field goal percentage, shooting 44.3 percent this season. Utah State is also first in three-point field goal percentage, shooting 39.2 percent from beyond the arc.
AGGIES IN WAC OPENERS - Utah State is now 4-3 in WAC openers winning the last three on the road at New Mexico State in 2012 and at Louisiana Tech in 2010 and at home against Boise State in 2011. This was the first time since USU joined the league that the Aggies of Utah State faced the Aggies of New Mexico State in a league opener. Utah State is now 2-1 in WAC openers on the road.
USU IN WAC OPENERS (4-3) 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, 74-56STARTING FIVE- In 28 games this season, Utah State has used nine different lineups. Ashlee Brown is the only Aggie to have started all 28 games this season. Jennifer Schlott has started 11 out of 28 games, while Brooke Jackson has been in the starting five 12 times. The Aggies had the same starting lineup, Elise Nelson, Brown, Johnson, Devyn Christensen and Maddy Plunkett for 14-straight games. In its last game, Brown, Nelson, Christensen, Johnson and Jackson were in the starting lineup.
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 - A 9-0 second-half spurt as part of a 17-6 run and four players in double-figures sparked Utah State women's basketball to a 75-66 win over Nevada Wednesday in the quarterfinals of the Western Athletic Conference Tournament at the Orleans Arena at Las Vegas, Nev.
In making their highest seeded appearance in the WAC Tournament, the second-seeded Aggies extended their school-record win total, improving to 21-8 overall, by winning their fourth game in a row and sixth in the last seven. Nevada ended its season with a 7-23 record. It was USU's first win over Nevada in a WAC Tournament, last meeting in the 2007 first round, won by the Wolf Pack, 61-60, in Las Cruces, N.M. The Aggies also evened their record vs. the Wolf Pack all-time at 9-9 overall and 8-8 as fellow WAC foes, as Wednesday's win was USU's fifth-straight over Nevada.
Utah State advances to the semifinals of the WAC Tournament for second-straight season and its three semifinal appearances have all come in the last four years as Wednesday's win improves to 3-6 in the WAC Tournament.
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.
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.
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 263 games for the blue and white and has 110 wins as Aggie head coach, which is first ahead of Fern Gardner (55) on the all-time win list.