Second-Seeded USU Women Set to Begin WAC Tournament Wednesday
March 12, 2013
LAS VEGAS - TIP OFF - Utah State women's basketball (17-12, 14-4 WAC) will begin its eighth and final Western Athletic Conference Tournament on Wednesday, March 13 at 3:30 p.m. (MT) at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas, Nev. The second-seeded Aggies will take on the winner of the game between seventh-seeded Denver (13-16, 8-10) and 10th-seeded UT Arlington (7-22, 4-14 WAC).
Utah State ended the regular season with a disappointing 80-72 loss to UTSA in San Antonio on March 9. With the loss, Seattle captured the WAC regular-season title with USU taking the second seed for the second-straight season.
CRACKING OPEN THE WAC RECORD BOOKS - With 330 points during conference play, senior guard Devyn Christensen inked her name into the WAC record books. The 330 points is tied for 10th all-time in single-season points scored in WAC games, tying her with Amy Burnett of Wyoming (1995) and Amisha Carter of Louisiana Tech (2004). Her 50 three-point field goals made is seventh all time. Nevada's Ashley Bastian set the record with 57 treys during league play in 2003. She set the WAC record with three-point field goal attempts with 154, passing Bastian's record of 144 in 2003. Christensen's 91.2 percent free throw percentage during conference games is tied for fourth with Boise State's Lauren Lenhardt in 2011.
WAC TOURNAMENT HISTORY - The Aggies are playing in their eighth and final WAC Tournament. Utah State is 3-7 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 Nevada last season. Six of the eight WAC Tournaments that USU has played in have been in the state of Nevada, playing three in Reno and three in Las Vegas. The other two tournaments in which the Aggies participated were in Las Cruces on the campus of New Mexico State. Utah State has had the dubious distinction of having lost to the eventual champion three of the last four seasons, losing to Fresno State in 2009 and 2011 and Louisiana Tech in 2010.
There will no be a repeat champion this season as Fresno State was the reigning WAC Tournament champions.
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.) #3 Louisiana Tech 73, #2 Utah State 69 (at Las Vegas, Nev.) Overall Record 3-7WHAT A DIFFERENCE A YEAR MAKES - Utah State really turned its season around when the calendar changed from 2012 to 2013. The Aggies struggled in November and December with a 5-8 record. With the turn of the calendar, USU began to heat up and has a 12-3 record in the 2013 portion of the regular season. The Aggies were a stellar 6-2 in January and 4-1 in February. USU is already 2-1 in March.
LOOKING AROUND THE LEAGUE - #1 Seattle (18-9, 15-3 WAC): Seattle captured a regular-season title in its first season in the WAC. The Redhawks hold a 2-1 series lead over Utah State. Seattle captured the first game this season in overtime, 71-68, on Jan. 3. Utah State returned the favor in Logan with a 67-62 win. SU is first in the WAC in field goal percentage (.419).
#3 Idaho (14-15, 11-7 WAC): Idaho and Utah State have an even 12-12 record against each other. The Aggies captured both game this season, including a solid, 81-50, win in Logan. The teams have met twice in the tournament with the Vandals beating the Aggies, 70-59, in 2006. USU won its first WAC Tournament game against Idaho in 2009 in overtime, 59-58.
#4 UTSA (16-13, 10-8 WAC): UTSA and Utah State had not met before the Roadrunners joined the conference this season. The teams split games this season with both teams winning at home. The Aggies won an overtime battle in Logan, to start WAC play, 79-66, while the Roadrunners ended league action with a 80-72 win in San Antonio. UTSA is first in scoring defense, allowing only 56.7 ppg.
#5 Louisiana Tech (13-16, 9-9 WAC): Louisiana Tech is 14-4 all-time against Utah State despite the fact that the Aggies swept the season series for the first time since joining the WAC for the 2005-06 season. The Lady Techsters are led by the one-two punch of Whitney Frazier (11.7 ppg) and Brittany Lewis (11.4 ppg). The Aggies are 0-2 in the tournament against the Lady Techsters.
#6 San Jose State (11-18, 8-10 WAC): San Jose State trails the all-time series with Utah State 12-5. The teams split games this year in a pair of lop-sided outings. SJSU got the better of the Aggies in San Jose, 103-80. The Aggies returned the favor in Logan, taking a 87-54 win. Ta'Rea Cunnigan is second in the WAC in scoring, averaging 20.2 ppg, while Riana Byrd is first in rebounding with 10.7 rpg.
#7 Denver (13-16, 8-10 WAC): Denver is one of five teams playing in its first WAC Tournament. Utah State is 2-0 all-time against the Pioneers with both wins coming this season. USU stopped Denver in Logan, 85-69, while the Aggies fought to a double overtime win in Denver, 92-89. The Pioneers are second in three-point field goal percentage (.322) and third in field goal percentage (.407).
#8 New Mexico State (14-15, 7-11 WAC): New Mexico State leads the all-time series with Utah State 19-16. The teams both won at home this season. The Aggies are third in the league in scoring defense, allowing only 63.7 points per game. USU is 1-0 in the tournament against NMSU.
#9 UT Arlington (10-19, 4-14 WAC): UT Arlington is 0-2 all-time against Utah State with both games being played in the Mavericks first season in the league. The Aggies won both meetings by at least 10 points. The Mavericks are fifth in the WAC in free throw percentage (.708) and sixth in blocks shots (3.24 bpg).
#10 Texas State (7-22, 4-14 WAC): Texas State is winless in three attempts against Utah State. This is the Bobcats first season in the WAC. Texas State has the league's leading scorer in Diamond Ford who averages 21.3 ppg. Ashley Ezeh is sixth in scoring, averaging 15.7 ppg.
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 212 career steals. She is just four 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.
HERE SHE GOES AGAIN - Senior guard Devyn Christensen broke yet another Utah State record. With her fifth point against Texas State on March 7, she broke the USU single-season scoring record. She now has 574 points this season. Sharon Epps set the record with 542 points in 1982. She has already set the USU record for field goals attempted in a season with 493. The previous record was 449 by Mary Danielson in 1982. Jenna Johnson is close to the single-season steal record with 89 so far this season. The record of 94 was set by Carol Garrison in 1981.
FANCY FRESHMEN - The play of freshmen Haylee Thompson and Makenlee Williams against Texas State on March 7 was a microcosm of the season as both have shown improvement throughout the season. Thompson had a career-high eight points and tied a career high with five rebounds. Williams also had a team-leading seven boards for the Aggies. Williams has started 23 of USU's 28 games this season, while Thompson has earned a start in nine games. Williams is the leader in the WAC in three-point field goal percentage at 40.5 percent.
HARD TO BEAT AT HOME - For the first time in school history, the Aggies ended conference play undefeated at home with a perfect 9-0 record. Despite a slow start losing its first two home games to Montana and UC Irvine, Utah State won the next 10 at home to finish 10-2 at the friendly confines of the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum.
AGGIES TOPS IN THE NATION - For the third-straight week, Utah State women's basketball remains in first place in the current NCAA statistics in free throw percentage, shooting 80.2 percent from the free throw line.
The Aggies have hit 451-of-562 free throws this season and their 80.2 percent is also tops in the WAC. USU also has three of the top free throw shooters in the conference led by senior guard Devyn Christensen who shoots a league-leading 92.2 percent. She is now fifth in the nation from the charity stripe. Christensen has missed only nine of the 115 free throws she has attempted this season. Junior guard Jennifer Schlott is now tied for second in the WAC, shooting 85.1 percent (120-of-141), while senior guard Jenna Johnson is fourth, shooting 82.9 percent (126-of-152).
As a team, USU is 18th in the country and second in the WAC in three-point field goals made per game (7.5).
Utah State is also seventh in the nation in scoring offense (76.7 ppg) and seventh in steals (12.7 ppg). Individually, Christensen is also sixth in three-point field goals per game, making 3.29 threes a game. Christensen is also among the nation's leaders in scorers, standing 19th with 20.1 points per game. Johnson is also 17th in the nation and second in the conference in steals per game (3.11 spg).
Freshman guard Makenlee Williams is first in the WAC in three-point field goal percentage, shooting 40.5 percent from beyond the arc, while sophomore forward Franny Vaaulu is second in the league in field goal percentage, shooting 55.1 percent.
SUPER SENIORS - This year's senior class has seen records fall during their four years as Aggies. During their four season's at Utah State, the team has had double figures in wins all four years, including a team-record 21 wins during the 2011-12 season. USU has also advanced to the Women's National Invitation Tournament (WNIT) the last two seasons. This season, the Aggies set a new school record with its 14th conference win. The Aggies set the record last season with an 11-3 WAC records. Guard Devyn Christensen set the all-time scoring record at Utah State with 1,482 points during her four years. Guard Jenna Johnson is third in career steals with 212. Despite fighting injuries during her career center Banna Diop ended her Aggie career third in blocks with 118.
PROTECTING THE HOME TURF - The Aggies and Seattle are the only two teams in the WAC that are undefeated in WAC play at home so far this season. Utah State is 9-0 in league play. The Redhawks are 8-0 with one home games remaining. Overall, Utah State is 10-2 at home this season. Last season, the Aggies were 12-3 at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum, which is a school record.
FREE BASKETBALL -With the double overtime win against Denver on Feb. 14, the Aggies have now played five overtime games this season. This was Utah State's first double overtime game since a 70-64 win against Idaho on Feb. 22, 2009 in Logan. USU improves to 4-1 in extra time. USU is 4-0 in overtime conference games this season. The five overtime games is the most since the 2008-09 squad played six overtime games. Last season, the Aggies did not have one overtime game.
BUZZER BEATERS - Utah State has had several close calls this season. The Aggies have had six games this season with one team taking the final lead with 10 seconds or less. Senior guard Devyn Christensen has had a hand in three of these games with game-winning shots against Prairie View A&M (Nov. 12), South Dakota (Dec. 20) and Denver (Feb. 14). Freshman guard Makenlee Williams added a buzzer beater to lift USU over New Mexico State on Jan. 17. Senior guard Jenna Johnson also had late-game heroics, helping the Aggies to an overtime road win over Louisiana Tech on Jan. 26. USU felt the other end of the buzzer beater against UC Irvine on Dec. 18.
WAC TO STREAM BASKETBALL TOURNAMENT FROM LAS VEGAS - The WAC will stream 16 games via the internet on WACSports.tv from the 2013 WAC Basketball Tournament at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas. The only games not shown will be the men and women's championships due to contractual obligations with ESPN. Individual tournament games may be purchased for $7.95 each. The tournament starts Tuesday, March 12, with four first round games. The women's quarterfinals will be played on Wednesday while the men's quarterfinals will be held on Thursday. Friday features two women's semifinal games and two men's semifinal games. More information and how to subscribe to any of these video streaming events can be found at www.WACSports.tv.
SCORING OVER 90 - Utah State has scored 90 or more points five times this season. The Aggies are 3-2 in those game. USU has wins over Idaho (91-85), UT Arlington (93-83) and Denver (92-89). Utah State has losses to UC Riverside (94-90) and New Mexico State (106-94).
BEST OF THE BEST - This year's senior class has had the best four-year record since Utah State's re-instatement during the 2003-04 season. Devyn Christensen, Banna Diop, Pualei Furtado and Jenna Johnson have had a four-year record of 69-54 record so far with one regular-season game remaining.
HISTORY IS MADE - Senior guard Devyn Christensen found another Utah State record to break. On her ninth point against San Jose State on Feb. 9, she became the Aggies' all-time scorer. Christensen's historic basket came off an assist from fellow senior guard Pualei Furtado, one of Furtado's three helpers on the night, and was three of Christensen's team-high 17 points. Christensen's three-pointer gave her 1,354 points, passing Jerrie McGahan (1977-80) with 1,353 points. Christensen now has 1,482 career points.
TOPS IN THE WAC - Devyn Christensen is currently third in the WAC in scoring, averaging 19.8 points per game. She is behind San Jose State's Ta'Rea Cunnigan (20.2 ppg) and Texas State's Diamond Ford (21.3 ppg). Jenna Johnson is tied for seventh, averaging 14.5 ppg, while Jennifer Schlott is eighth in scoring with 14.0 ppg. Christensen, who broke the WAC's single-season record for free throw percentage last season, is first this season, shooting 92.3 percent. She has only missed nine of the 117 free throws that she has attempted. Freshman Makenlee Williams is first in the league in three-point free throw percentage, shooting 40.7 percent from beyond the arc. Johnson is third in the conference in steals, averaging 3.07 spg, while Christensen is fifth with 2.55 spg. Jennifer Schlott is second in assists with 4.24 apg. Franny Vaaulu is second in field goal percent, shooting 54.7 percent from the field.
As a team, USU is first in free throw percent (80.2 percent). The Aggies are second in blocked shots (4.41 bpg). Utah State is still first in scoring (76.5 ppg) and second in field goal percentage (40.7 percent). Utah State is now second in steals (12.48 spg).
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 13-0 this year. In 10 of USU's 14 WAC wins this season, the Aggies have allowed under 70 points. Utah State is 4-12 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)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 12-2 when scoring more in the first half. The only games that Utah State lost when leading at half time was an overtime loss to UC Irvine on Dec. 18 and an eight-point loss to UTSA on March 9. USU was ahead 41-36 at halftime and lost in overtime, 71-70.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.