2016-17 End of Season Notes
tah State women’s basketball ended the 2016-17 season with a 17-15 overall record, while going 9-9 in Mountain West play.
April 19, 2017

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Utah State women’s basketball ended the 2016-17 season with a 17-15 overall record, while going 9-9 in Mountain West play. The Aggies finished sixth in the conference standings, their highest position since joining the conference. Utah State ended the season in a loss at Idaho in the Women’s Basketball Invitational.

Utah State was one of five Mountain West teams to participate in a postseason tournament. As the winners of the conference championship tournament, Boise State earned the league’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament, where they fell to No. 14/15 UCLA in the first round. Colorado State, UNLV and Wyoming all played in the Women’s National Invitation Tournament. UNLV dropped its first-round game to Colorado. Wyoming and Colorado State opened the tournament with wins over Seattle and Saint Mary’s, respectively. However, both fell in the second round. Wyoming lost an overtime decision against Washington State, while Colorado State fell to UC Davis. Both games were decided by one point.

This season was the sixth time in program history that Utah State participated in a postseason tournament. All-time, the Aggies are now 2-8 in games played in the postseason, having lost to Idaho, 64-57, in the first round of the Women’s Basketball Invitational. This WBI appearance marked USU’s return to the tournament, as the team also participated at the conclusion of the 2012-13 season. That year, Utah State hosted South Dakota, with the Coyotes claiming a 77-69 win. The Aggies made three-straight postseason appearances spanning the 2010-13 seasons. Utah State’s last postseason victory came in the 1974-75 season. The Aggies played in the AIAW Regionals, posting wins over Arizona (72-51) and Colorado State (61-45).

Yesterday, the Utah State athletic department announced a three-year contract extension for head coach Jerry Finkbeiner. Finkbeiner became the eighth head coach for the women’s basketball program on April 26, 2012. In his first five seasons with the Aggies, he has posted a 72-84 record, including a 44-46 conference record, adding to his 546-326 overall mark in 28 years as a head coach. Additionally, Utah State has notched a 5-5 record in postseason play under Finkbeiner. In all, Finkbeiner is USU’s second-longest tenured head women’s basketball coach and second-winningest coach in school history, trailing only Raegan Pebley, who notched 110 victories in nine seasons (2004-12) with the Aggies.

Utah State will lose two players from this year’s roster to graduation. Forwards Antoina Robinson and Angelica de Paulo both concluded their collegiate careers this year after transferring to USU from New Mexico Junior College. Robinson played in 31 games this season, making 12 starts. She played a key role in the Aggie defense, while averaging 5.0 points and 3.9 rebounds per game. However, de Paulo’s time was more limited, as she made three appearances before suffering a season-ending injury.

The USU coaching staff has added two players to the roster for the 2017-18 season. The daughter of two Aggie greats, Taylor Franson, is a small forward that comes to Logan from American Fork (Utah) High School. As a senior, she helped her team to the Utah 5A state title, while averaging 10.0 points and 7.4 rebounds per game. Franson’s father, Eric, played basketball at Utah State, while her mother, Jenny, was a track & field athlete.

Emmie Harris joins the Aggies from Boyle County High School in Danville, Ky. As a senior, she averaged 26.3 points and 4.3 rebounds per game, while shooting 47.6 percent from the floor. She is a finalist for the Miss Kentucky Basketball award. Harris is a three-sport all-state honoree, and holds the state title in two track & field events.

Utah State finished the 2016-17 season with a 17-15 overall record. This is the Aggies’ best finish and first winning season since the 2012-13 campaign, when the team went 18-14. Head coach Jerry Finkbeiner will post the second-best record of his tenure at Utah State. After making his debut at 18-14 his first season at the helm, the Aggies went 15-16 in 2013-14, 8-23 in the 2014-15 campaign and 14-17 a year ago.

Going 9-9 in Mountain West play, Utah State posted its best conference record and the most league wins since joining the MW in the 2013-14 season. The nine conference wins are the most recorded by the Aggies since 2012-13, when the team went 14-4 in its final season in the Western Athletic Conference.

Utah State was 9-0 this season when holding its opponents to fewer than 50 points. Conversely, the Aggies are 1-5 on the season when scoring fewer than 50 points. On the year, Utah State is 11-2 when scoring 60 points or more, while the team is 3-13 when allowing the opposing team to score in that same range.

This season, Utah State posted a 12-4 record in the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum, including the last five straight games. The 12 wins set a new home-win record, topping the previous Spectrum record set by the 2011-12 squad that went 11-3 in the Spectrum. Aggie teams have won double-digit home games just four times in program history. All-time, Utah State is 167-158 in home games.

Utah State ended the Mountain West season with an even 9-9 record. To go with the split record, the Aggies split the season series with five conference opponents during league play. Utah State went 1-1 against Air Force, Boise State, Colorado State, San Diego State and UNLV. The Aggies played single games against Fresno State and San José State, winning both. Utah State had one season sweep in conference play, posting a pair of wins over Nevada. Conversely, the Aggies were swept by Wyoming and New Mexico.

Utah State guard Eliza West was named the 2016-17 Mountain West Freshman of the Year, while sophomore guard Rachel Brewster and freshman forward Shannon Dufficy also earned all-conference accolades. Brewster earned honorable mention all-Mountain West honors. Dufficy was named to the all-freshman team, along with West. The three all-conference honorees are the most Utah State has had in a season since the 2012-13 campaign. It is also the most USU players to receive postseason honors since the team joined the Mountain West.

Utah State utilized 11 different starting lineups this season. The group including freshman guard Eliza West, sophomore guard Rachel Brewster, freshman guard Jessie Geer, freshman forward Shannon Dufficy and sophomore center Deja Mason have seen the most starts together, with seven. Utah State went 5-2 with that starting five. Brewster was the only Aggie players to start all 29 games of the year, while Dufficy started all 30 games she has played in. All but three players made at least one start on the year. Along with the freshmen Aggies, sophomore guard Lizzy Klinker made the first starts of her career, starting the final seven games of the year.



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