Aug 16, 2013
LOGAN, Utah - Utah State women's basketball head coach Jerry Finkbeiner announced the 2013-14 schedule Friday with the regular season beginning at home against Black Hills State on Nov. 9. After two-straight seasons beginning on the road, USU will open play at the friendly confines of the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum. The Aggies will play 13 regular-season home games this season, including nine conference games as USU enters its first season in the Mountain West Conference.
The Aggies will play at least seven teams that reached either the NCAA Tournament, the Women's National Invitation Tournament (WNIT) or the Women's Basketball Invitational (WBI) in 2012-13, including new Mountain West rival, Fresno State, which reached the NCAA Tournament. Five Utah State opponents reached the WNIT, including in-state rivals Utah and BYU. Idaho State, UC Santa Barbara and San Diego State also played in the WNIT. South Dakota defeated USU in the first round of the WBI last year.
"The late summer release of the schedule just creates excitement for our staff and our players. We can begin to visualize the challenges that are out in front of us. This year's schedule is probably no different than others that we have had other than the quality of our home opponents goes way up. Our fans here in Cache Valley will get to see a very good level of women's basketball throughout the season," Finkbeiner said.
After playing its first six games away from the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum last season, Utah State will play its first five games at home this season, including an exhibition against the College of Idaho on Oct. 30. After the regular-season opener against Black Hills State, USU hosts Loyola Marymount on Nov. 13 and Utah on Nov. 19. The Aggies will close out the longest homestand of the season against border-foe Idaho State on Nov. 22.
Utah State will hit the road for the Cal State Northridge Thanksgiving Tournament Nov. 29-30. This will be the second-straight season that USU will play at a tournament after winning the Great Alaska Shootout last year.
The Aggies will spend the month of December on the road, beginning with a familiar foe in South Dakota at Vermillion, S.D. on Dec. 5. Last season, the Aggies and the Coyotes split games both of which were in Logan. USU will then play Nebraska for the first time in Lincoln on Dec. 8. USU remains on the road, heading to the Golden State for the second time to face UC Santa Barbara on Dec. 19. Utah State ends the long road trip at in-state rival BYU on Dec. 21, before breaking for the holidays.
"The non-conference schedule is a good one for us. Our first four regular-season games are at home, which is nice. Opposed to last year, the first one out of 10 were at home. It is a good home schedule. It is a schedule that we can create momentum with," Finkbeiner added.
After eight seasons in the Western Athletic Conference, Utah State makes the move to the Mountain West, beginning at home against Air Force on New Year's Day. The Aggies and the Falcons have not met since 2005. In the MW, USU will play an 18-game schedule, and will play the bulk of its games on Wednesdays and Saturdays.
The Aggies' first MW road game will be at a familiar foe, facing former WAC rival, San Jose State on Jan. 4. Utah State will then play the next three of four games in Logan, hosting Nevada (Jan. 11), Boise State (Jan. 18) and UNLV (Jan. 22) and traveling to Colorado State (Jan. 15).
USU travels to defending MW Champion, San Diego State, on Jan. 25 and ends the month at New Mexico on Jan. 29. The blue and white begin the month of February with Wyoming in Logan on Feb. 1. USU begins the second half of conference play with two-straight road games at Nevada (Feb. 5) and Boise State (Feb. 8), before returning home to take on the Rams of CSU again on Feb. 12.
Utah State will then travel to UNLV on Feb. 15 before hosting San Diego State on Feb. 19. On Feb. 22, the Aggies will host former WAC foe and last year's MW Tournament Champion Fresno State on Feb. 22. USU will round out the regular season with home games against New Mexico (Feb. 26) and San Jose State (March 1), before ending the regular season on March 4 at Wyoming.
The Aggies will take on every team twice except for Fresno State and Air Force. The Bulldogs are coached by former USU head coach, Raegan Pebley, who is the Aggies' all-time winningest coach.
The Mountain West Tournament will once again be held in Las Vegas from March 10-15. All 11 MW teams advance to the tournament.
"With the Mountain West schedule, we have new opponents and new destinations. I think that will be good for our kids and coaches because the newness will provide X amount of energy and the unknown to keep us on our toes. It is a good and challenging schedule. As our fans will see it will be a one up as far as level of competition," Finkbeiner added.
Utah State brings back six letterwinners from last year's squad that finished the season 18-14, finishing second in the WAC with a 14-4 league record. USU also advanced to the postseason for the second-straight season playing in the WBI. The Aggies will have to replace all-WAC honorees Devyn Christensen and Jenna Johnson from the starting five, but do return senior Jennifer Schlott, junior Franny Vaaulu and sophomore Makenlee Williams from the starting lineup.
Aggie basketball tickets will be available by contacting 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 athletics web site at www.UtahStateAggies.com.
Fans can follow USU women's basketball at http://twitter.com/UtahStateWBB and Utah State athletics at http://twitter.com/USUAthletics.
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