USU Women's Basketball Begins Season Hosting Black Hills State Saturday
Nov. 8, 2013
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - - Black Hills State at Utah State Game #1 - Nov. 9 - 7 p.m. Broadcast: KLGN 1390 AM www.UtahStateAggies.com
TIP OFF - Utah State will begin the 2013-14 women's basketball season hosting Division II's Black Hills State on Saturday, Nov. 9 at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum. Tip off for head coach Jerry Finkbeiner's second season will be 7 p.m. This is the first time since the 2010-11 season that the Aggies have began the season at home. Last season, USU began the season at Utah Valley, while the 2011-12 season started at Wyoming.
THE OPPONENT - The Yellow Jackets of Black Hills State hail from Spearfish, S.D. The Yellow Jackets have a busy schedule, taking on Colorado State in an exhibition on Nov.1, falling 72-49. Before taking on the Aggies, Black Hills State will face Idaho State in Pocatello on Friday, Nov. 8 in what will be an exhibition for the Yellow Jackets.
This is the first meeting between Utah State and Black Hills State.
SEASON OPENERS - This is the 11th season since Utah State women's basketball was re-instated for the 2003-04 season. The Aggies are 2-8 in season openers, falling to Utah Valley on the road last season, 78-62. The Aggies wins came against Wyoming to open the 2011-12 season and against Utah to begin the 2009-10 year.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR - Senior guard Jennifer Schlott had a solid outing in Utah State's only exhibition against Northwest Nazerene. Schlott led the charge for the Aggies with 29 points, nine assists, six steals and seven rebounds. Fellow senior guard Cristal Turner added 10 points off the bench. Sophomore guard Makenlee Williams added 18 points in the win over the Crusaders. Three freshmen also saw their first action in the Aggie blue and white. Guards Liz Landreth, Shelby Cloninger and Lynette Johnson got minutes in the Aggie uniform. After sitting out last season due to transfer rules, junior guard/forward Jasmine Porter made her Utah State debut against the Crusaders.
BEING SOCIAL WITH THE AGGIES - Fans can follow USU women's basketball at twitter.com/USUwbb and Utah State athletics at twitter.com/USUAthletics. This season, Aggie fans can also find out what Utah State is up to on instagram at instagram.com/USUWBasketball and on facebook at facebook.com/USUWbb.
LOOKING BACK - Utah State women's basketball ended the 2013-14 season ranked second in the final NCAA Division I statistics. The Aggies made 495-of-618 free throws this season and their 80.1 percent was also tops in the Western Athletic Conference. USU also had three of the top four free throw shooters in the conference led by senior guard Devyn Christensen who shot a league-leading 92.4 percent, which was also a WAC record. She finished the season third in the nation from the charity stripe. Christensen missed only nine of the 119 free throws she attempted this season. Junior guard Jennifer Schlott was third in the WAC, shooting 83.8 percent (134-of-169), while senior guard Jenna Johnson was fourth, shooting 82.6 percent (142-of-172). Utah State also ended the year fifth in the nation in scoring offense (76.5 ppg) and ninth in steals (12.0 ppg). Individually, Christensen was also second in three-point field goals per game, making 3.34 threes a game. Christensen was also among the nation's leaders in scorers, standing 17th with 20.1 points per game. Johnson was also 19th in the nation and third in the conference in steals per game (3.00 spg).
UP NEXT - Following its game against Black Hills State, the Aggies will remain at home for three more home games to start November. Utah State will host Loyola Marymount on Wednesday, Nov. 13. The Lions defeated the Aggies last season in Los Angeles, 98-81. USU will then prepare for an in-state battle with Utah on Tuesday, Nov. 19. Last season, the Utes defeated the Aggies in Salt Lake City, 92-64. Utah State will round out the quartet of home matches against Idaho State on Friday, Nov. 22.
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.
THE FUTURE'S SO BRIGHT - Despite losing four seniors, including program changers Jenna Johnson and Devyn Christensen, the future is bright for Utah State. The Aggies return six letterwinners and three starters from last year's squad that won 18 games. Jennifer Schlott, who started 25 games, will be a senior next season. The guard was second on the team in scoring (14.3 ppg), free throw percentage (83.8 percent) and was first in assists (4.5 apg). Makenlee Williams had a solid freshman campaign, averaging 7.2 ppg. She was third on the team in field goal percentage (47.5 percent). Franny Vaaulu is the third starter that will be back for the Aggies. Vaaulu, who will be a junior next season, was first on the team in field goal percentage (55.3 percent).
AGGIES PICKED SIXTH IN MW PRESEASON POLL - Utah State women's basketball was selected sixth in the Mountain West Women's Basketball Preseason Poll as voted on by a panel of the league's 11 head coaches and media. The poll was announced by the conference, prior to the league's media days at the conference office in Colorado Springs, Colo.
Fresno State, coached by former USU head coach Raegan Pebley, was picked to finish first in the conference with 238 points, including 17 first-place votes. The Bulldogs captured the 2013 Mountain West Tournament. Wyoming was tabbed second with 212 points, including four first-place votes, while the 2013 MW regular-season champion San Diego State was chosen third with 196 points and two first-place votes. New Mexico (185 points) and UNLV (170 points) were voted fourth and fifth, respectively with the Rebels taking the final two first-place votes. Utah State was picked sixth with 136 points, just ahead of Colorado State at seventh with 130 points. Boise State (96 points), San José State (76), Nevada (62) and Air Force round out the poll finishing eighth-11th respectively.
Wyoming junior Kayla Woodward was named the 2013-14 MW Preseason Player of the Year. Woodward, a forward, was a second-team all-Mountain West selection last season and was named to the 2013 MW all-Tournament Team. Woodward, the top returning scorer in the league, averaged 14.1 points per game in 2012-13. She is joined on the preseason team by Colorado State's Sam Martin, Fresno State's Taylor Thompson, San Diego State's Erimma Amarikwa, and San José State's Ta`Rea Cunnigan. San Diego State's Chloe Johnson was named Preseason Freshman of the Year, while San Diego State transfer Cierra Warren earned Preseason Newcomer of the Year honors.
Utah State enters its first season in the Mountain West Conference, bringing back six letterwinners from last year's squad that finished the season 18-14, finishing second in the Western Athletic Conference with a 14-4 league record. USU also advanced to the postseason for the third-straight season playing in the Women's Basketball Invitational (WBI). The Aggies will have to replace all-WAC honorees Devyn Christensen and Jenna Johnson from the starting five, but do return senior guard Jennifer Schlott, junior center Franny Vaaulu and sophomore guard Makenlee Williams from the starting lineup.
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.
LAST TIME OUT - Senior guard Jennifer Schlott netted a game-high 29 points and nearly had a quadruple double to lead Utah State women's basketball to an 81-65 exhibition win over Northwest Nazarene Tuesday night at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum.
The win was special for USU's coaching staff with several connections with NNU. Aggie head coach Jerry Finkbeiner was assistant for the Crusaders' men's team in 1984-85, including coaching the father of one of the current NNU women's players, Leslie Warwick, who scored five points to go with five rebounds Tuesday night. Finkbeiner's first women's basketball coaching position was also at NNU, as head coach in 1985-86, and Finkbeiner's father is a NNU alum. USU assistant Stu Sells attended Northwest Nazarene and lived in Boise, near NNU's location in Nampa, Idaho.
A large, spirited crowd at the Spectrum saw Schlott dish out a game-high nine assists, while snaring seven rebounds and swiping six steals. Schlott's scoring led four Aggies in double-digits, as sophomore guard Makenlee Williams posted 18 points, including the last 10 in a row of the game, while junior guard Elise Nelson notched 10 points and senior forward Cristal Turner tallied 10 points off the bench.
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. This season the Aggies will be working in conjunction with the Mountain West Digital Network to stream all home games for free.
THE NEWBIES - The Aggies will welcome seven newcomers to the team this season, including transfers Jasmine Porter and Mariah Miles. Porter is a transfer from San Diego State, while Miles comes from Oral Roberts. Elizabeth Landreth, Shelby Cloninger and Lynette Johnson are freshmen this season with the Aggies, while Ingrida Strikas and Tijana Djukic are transfers.
AROUND THE COURT - News and Notes from around the Aggie basketball court.
Utah State ended the season scoring 2,448 points in 32 games. The Aggies broke the Utah State record for points scored in a single season. The 2011-12 team knocked in 2,243 points.
USU finished 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. During 2012-13 season, the Aggies finished third in WAC play with an 14-4 conference record which was its best finish since joining the league.
Jerry Finkbeiner - Jerry Finkbeiner enters his second season as Utah State's ninth head women's basketball coach. Assistant coaches Micha Thompson and Stu Sells return for their second and third seasons, respectively. Crystal Robinson joins the team as the Aggies' third assistant coach, while Ebony Haliburton will be USU's Director of Basketball Operations.