Nov. 12, 2013
LOGAN, Utah - TIP OFF - After opening the 2013-14 season with a win against Black Hills State, the Utah State women's basketball team continues its four-game homestand against Loyola Marymount on Wednesday, Nov. 13 at 7 p.m. at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum. In their season opener, the Aggies defeated Division II's Black Hills State, 103-46 on Nov. 9.
After opening the 2013-14 season with a win against Black Hills State, the Utah State women's basketball team continues its four-game homestand against Loyola Marymount on Wednesday, Nov. 13 at 7 p.m. at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum.
THE OPPONENT - This is the second-straight season that Loyola Marymount and Utah State have faced each other. Last season, the Lions captured a convincing, 98-81, win in Los Angeles, Calif. Junior forward Franny Vaaulu scored 18 points, playing in her home city. Three different Lions ended the game scoring in double figures. LMU started the season with a 69-65 loss against the Aggies' Mountain West rival New Mexico on Nov. 9 in Albuquerque. Hazel Ramirez led the team with 18 points, while Deanna Johnson added 14 points in the loss.
Overall, the Aggies and the Lions are 1-1 against each other. USU earned its only win against LMU in 1985 with a 73-61 victory in Los Angeles. This is the first meeting in Logan.
SEASON OPENERS - This was the 11th season since Utah State women's basketball was re-instated for the 2003-04 season. The Aggies are 3-8 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 and finally the win against Black Hills State, 103-46 this season.
FRIENDLY CONFINES - The Aggies are enjoying practice time at the friendly confines of the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum which is a change from last season. Last year, Utah State played its first six games on the road and its first eight of nine away from Logan. This year, USU plays its first four at home before heading out on a six-game road trip.
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.
UP NEXT - Utah State remains home for two more games following the match-up with LMU. The Aggies will host in-state rival Utah on Nov. 19 and border-foe Idaho State on Nov. 22. USU first road game will be on Nov. 29 at the Radisson Hotel Chatsworth Thanksgiving Classic. Utah State begins the tournament against Hampton on Nov. 29.
LOOKING BACK - Utah State women's basketball ended the 2012-13 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).
NEARING A MILESTONE - Head coach Jerry Finkbeiner is reaching a milestone in his 25th season. Finkbeiner has an overall record of 493-256 just seven wins away from the 500-win mark. He is the 48th winningest active NCAA Division I coach by winning percentage .658. By victories, Finkbeiner started the season 30th. With the win against Black Hills State, Finkbeiner is tied for 29th in victories by active coaches with Tennessee State's Larry Inman.
TURNER TURNS IT ON - In the season opener against Black Hills State, senior guard Cristal Turner tied the Utah State record with eight blocks. She tied Banna Diop in 2011 and Jill Swainston in 1987. She is also tied for fourth in the Mountain West record books with New Mexico's Jordan Adams in 2002 tied for first senior blocks.
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.
LAST TIME AGAINST LMU - Despite a career-high 31 points from senior guard Devyn Christensen, the Utah State women's basketball was stopped by Loyola Marymount, 98-81, at the Gersten Pavillion in Los Angeles.
With the loss, Utah State falls to 0-3 this season. This is the second-time in the last three years that the Aggies have started the season 0-3. During the 2010-11 season, USU began the season 0-4 and ended with an 18-15 record.
Besides the 31 points from Christensen, sophomore forward Franny Vaaulu scored in double figures for the second-straight game with 18 points. Senior guard Jenna Johnson added 12 points and was the Aggies' top rebounder with nine boards. Eight of the 10 players that played for USU scored at least two points.
LMU also had three players in double figures in scoring with Alex Cowling leading the pack with 24 points. Mackenzie Keirns had a double-double with 19 points and 13 rebounds. Hazel Ramirez was solid for LMU with a double-double of her own with 15 points and 12 assists.
WILLIAMS EARNS HONOR - Utah State sophomore guard Makenlee Williams was named College Sports Madness Mountain West Women's Basketball Player of the Week for the week ending Nov. 10.
College Sports Madness identifies the players who have made the greatest impact to their team from each conference and on a national basis each Monday.
Williams (Syracuse, Utah) scored a career-high 35 points to lead Utah State to a 103-46 season-opening home win against Black Hill State last weekend. Against the Yellow Jackets, Williams was 13-of-19 from the field (.684), 2-of-5 from three-point range (.400) and 7-for-7 at the free throw line, while adding six rebounds and four steals. Overall, the 35 points scored by Williams is the fourth-most in a single-game in school history.
The sophomore almost broke previous her career high of 21 in the first half against the Yellow Jackets with 19 points in the first 20 minutes. It was also the first 30-point game in the Mountain West this season.
Iowa guard Samantha Logic was named College Sports Madness National Player of the Week, while Saint Mary's guard Jackie Nared earned High-Major Player of the Week honors. Central Arkansas center Courtney Duever was named Mid-Major Player of the Week.
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 the Aggie Digital Netwrok 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.
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