Nov. 18, 2013
LOGAN, Utah - TIP OFF - Utah State continues its four-game homestand on Tuesday, Nov. 19 against in-state rivals Utah. The Aggies have won their first two games of the season with wins against Black Hills State and Loyola Marymount. For the first time since the 1979 season USU has scored 100 points in back-to-back games. That season USU back-to-back games against BYU and Weber State, respectively. That season, the Aggies scored 100 points three times.
THE OPPONENT - Utah holds a commanding 31-2 record against Utah State. Last season the Aggies and the Utes met in Salt Lake City, Utah stopped USU 92-64 behind a dominating performance from the Utes Michelle Plouffe, who scored 19 points to go along with seven rebounds. Utah out-rebounded Utah State 43-25 last season.
The last time that the Aggies defeated the Utes was to open the 2009-10 season when USU captured the, 67-58, victory. Utah State was led by Amber White's 25 points. So far this season, the Utes are 1-1 with a win against Denver and a loss to No. 15 Nebraska. Plouffe leads Utah in the first two games, averaging 21.0 points and 10.5 rebounds per game.
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.
POUNDING THE BOARDS - After two games so far this season, Utah State has out-rebounded its opponents, 117-95. Last season, the Aggies were out-rebounded 23 times, going 9-14 in those games. USU was 8-0 when it did out-rebounded its opponents last season. In its two games this season, Utah State has a +11.0 rebounds margin. Sophomore guard/forward Stephanie Bairstow leads the team with 8.0 rebounds per game after bringing down a career-high against LMU on Nov. 13.
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.
ON THE INTERNET - All of Utah State's home games are available to watch live through the Aggie Digital Network 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.
UP NEXT - 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. This is the second-straight season that the Aggies have played in a tournament after winning the Great Alaska Shootout last season in Anchorage, Alaska.
ONE YEAR LATER- USU's 2-0 start is a vast improvement over last season's rough 0-3 start to the season. The Aggies began the 2012-13 season with road losses to Utah Valley, UC Riverside and Loyola Marymount, before capturing its first win against Prairie View A&M at the Great Alaska Shootout on Nov. 20. The Aggies haven't started a season 3-0 since the 1978-79 season when they won their first five games.
AROUND THE LEAGUE - There are two teams left in the Mountain West that are undefeated, Utah State and Wyoming. The Cowgirls are 3-0 to start the season and last defeated Montana State on Nov. 15. San Diego State and Air Force are the only two teams still searching for the win as the Aztecs are 0-2 and the Falcons are 0-3. The two new schools, USU and SJSU, have been off to a hot start as San José State started the season 2-0 before losing to UC Riverside on Nov. 15, while the Aggies are 2-0.
BY THE NUMBERS - With Utah State's hot offensive start, it is among the leaders in many Mountain West categories. USU is first in scoring offense (101.5 ppg) as well as scoring defense (52.0 ppg). The Aggies are also first in scoring margin (+49.5), as well as field goal percentage defense (.257), blocks (8.5 bpg), steals (18.5 spg) and assists (19.0 apg). Individually, sophomore guard Makenlee Williams is first in the MW in scoring, averaging 27.0 ppg. Senior guard Jennifer Schlott is fifth, averaging 20.0 ppg. Senior guard Cristal Turner is also first in blocks with 5.0 bpg, while junior guard Elise Nelson is first in the conference in steals ( 5.0 spg) and assists (5.5 apg).
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 494-256 just six wins away from the 500-win mark. He is the 48th winningest active NCAA Division I coach by winning percentage .659. By victories, Finkbeiner started the season 30th. With the win against Loyola Marymount, Finkbeiner is alone in 29th in victories by active coaches just passing 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 UTAH -Utah State women's basketball had its two-game winning streak come to an end after a 92-64 loss to Utah at the Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City last year.
The Aggies ran into the lethal one-two punch of Michelle Plouffe and Taryn Wicijowski who scored 40 of Utah's 92 total points.
With the loss the Aggies fall to 2-4, heading into their first home game of the season. Utah remains unblemished with a 6-0 record.
Senior guard Devyn Christensen recovered from a tough first half scoring only two points to score 18 for the game to go along with three rebounds and two assists. Fellow senior guard Jenna Johnson added 12 points and four boards for the Aggies.
Utah's Wicijowski led all scorers with 21 points. She was one of four players for the Utes in double figures. Plouffe added 19 points and seven rebounds to go along with four assists. The Utes ended the game with 27 assists and out-rebounded the Aggies 43-25.
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 - For the first time since the 1978-79 season, Utah State women's basketball has scored 100 points in back-to-back games, as the Aggies got career nights from several different players for a 100-58 win over Loyola Marymount, Wednesday night at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum.
The win improved USU to 2-0 for the first time since the 2009-10 season and just the fourth time in school history since 1974-75. Wednesday's win also avenged a 98-81 loss to LMU last season in Los Angeles, Calif. The Lions are now 0-2 on the year.
Senior guard Cristal Turner came off the bench to net four three-pointers on the way to a career-high 14 points, while junior guard/forward Jasmine Porter also posted a career-high with 12 points, her first time in double-digits. Stephanie Bairstow, a sophomore guard/forward, pulled down a career-best 13 rebounds, while junior guard Elise Nelson swiped a career-high eight steals, tying for seventh in school history for single-game steals.
Taylor Anderson had the game's only double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds for the Lions. Emily Ben-Jumbo added 12 points and nine boards.
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.
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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