USU Women's Basketball To Face Alaska Anchorage in Championship Game of Great Alaska Shootout Wednesday
Nov. 21, 2012
Anchorage, Alaska - TIP OFF - Utah State women's basketball will play in its first championship game of Carrs/Safeway Great Alaska Shootout in Anchorage. In the first round, the Aggies escaped with a 67-66 win against Prairie View A&M on Tuesday. In the championship game, USU will take on the host Alaska Anchorage after the Seawolves defeated North Dakota State, 73-47. This is not the Aggies first appearance in the Great Alaska Shootout, playing in the 1982 edition. The last time USU played in the Great Alaska Shootout was in 1986 when the Aggies lost to UAA, San Diego and USC. The game on KLGN (1390 AM) will be tape delayed due to Sky View basketball. It is set to begin sometime after 8 p.m. (MT).
ALASKA - THE FINAL FRONTIER - The Aggies headed to the Final Frontier for the Great Alaska Shootout. USU defeated Prairie View A&M on Tuesday, Nov. 20, 67-66. The Aggies will now face host Alaska-Anchorage on Wednesday, Nov. 21 at 7 p.m. (MT). In the third place game, North Dakota State will take on Prairie View A&M at 4:30 p.m. (MT). There are eight men's teams taking part in the Great Alaska Shootout, including Oral Roberts, Coach Finkbeiner's former school. Alaska is a two-hour time difference compared to the Mountain time zone and a four-hour difference to the Eastern time zone. Senior guard Jenna Johnson is playing in her home state for the first time in her collegiate career.
ONLINE: Fans can find live stats for all four games online at GoSeawolves.com/Shootout.
ALASKA ANCHORAGE - The Seawolves hold a 3-2 series record against the Aggies. UAA has won the last two games with the last match up being an 81-62 win in 1986. The two team also played in the first round of the Shootout in 1982, with USU winning, 81-66. The first meeting between the Seawolves and the Aggies on Dec. 18, 1979 when the Aggies won, 75-55.
UAA was ranked No. 22 in the Division II preseason poll and are 3-1 so far this season. The Seawolves dropped the season opened to Colorado School of Mines. UAA has recovered with back-to-back wins against Regis and a win against North Dakota State.
Sasha King leads the team offensively, averaging 17.0 points per game with a team-high 13 steals on the defensive end of the floor. King is one of five players who average in double figures for UAA. The Seawolves set Alaska Shootout records with 14 three pointers in the win against the Bison on Tuesday.
HOME SWEET HOME - Senior guard Jenna Johnson, a native of Wasilla, Alaska, got the opportunity to play in front of friends and family at the Great Alaska Shootout, playing in her home state in the first time in her collegiate career. Johnson played at Sullivan Arena where she played in state championship as a senior in high school.
FAREWELL - USU enters 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. Last season, the Aggies finished third in WAC play with an 11-3 conference record which was its best finish since joining the league.
BEING SOCIAL WITH THE AGGIES - Fans can follow USU women's basketball at http://twitter.com/USUwbb and Utah State athletics at http://twitter.com/USUAthletics. Fans can follow along with the games and keep up with what the Aggies are up to.
SEASON OPENERS - This is the 10th season since Utah State women's basketball was re-instated for the 2003-04 season. The Aggies are 2-8 in season openers after a 78-62 loss to Utah Valley on Nov. 12. Last season, USU started the season with a win last season at Wyoming, 62-56. USU's other season opening win came to begin the 2009-10 season against in-state rival Utah in Logan, 67-58.
TOPS IN THE WAC - Devyn Christensen is tied for first in the WAC scoring, averaging 23.0 points per game. She is tied with San Jose State's Ta'Rea Cunnigan. Franny Vaaulu is sixth in scoring, averaging 17.0 ppg, while Jenna Johnson is tied for ninth with 14.0 ppg. Vaaulu is also first in field goal percentage, shooting 66.7 percent. Christensen is the league's leader in steals per game, averaging 5.33.Johnson is sixth with 3.00 spg.
FREAKY FRANNY - In the tough overtime loss to UC Riverside on Nov. 15, sophomore forward Franny Vaaulu had a breakout game for the Aggies. The Los Angeles native scored a team-high 24 points and added 10 rebounds for her first double-double of her USU career. She also played a career-high 34 minutes. Playing in front of a lot of family in the Golden State, Vaaulu banked in a three in the waning seconds that sent the game to regulation.
PILING UP THE MINUTES - Two different players have averaged over 30 minutes a game in Utah State's four games this season. Senior guard Devyn Christensen leads the way, averaging 39.2 minutes per game, while fellow senior guard Jenna Johnson has been playing 36.2 mpg. Sophomore forward Franny Vaaulu, averages 27.5 mpg.
ROAD WARRIORS - For the second-straight season, Utah State started the season on the road after defeating Wyoming last season. This year, the Aggies have a treacherous road schedule to begin the season. USU will play its first six games on the road this season, including playing two games at the Great Alaska Shootout in Anchorage, Alaska. After returning home for one home game on Dec. 1 against Montana State, the Aggies will hit the road again to face two of its toughest games of the season at BYU and at Notre Dame. The fighting Irish were the national runners-up and are ranked No. 6 in the ESPN/USA Today Preseason Coaches' Poll.
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.
SILVER ANNIVERSARY - The 2012-13 season marks the 25th year of women's basketball at USU, and just the 10th since the program was restarted prior to the 2003-04 season. The women's hoops program at USU had been disbanded following the 1987 season due to budget cuts. USU is playing in its eighth season in the WAC after playing its first two seasons in the Big West Conference.
AGGIES IN THE PRESEASON POLLS - Utah State women's basketball was selected first in both the Western Athletic Conference coaches' poll media poll. This is the first time that the Aggies have ever been picked first in a preseason poll. Last season, USU was second in the coaches' poll and third in the media poll. In 2010-11, the Aggies were picked seventh in both the coaches' and the media poll.
Senior guard Devyn Christensen became the second-straight Utah State women's basketball player to earn WAC Preseason Player of the Year honors when she was awarded the honor by both the coaches and the media. Last season, forward Ashlee Brown was named preseason all-WAC. Last season, Christensen was named to the second-team in the coaches' poll.
The league will have a new champion as Fresno State captured the regular season and tournament titles. The Aggies received 78 points in the WAC coaches' poll, including seven of the 10 first-place votes. Louisiana Tech was a close second with 75 points and the three remaining first-place votes. In its first season in the WAC, Denver was picked third with 55 points, while fellow newcomer Seattle U was fourth with 48 points. Idaho was just behind Seattle U in fifth place with 47 points. Texas State, another new team to the WAC, is sixth with 41 points, while San Jose State. Rounding out the coaches' poll is New Mexico State in eighth (27), and newcomers UTSA (26) and UT Arlington (17) in ninth and 10th, respectively.
In the media poll, Utah State was voted first with 165 points, including nine first-place votes. Louisiana Tech was also second in the media poll with 145 overall points and four first-place votes. Six different teams earned at least one first-place points.
LAST TIME OUT - With eight seconds left on the clock, senior guard Devyn Christensen drained a three to give Utah State women's basketball its first win of the season 67-66 at Sullivan Arena at the Carrs/Safeway Great Alaska Shootout.
The Lady Panthers took a three-point lead with 51 seconds remaining in the second half after a Latia Williams lay up. On the next possession, Christensen hit a three to tie the score for the third time with 33 clicks of the clock left. Williams hit another jumper to put PVAMU back up by two 66-64 with 20 seconds left. Christensen had the last word with her career-high sixth trey of the game to seal the win.
The win was the first of the season for the Aggies (1-3), and the first Utah State win for head coach Jerry Finkbeiner. Prairie View A&M was also in search of its first win of the season and falls to 0-3 with the loss.
Christensen led all scorers with 24 points, while also adding a career-high eight assists. Wasilla, Alaska, native, Jenna Johnson scored 10 points in her return to Sullivan Arena and added seven rebounds and five assists. Freshman guard Stephanie Bairstow was also big on the boards with eight, as USU out-rebounded its first opponent of the season.
ALL-WAC HONOREES - Last season, senior Ashlee Brown and junior guard Devyn Christensen both earned first-team all-WAC honors and Brown was also the WAC Defensive Player of the Year and was named to the all-Defensive team. Brown was the first Utah State player to earn first-team all-WAC honors two-straight seasons. In 2009, Danyelle Snelgro was the first Aggie to be named to the first team. Brown ended WAC action sixth in the league in scoring (14.4 ppg) and fourth in assists (4.07 apg). Christensen was the fifth Aggie to earn all-WAC honors and the third to earn first-team accolades after Brown and Snelgro. Senior forward Amber White was named to the all-WAC second-team in 2010, while Ana Pares earned second-team honors in 2009. Christensen led the league in scoring in WAC games, averaging 20.6 points per game and along with San Jose State's Brittany Johnson are the only two players averaging over 20.0 ppg.
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.
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.
THE NEWBIES - This season, Utah State welcomes nine newcomers, including four transfers, Kelsey Corcoran (Winthrop), Mariah Miles (Oral Roberts), Jasmine Porter (San Diego State) and Kali Roche (Utah Valley) that will have to sit out the 2012-13 season. Freshmen Makenlee Williams, Haylee Thompson, Stephanie Bairstow, junior Tanja Steed and senior Cristal Turner also join the Aggies this season and will be eligible to play in 2012-13.
AROUND THE COURT - News and Notes from around the Aggie basketball court.
Christensen led the league in scoring in WAC games, averaging 20.6 points. She also set the Utah State single-season free throw percentage record (86.1).
Utah State ranked third in the nation in free throw percentage (79.6), fourth in three-point field goal percentage (38.4), 19th in field goal percentage (43.6), 21st in scoring (72.4) and 23rd in
Utah State welcomes nine newcomers, including four transfers that will have to sit out the 2012-13 season. Freshmen Makenlee Williams, Haylee Thompson and Stephanie Bairstow, junior Tanja Steed and senior Cristal Turner also join the Aggies this season and will be eligible to play in 2012-13.
Jerry Finkbeiner - Jerry Finkbeiner took the reigns as Utah State's ninth head women's basketball coach. Finkebeiner added assistant coaches Micha Thompspon and Robert Donaldson. Stu Sells enters his second season as an assistant at Utah State.