USU Women's Hoops Hits the Road for the Radisson Hotel Chatsworth Thanksgiving Classic
Nov. 26, 2013
LOGAN, Utah - TIP OFF - Utah State women's basketball will hit the road for the first time this season, traveling to Northridge, Calif. Nov. 29-30 for the Radisson Hotel Chatsworth Thanksgiving Classic. The Aggies open the tournament against Hampton on Friday, Nov. 29 at 6 p.m. (MT). USU will then face either host Cal State Northridge or Santa Clara on Saturday, Nov. 30.
This is the first time since the 1978-79 season that USU has begun the season 4-0. That season, the Aggies began 5-0. USU captured its first win against the Utes since the 2009-10 season.
THE OPPONENTS - Hampton and Utah State will be meeting for the first time in Northridge.The Aggies have faced both Cal State Northridge and Santa Clara.Utah State is 3-1 all-time against the host Matadors. The last time that CSUN and USU met was in 2005 when both schools were in the Big West. The schools split games that season. Santa Clara is 2-1 against Utah State, but the team's have not met since 1984 when the Broncos won 68-66.
So far this season, the Lady Pirates of Hampton are 3-1 and take on UC Santa Barbara on Nov. 26 before taking on the Aggies. Hampton has wins against Texas State, Southern Mississippi and St. Peter's and a loss against LSU. The Lady Pirates average 66.0 points per game, while allowing 57.8 ppg. Three players average in double figures led by Malia Tate-DeFreitas, who is averaging 18.0 ppg. Alyssa Bennett scores 16.8 ppg, while Nicole Hamilton scores 14.3 ppg.
Cal State Northridge is 2-3 so far this season with wins against Clemson and Georgia Southern on the road. In its last game CSUN fell to BYU, 82-66, at home. Santa Clara is 0-4 so far this season with losses to two MW teams, UNLV and San Jose´State. Curiously enough all four teams will at some point this season face off against UC Santa Barbara. The Broncos led the way with a, 67-62, loss to the Gauchos on Nov. 23. Hampton will also face UCSB before the tournament starts on Nov. 26 in Santa Barbara. The Aggies take on the Gauchos on the road on Dec. 19, while Northridge will face them twice in Big West action.
PUTTING UP THE POINTS - Senior guard Jennifer Schlott and sophomore guard Makenlee Williams are the first two players in the Mountain West to score 30 points in a game this season. Williams was the first, scoring 35 against Black Hills State on Nov. 9, while Schlott scored a conference-best 37 against Utah on Nov. 19. USU's 103 points is also the most scored in the MW this season. USU has reached triple digits twice, while San Jose´State is the only other team in the MW to reach that point when it scored 100 against San Francisco State on Nov. 8. Schlott is first in the league in scoring, averaging 24.3 points per game, while Williams is second with 23.8 ppg.
TOURNAMENT HISTORY - USU is looking for a repeat performance of the success it had at the Great Alaska Shootout. Utah State captured its first ever tournament with a 67-57 win against Alaska Anchorage in the championship game of the Carrs/Safeway Great Alaska Shootout last season. Devyn Christensen captured MVP honors with 32 points against host Alaska Anchorage. Prior to last season the Aggies' last tournament was the UTEP Thanksgiving Classic in El Paso in 2008. USU advanced to the championship game after a win against Texas State. Since the re-instatement in 2003, the Aggies are 4-8 in non-conference tournaments.
AMONG THE BEST - Jennifer Schlott's 37 points against Utah on Nov. 19 was tied for second on the single-game scoring list for Utah State. Last season, Devyn Christensen scored 37 against Idaho in the WAC Tournament. Pam Montgomery is the all-time single-game leader, scoring 38 points against Weber State in 1979.
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.
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: GREAT ALASKA SHOOTOUT - Utah State women's basketball captured its first ever tournament with a 67-57 win against Alaska Anchorage in the championship game of the Carrs/Safeway Great Alaska Shootout last year.
The Aggies used a career high, 32-points, from senior guard Devyn Christensen to earn the win. For her efforts, Christensen was named Most Valuable Player of the Great Alaska Shootout.
Sophomore forward Franny Vaaulu was also named to the all-tournament team. Vaaulu set the Great Alaska Shootout record for field goal percentage in two games, shooting 81.8 percent (9-of-11) in the two wins.
USU has now won two-straight games and improves to 2-3 this season, while the Seawolves fall to 3-2 with the loss.
Besides Christensen's 32 points, USU was aided by seven points from junior guard Jennifer Schlott. Wasilla, Alaska, native Jenna Johnson added six points and four steals in the win. Vaaulu had six points, five boards and two blocks.
WELCOME TO THE AGGIES - Several newcomers have made an immediate impact led by junior guard/forward Ingrida Strikas, who has started all four games. She is the Aggies top rebounder, averaging 7.8 rpg, which is also tied for seventh in the Mountain West. Six newcomers have played in all four games this season including, Strikas, Shelby Cloninger, Tijana Djukic, Lynette Johnson, Mariah Miles and Jasmine Porter.
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 - After playing four-straight home games at the friendly confines of the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum, USU hits the road for six-straight games. After two games at the Radisson Hotel Chatsworth Thanksgiving Classic, the Aggies travel to South Dakota on Dec. 5 and No. 10 Nebraska on Dec. 8. Utah State faces UC Santa Barbara on Dec. 19, while rounding out the road trip at BYU on Dec. 21.
SCHLOTT EARNS MW HONORS - Utah State senior guard Jennifer Schlott was named Mountain West Women's Basketball Player of the Week for the week of Nov. 18-24.
The senior is the first Utah State women's basketball player to be honored by the Mountain West. This was Schlott's second career player of the week honor as she also earned Western Athletic Conference Player of the Week in January of 2013.
She also earned the College Sports Madness Mountain West and High-Major Player of the Week.
Schlott (Mesa, Ariz.) scored in double-figures in consecutive games in leading Utah State to a 2-0 record last week with a 77-61 win against Utah and a 78-66 victory over Idaho State. Against the Utes, Schlott scored a career-high 37 points going 13-of-22 from the field and 2-for-6 from three-point range to go along with seven assists, six rebounds and two steals. Against the Bengals, she scored 20 points as she was 4-of-16 from the field, 1-of-5 from behind the arc and 11-for-14 at the free throw line. She also had five rebounds, five steals and four assists against ISU. For the week, Schlott averaged 28.5 points, 5.5 rebounds, 5.5 assists and 3.5 steals per game, while shooting 44.7 percent from the field (17-38), including 27.3 percent from three-point range (3-11) and 83.3 at the free throw line (20-24). The win against the Utes was only the third all-time for the Aggies, while the win against ISU broke a six-game losing streak against the Bengals.
The senior is currently first in the MW in scoring, averaging 24.3 points per game. Schlott is also first in assists (5.3 apg) and tied for fourth in steals (2.5 spg).
AROUND THE LEAGUE - There are still two teams left in the Mountain West that are undefeated, Utah State and Wyoming. The Cowgirls are also 4-0 to start the season and last defeated Pepperdine on Nov. 23. San Diego State and Air Force are the only two teams still searching for the win as the Aztecs are 0-4 and the Falcons are 0-3. The two new schools, USU and SJSU, have been off to a hot start as San José State is 4-2 this season.
BY THE NUMBERS - With Utah State's hot start, it is among the leaders in many Mountain West categories. USU is first in scoring offense (89.5 ppg) as well as scoring defense (57.8 ppg). The Aggies are also first in scoring margin (+31.8), as well as field goal percentage defense (29.9), blocks (6.0 bpg and steals (15.3 spg).
Individually, senior guard Jennifer Schlott is first in the MW in scoring, averaging 24.3 ppg. Sophomore guard Makenlee Williams is second, averaging 23.8 ppg. Senior guard Cristal Turner is also first in blocks with 2.8 bpg, while junior guard Elise Nelson is tied for first in the conference in steals (3.3 spg), while Schlott is first in assists (5.3 apg).
NEARING A MILESTONE - Head coach Jerry Finkbeiner is reaching a milestone in his 25th season. Finkbeiner has an overall record of 496-256 just six wins away from the 500-win mark. He is the 48th winningest active NCAA Division I coach by winning percentage .660. By victories, Finkbeiner started the season 30th.
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).
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.
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 - Three players scored in double figures as the Utah State women's basketball team improved to 4-0 with a 78-66 win over Idaho State Friday at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum.
This is the first time since the 1978-79 team started the season 5-0 that USU has won its first four games. With the loss, Idaho State falls to 2-3. The win against the Bengals halted a six-game winning streak for Idaho State. Utah State had not won a game against Idaho State since Nov. 17, 2006. Overall, ISU leads the season series 16-14.
Sophomore guard Makenlee Williams led all scorers with 24 points to go along with four rebounds. Senior guard Jennifer Schlott added 20 points, including going 11-for-14 from the free throw line. Junior guard/forward Ingrida Strikas had a season-high 15 points to go along with eight rebounds. The Aggies were out-rebounded for the first time this season, 50-42.
Idaho State was led by 22 points from Lindsey Reed. Jessica Tingey had the game's only double-double with 15 points and 12 boards. Both teams had turnover issues with ISU turning over 26 times to USU's 22.
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.