USU Women's Basketball Ready For Home Opener Against Montana State Saturday
Nov. 30, 2012
LOGAN, Utah - TIP OFF - Utah State women's basketball looks to get back into the winning column after having its two-game winning stopped by a tough Utah team, 92-64, on Tuesday. After six-straight road games, the Aggies finally return to the friendly confines of the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum for its first home game of the season against Montana State on Saturday for a 2 p.m. matinee. This is the second-straight season that the Aggies (2-4) and the Bobcats (4-1) have met. Utah State is 3-6 since the re-instatement in home openers.
THE OPPONENT - Former Utah State assistant coach Tricia Binford returns to Logan. Overall, Montana State holds a 9-2 record against Utah State. In Binford's seven years at the helm, the Bobcats are 3-0 against the Aggies. Binford has won two games at her old stomping grounds and won one game in at her current home.Montana State defeated USU two years in a row with wins in 2006 in Bozeman (71-53) and a win in Logan (71-49) in 2007. Last season, the Bobcats earned a 78-61 win in Bozeman last season.
The Bobcats are off to a fast start this season with a 4-1 record after an 81-49 win against UM-Western on Thursday. In that game, the Bobcats were led by 12 points from Lindsay Stockton, Rachel Semansky and Jasmine Hommes. Kalli Durham is the overall leading scorer, averaging 13.8 ppg, while Semansky is just behind with 13.4 ppg. The Bobcats have a tough defense, allowing only 56.0 ppg, while scoring 68.0 ppg.
CHRISTENSEN REACHES LANDMARK - In the game against PVAMU, Devyn Christensen became the seventh Aggie to break the 1,000-point plateau. She now has 1,051 points in her Utah State career, which places her third on the all-time scoring list. Utah State's all-time leader in scoring is Jerrie McGaham (1977-80) who scored 1,353 points as an Aggie. The last two to reach this plateau were Danyelle Snelgro (2006-09) with 1,043 and Taylor Richards (2005-08) with 1,138 points.
FORMIDABLE FRESHMAN - The Aggies currently have two freshmen in the starting lineup who are making an impact early in the season. Freshman guard Stephanie Bairstow has started the last three games and has averaged 24.3 minutes per game. She has also averaged 5.7 points and rebounds per game. Fellow freshman Makenlee Williams has also started the last three games, averaging 18.7 mpg. She averages 4.0 rpg in the three starts and 3.7 ppg.
THE STARTERS - This season, whoever has been in the starting five has averaged 56.8 points per game of the 71.8 ppg that the team averages. The Aggies tend to get the bulk of the steals from the starting five with 65 of the 86 total steals coming from the starters. The starters so far this season have shot 40.6 percent from the field (121-299) and 28.0 percent from three (33-of-118).
AROUND THE CORNER - After the Aggies home opener against Montana State on Dec. 1, Utah State will hit the road again to take on its last Beehive State team, BYU, on Tuesday, Dec. 4 at the Marriott Center at 7 p.m. That game will be televised on BYUtv.The Aggies will then be head to the Hoosier State to face No. 5 Notre Dame at Purcell Pavillion at the Joyce Center on Saturday, Dec. 8. The Irish were national runners up last season.
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.
BEST OF THE BUNCH - In the first NCAA statistics, senior guard Devyn Christensen is first in the nation in three-point field foals made per game, averaging 4.0 per game in the Aggies first five games. She is also second in points per game (25.0 ppg) and fourth in steals per game (4.8 spg). Sophomore forward Franny Vaaulu is third in field goal percentage (69.6).
As a team, Utah State is second in the country in free throw percentage, shooting 82.7 percent from the charity stripe. USU is 45th in the NCAA in scoring offense, scoring 73.4 ppg.
TOPS IN THE WAC - Devyn Christensen is first in the WAC scoring, averaging 23.8 points per game. Franny Vaaulu and Jenna Johnson are tied for 17th in scoring, averaging 11.7 ppg. Vaaulu is still first in field goal percentage, shooting 62.3 percent. Christensen is the league's leader in steals per game, averaging 4.17. Johnson is sixth with 2.83 spg. Christensen, who broke the WAC's single-season record for free throw percentage, is first in this season, shooting 94.4 percent. She has only missed two of the 36 free throws that she has attempted.
PILING UP THE MINUTES - Two different players have averaged over 30 minutes a game in Utah State's six games this season. Senior guard Devyn Christensen leads the way, averaging 37.17 minutes per game, while fellow senior guard Jenna Johnson has been playing 35.67 mpg. Sophomore forward Franny Vaaulu, averages 26.5 mpg.
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.
LOOKING BACK - MONTANA STATE 78, UTAH STATE 61 - Sharp shooting and timely rebounding were the downfall of the Utah State women's basketball team, falling to Montana State, 78-61, last season at Worthington Arena in Bozeman.
With the loss, Utah State falls to 5-3 this season with its first two-game losing streak of the season. Montana State improves to 6-2 on the year, winning its third straight. Head coach Tricia Binford and the Bobcats are 3-0 against her former mentor, USU head coach Raegan Pebley. Montana State defeated USU two years in a row with wins in 2006 in Bozeman (71-53) and a win in Logan (71-49) in 2007.
Senior forward Maddy Plunkett made her first career start, while junior guard Devyn Christensen made her first start of the season. Junior guard Jenna Johnson missed her first game of the season with an injury.
The Aggies were led by 14 points from Plunkett and Christensen. For the first time this season, senior Ashlee Brown did not score in double figures with eight points. Brown did come through on the boards with 11 rebounds to lead both teams.
CHRISTENSEN HONORED BY WAC - Utah State senior guard Devyn Christensen was named the Western Athletic Conference Women's Basketball Player of the Week for the week ending, Nov. 25. This is her first WAC Player of the Week honor of the season and the second of her career after earning the honor on Feb. 7, 2011.
She also earned her first American First Credit Union Utah State Student-Athlete of the Week honor of the season for her efforts.
The Caldwell, Idaho native averaged 28.0 points, 6.0 assists, 5.0 rebounds and 4.0 steals per game as the Aggies won the Great Alaska Shootout with wins over Prairie View A&M (67-66) and Alaska Anchorage (67-57). In the win over Prairie View A&M, Christensen scored 24 points to give the Aggies their first win of the season. She hit a three-pointer, one of six on the game, with eight seconds left on the clock to give USU the 67-66 win. She also added a career-high eight assists. In USU's win against UAA, Christensen had a career-high 32 points, once again hitting six treys. For her efforts, she was named MVP of the Great Alaska Shootout. For the week, she shot 42.5 percent from the field (17-of-40) and 42.9 percent from downtown (12-of-28). She also added 12 assists and eight steals in the two games. The tournament title was the first ever for Utah State.
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.
ALASKA - THE FINAL FRONTIER - The Aggies headed to the Final Frontier for the Great Alaska Shootout and returned with their first ever tournament win. With wins against Prairie View A&M and host Alaska Anchorage, Utah State captured the Great Alaska Shootout title. Senior guard Devyn Christensen was named MVP of the tournament, while sophomore forward Franny Vaaulu was also named to the all-tournament team. Vaaulu set the record for highest field goal percentage, shooting 81.8 (9-of-11).
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 - 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 Tuesday.
The Aggies ran into the lethal one-two punch of Michelle Plouffe and Taryn Wicijowski who scored 40 of Utah's 92 total points.
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.
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).
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.