USU Women's Basketball Continues Road Trip at South Dakota and No. 13 Nebraska
Dec. 3, 2013
LOGAN, Utah - TIP OFF - Utah State women's basketball continues its longest road trip of the season, taking on South Dakota on Dec. 5 and No. 13 Nebraska on Dec. 8. The Aggies are currently 1-1 on the road trip, going 1-1 at the Radisson Hotel Chatsworth Thanksgiving Classic in Northridge, Calif.
The Aggies are off to their best start since the 1978-79 season when they were also 5-1 to start the season. In that season, USU also suffered its first loss on the road as it did this season when the Aggie fell to Hampton on Nov. 29.
THE OPPONENT - Prior to last season the Coyotes and the Aggies were virtual strangers. Last season, the two teams met twice splitting the two meetings. During the regular season, it took a last-second shot from Devyn Christensen to lead USU over USD, 70-69 on Dec. 20. The Coyotes returned to Logan in March for the first round of the Women's Basketball Invitational. On March 21, South Dakota ended the Aggies season with a 77-69 win. In that game, Nicole Seekamp scored a game-high 33 to pace the Coyotes.
This season, South Dakota is 3-5, but are 2-0 against the Mountain West with wins against Boise State (74-61) and Wyoming (82-78) both of those games took place at home. The Coyotes also have a win against Cal State Fullerton to open the season. All five of USD's losses have come away from Vermillion.
Seekamp once again returns for South Dakota, leading the team in scoring, averaging 16.8 points and 4.1 rebounds per game. She is one of two Coyotes averaging in double figures in scoring along with Raeshel Contreras who scores 10.5 ppg. As a team, South Dakota averages 68.5 ppg, while allowing 71.1 ppg.
MAKING A GOOD IMPRESSION - The Aggies have made a good impression early on in their first season in the Mountain West. USU's 60 rebound performance against Black Hills State on Nov. 9 is tied for first this season with Wyoming against Montana State on Nov. 15. Utah State has the top two steal performances in the league this season with 20 against Black Hills State and 17 against Loyola Marymount on Nov. 13. USU's 11 blocks against Black Hills State is also tops in the league so far.
AGGIES ON THE RADIO/WEB - Most 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. There will be nine game that will only be heard through either www.UtahStateAggies.com or www.1390klgn.com but not on the radio.
AMONG THE NATION'S BEST - Utah State is eighth in the nation in two different categories. The Aggies are eighth in scoring offense out of 343 teams, averaging 86.8 ppg. Oregon is first in the country, averaging 98.3 ppg. USU is also eighth in steals per game, averaging 13.2 spg. Sacramento State is first with 15.2 spg. Individually, sophomore guard Makenlee Williams keeps the eight theme going as she is eighth in the country in free throw percentage, shooting 93.8 from the free throw line. Senior guard Jennifer Schlott is 12th in the country in points per game, averaging 23.5 ppg. Schlott is also 22nd in assists per game with 6.5 apg. Junior guard Elise Nelson is 21st in the country in steals, placing 21st, averaging 3.00 spg.
GIVING A HELPING HAND - Senior guard Jennifer Schlott had a career-high 11 assists in the Aggies' loss to Hampton on Nov. 29. Junior guard Elise Nelson also added a career-high seven assists against the Lady Pirates. Schlott's 11 assists are tied for 10th in single-season assists with Alice Coddington in 2011, Carol Garrison (1981) and Pam Shirley (1978). For the season, Schlott and Nelson are the team leaders in assists with Schlott averaging 6.5 assists per game and Nelson adding 4.8 helpers per game. As a team, USU averages 16.8 apg compared to 15.3 by its opponents.
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 23.5 points per game, while Williams is second with 20.8 ppg.
NEARING A MILESTONE - Head coach Jerry Finkbeiner is reaching a milestone in his 25th season. Finkbeiner has an overall record of 497-257 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.
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.
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 taking on the Coyotes, the Aggies take on No. 15 Nebraska on Dec. 8. Utah State will then face UC Santa Barbara on Dec. 19, while rounding out the road trip at BYU on Dec. 21.
LAST TIME AGAINST SOUTH DAKOTA - Utah State women's basketball could not overcome a 9-0 South Dakota run in the second half as well as 33 points by USD's Nicole Seekamp, as the Aggies lost to the Coyotes, 77-69, last year in the first round of the Women's Basketball Invitational at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum.
USU ends its first season under head coach Jerry Finkbeiner with an 18-14 record, as Thursday's loss snapped the Aggies' 10-game home winning streak, the longest in school history. South Dakota improves to 18-15 overall and advances to play at Lamar in the second round on Sunday. The Coyotes also avenged a 70-69 loss to the Aggies on Dec. 20 in Logan earlier this season.
Aggie junior guard Jennifer Schlott netted a team-high 25 points, tallying 18 in the second half, as well as dishing out eight assists, one shy of her career-high, while senior guard Devyn Christensen tallied 16 points. Senior guard Jenna Johnson added eight points to go with 13 rebounds, two points shy of her 10th double-double of the season and 11th of her career. Johnson also had a career-high five blocked shots.
In addition to Seekamp's game-high 33 points, which included 28 in the second half, Polly Harrington chipped in with 15 points, while Tempestt Wilson added 12 points. Alexis Yackley distributed a game-high nine assists and snared a team-high 11 rebounds, while Lisa Loeffler snared nine and Harrington pulled down eight as USD had a 50-44 rebounding edge. In the meeting on Dec. 20 between the Aggies and Coyotes, USD had a 63-26 advantage on the glass.
USU finished the night shooting 35.6 percent (26-of-73) from the field, including 20.8 percent (5-of-24) behind the three-point arc, while making 80.0 percent (12-of-15) at the free throw line.
USD netted 27-of-64 (42.2 percent) of its field goals, making 7-of-17 (41.2 percent) from three-point range, as well as 16-of-28 (57.1 percent) at the charity stripe.
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.
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 averaging 9.8 points and 7.2 rpg. Seven newcomers have played this season including, Strikas, Shelby Cloninger, Tijana Djukic, Lynette Johnson, Liz Landreth, Mariah Miles and Jasmine Porter.
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 (86.8 ppg) as well as field goal percentage defense (33.5). The Aggies are also first in scoring margin (+20.8), as well as three-point goal percentage (37.7), blocks (5.2 bpg ), assists (16.8 apg) and steals (13.2 spg).
Individually, senior guard Jennifer Schlott is first in the MW in scoring, averaging 23.5 ppg. Sophomore guard Makenlee Williams is second, averaging 20.8 ppg. Junior guard Elise Nelson is second in the conference in steals (3.0 spg), while Schlott is first in assists (6.5 apg).The Aggies have four players in the top 10 in steals. Besides Nelson, Schlott is third (2.5 spg), while Franny Vaaulu is fifth (2.2 spg). Ingrida Strikas rounds out the list, standing tied for 10th (1.8 spg).
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).
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.
LAST TIME OUT - Utah State women's basketball had four players in double digits as the Aggies captured the consolation game of the Radisson Hotel Chatsworth Thanksgiving Classic over host school Cal State Northridge, 75-67, Saturday at the Matadome.
The Aggies bounced back after a loss to Hampton on Friday, improving to 5-1 this season. Cal State Northridge falls to 2-5 with the loss.
Senior guard Jennifer Schlott scored 27 points, including 18 in the first half to pace Utah State. She also added seven assists, five rebounds and three steals. After recording a double-double against Hampton, Schlott earned all-tournament honors. Sophomore guard Makenlee Williams added 15 points, while both junior forward Franny Vaaulu and junior guard Elise Nelson put in 10 points. Nelson came close to her first career double-double with nine boards.
CSUN also had four players in double figures led by Cinnamon Lester's 18 points. Bernadette Fong had a double-double off the bench with 12 points and 10 rebounds, while Camille Mahlknecht also had a double-double with 11 points and 12 rebounds.
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.