USU Women Close Out Road Trip Against BYU Saturday
Dec. 20, 2013
LOGAN, Utah - TIP OFF - Utah State women's basketball concludes its season-long six-game road trip with a very familiar foe as USU takes on in-state rival BYU on Saturday, Dec. 21 at 2 p.m. at the Marriott Center in Provo. This will be the Aggies final game before they break for the holidays.
The game against the Cougars will be web streamed only. Aggie fans can find play-by-play announcer Craig Hislop by going to www.utahstateaggies.com or www.1390klgn.com.
The Aggies are currently 2-3 on the road trip, breaking a two-game losing streak against UC Santa Barbara on Dec. 19 behind a record-setting performance from senior guard Jennifer Schlott who set a USU school record with 44 points against the Gauchos. USU also had two losses two weeks ago to South Dakota on Dec. 5 and No. 13 Nebraska on Dec. 8. USU split games at the Radisson Hotel Chatsworth Thanksgiving Classic with a win against Cal State Northridge on Nov. 30 and a loss to Hampton on Nov. 29. The Aggies return home to friendly confines of the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum on Dec. 28 when they take on College of Idaho at 2 p.m. as part of doubleheader with the USU men's team.
THE OPPONENT - After a grueling five-straight road games, the Aggies road swing comes to a close against in-state rival BYU on Saturday, Dec. 21 at 2 p.m. The Cougars are 9-1 this season, suffering their first loss of the season against in-state rival Utah, 82-74, in double overtime on Dec. 14. BYU's 9-0 start was the best in school history. Utah State and BYU have played two common opponents this season in Cal State Northridge and Utah. The Aggies are 2-0 against those teams, while BYU has a win against Cal State Northridge and a loss to Utah. The Cougars also have wins against two Mountain West teams, Nevada and UNLV.
BYU has three players averaging in double figures in Jennifer Hamson (18.0 ppg), Lexi Eaton (16.9 ppg) and Kim Beeston (11.6 ppg). Hamson averages a double-double also bringing down 10.2 rebounds per game. As a team, BYU averages 73.3 ppg, while allowing only 66.0.
The Cougars hold a commanding 31-3 advantage over Utah State. The last time that the Aggies defeated the Cougars was Dec. 7, 1978 when USU handed BYU an 80-72 loss in Logan. BYU returned the favor later that year with a 111-110 win in Provo.
Head coach Jeff Judkins is in his 13th season at the helm of the Cougars. He entered the season with a stellar 254-126 record.
SHATTERING RECORDS - Senior guard Jennifer Schlott did more than help the Aggies snap a two-game losing skid against UC Santa Barbara. The guard shattered the school record for single-game scoring with 44 points against the Gauchos. She became the first USU player to break the 40-point mark. The previous school record was 38 points by Pat Montgomery against Weber State in 1979. She is the eighth men or women's basketball player to score at least 44 points. The last men's player to score 44 points was Aggie-great Jaycee Carroll against New Mexico State in 2007. Schlott's previous career-high was 37 points against Utah on Nov. 19. She and sophomore Makenlee Williams are the only Aggies to have scored in double figures in all nine games this season.
EVEN MORE ON 44 - Jennifer Schlott's 44 points is also among the best ever in the Mountain West. The 44 points scored is the second-most in Mountain West history as another Beehive State player Kalee Whipple of Utah scored 45 against TCU in 2010. Schlott's perfect 18-for-18 from the charity stripe also set records. The 18 made were the most ever in Mountain West history, as three different players made 17. She also joins one of many players to have a perfect free throw percentage (1.000).
Schlott's 44 points are the fourth-most in the nation this season. Troy's Joanna Harden scored 52 points to lead the country, while Odyssey Sims scored 47. UT Martin's Jasmine Newsome tied Schlott with 44 points earlier this season.
NELSON KNOCKING IT IN - Junior guard Elise Nelson has been adding scoring to her already tough defensive skills. Nelson has scored in double figures twice in the last three games. The guard scored 10 points against both Cal State Northridge on Nov. 30 and against Nebraska on Dec. 8. The defensive threat is also one of the Aggies' top rebounders, averaging 7.0 rebounds per game. She has one double-digit rebounding game this season with 10 against Utah on Nov. 19. She leads the team in overall rebounds with 61.
PUTTING IN THE TIME - Five different Aggies' have logged in over 200 minutes this season. Senior Jennifer Schlott leads the team with 280 total minutes, averaging 31.1 minutes per game. Junior Elise Nelson is second in minutes played with 268 for an average of 29.8 mpg. Sophomore Makenlee Williams junior Franny Vaaulu and junior Ingrida Strikas round out the quintet of Aggies with high endurance with 248, 237 and 210 minutes played, respectively.
ON THE COURT OBSERVATIONS - In eight of USU's nine games this season the margin of victory has been 10 points or more. The Aggies won their first five games by an average of 27.6 points. USU has lost its three games by an average of 13 ppg. Utah State's only game that was not decided by a double-digit margin was USU's eight- point win over Cal State Northridge on Nov. 30.
AMONG THE NATION'S BEST - The Aggies are fifth in steals per game out of 343 teams, averaging 12.9 ppg. Sacramento State is first with 16.1 spg. As a team, USU is also 20th in scoring offense (83.4 ppg), 26th in free throw percentage (75.0 percent), 33rd in turnover margin (4.88) and 36th in three point field goals made (7.6 pg).
Individually, senior guard Jennifer Schlott is 17th in the country in points per game (22.6 ppg). Baylor's Odyssey Sims is first in the nation with 29.4 ppg. Schlott is also 19th in assists per game (6.4 apg). Junior guard Elise Nelson is 35th in the nation in assist/turnover ratio (2.64).
LAST TIME AGAINST BYU - In the closest battle with BYU since a 61-60 overtime loss in 2008, the Utah State women's basketball team came up just short against the Cougars at the Marriott Center in Provo on Tuesday, 81-77.
The Aggies out-scored the Cougars 46-42 in the second, not once backing down. Utah State has now lost three-straight games, falling to 2-6 overall this season. BYU evens out its record at 4-4 with the win.
Four different USU players reached the double-figure mark led by 18 from senior guard Jenna Johnson who also added five rebounds and three assists. Senior guard Devyn Christensen added 17 to go along with four rebounds and four steals. Junior guard Jennifer Schlott was one point from tying her career high with 16 points, while freshman guard Makenlee Williams broke her season-high with 15 points to go along with a team-high six boards.
BYU was led by 22 points from Haley Steed who scored six three pointers which made up 18 of her 22 points. Ashley Garfield led all players with 16 rebounds. With the win, the Cougars are now 31-3 all-time against the Aggies.
GETTING AROUND THE MAP - In eight games this season, the Aggies have played teams from six different states as far apart as South Dakota (Black Hills State, South Dakota) and Virginia (Hampton). USU has faced a team from Nebraska (University of Nebraska), two teams from California (Loyola Marymount, Cal State Northridge) and one from border-state Idaho (Idaho State). The final state is in-state rival Utah.
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.
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 6.1 assists per game and Nelson adding 4.6 helpers per game. As a team, USU averages 16.1 apg compared to 16.9 by its opponents.
NEARING A MILESTONE - Head coach Jerry Finkbeiner is reaching a milestone in his 25th season. Finkbeiner has an overall record of 498-259 just six wins away from the 500-win mark. He is the 48th winningest active NCAA Division I coach by winning percentage .658. 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 - Following a break for the holidays, the Aggies return to the court to take on College of Idaho on Saturday, Dec. 28 at 2 p.m. It is USU's only home day game this season. It is part of a doubleheader with the USU men's team which will take on San Diego Christian at 7 p.m.
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.
MOVING UP THE MOUNTAIN - With Utah State's hot start, it is among the leaders in many Mountain West categories. USU is second in scoring offense (83.1 ppg). The Aggies are now also first in free throw percentage (77.3). The Aggies are also first in scoring margin (+11.8), as well as three-point goal percentage defense (26.1) and steals (12.3 spg). USU is second in assists (15.9 apg).
Individually, senior guard Jennifer Schlott is still first in the MW in scoring, averaging 25.0 ppg. Sophomore guard Makenlee Williams is third, averaging 19.1 ppg. Williams is also fourth in three-point field goal percentage (41.8 percent). The Aggies have four players in the top 12 in the conference in steals per game led by Junior guard Elise Nelson who is second in the league, averaging 2.7 spg. Schlott is fourth (2.4 spg), while Franny Vaaulu is fifth 2.1 spg. Ingrida Strikas is 11th (1.7 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 - A Utah State record 44 points from senior guard Jennifer Schlott helped the Aggies snap a two-game losing streak, 81-70, against UC Santa Barbara at the Thunderdome Thursday.
Schlott became the first Utah State women's basketball player to score 40 points in Aggie history. She joins a very elite club. There have been seven men's basketball players who have scored 44 or more points in USU history. The last player to score 44 points was Aggie-great Jaycee Carroll who did so against New Mexico State on Feb. 5, 2007.
With the win, USU snapped a two-game losing streak and improves to 6-3 this season. UCSB has now lost three-straight games, falling to 4-6 on the year.
Along with Schlott's record-breaking performance, three other Aggies scored in double figures. Junior forwards Ingrida Strikas and Franny Vaaulu both scored 12 points with Strikas adding a team-leading seven rebounds. Sophomore Makenlee Williams has now scored in double-figures in every game with 10 points. Schlott added seven assists and five rebounds in the win.
The Gauchos were led by 15 points off the bench from Destini Mason. Both Kendra Morrison and Melissa Zornig added 12 apiece, while Morrison also added a game-leading eight boards. Both teams were turnover prone with 22 for USU and 20 for UCSB.
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.
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.