Aggie Women's Basketball Concludes December At Boise State Thursday
Dec. 21, 2011
LOGAN, Utah - TIP OFF - Utah State women's basketball snapped its four game-losing streak with a dominating 70-51 win over Northern Arizona on Monday, Dec. 19. The Aggies look to continue their winning ways on Thursday, Dec. 22 against Boise State at 3:30 p.m. at Taco Bell Arena in Boise. The game was changed from 7 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. due to the Broncos bowl game. This is the second meeting between the two teams with the Aggies defeating the Broncos, 97-86 on Nov. 23. This is USU's final game of the 2011 portion of the schedule.
BATTLE OF THE BOARDS - Utah State is now 3-0 when winning the rebound battle. In wins against, Weber State, UC Irvine and Northern Arizona, the Aggies have out-rebounded their opponent. Utah State made a nice recovery after being out-rebounded by 15 against BYU on Dec. 17. USU had a slight 41-40 rebound advantage against the Lumberjacks on Dec. 19. The win against NAU was also the first time this season that USU has reached the 40-rebound mark.
THE OPPONENT - Boise State is a very familiar opponent to Utah State. The Broncos hold a 16-7 overall series lead over the Aggies. This is the Broncos first season in the Mountain West after playing the Aggies twice a year since 2005-06 season. Last year, USU won both meetings, defeating BSU, 69-57, in Logan and winning, 84-69, in Boise. USU has now won three-straight games against the Broncos after taking the first meeting this season, 97-86 in Logan. In that meeting, Utah State scored a season-high 97 points, shooting 56.9 percent (33-of-58) for the game. Senior guard Brooke Jackson scored a career-high 27 points in the win, while Boise State was led by 30 points from Nicole Brady.
This season, Boise State is 7-5, having lost its last game at Portland, 83-56. The Broncos were led by a 13-point performance by Kinzi Poteet. Lauren Lenhardt added 12 points. BSU struggled from three shooting only 13.6 percent (3-of-22) from beyond the arc. Kati Isham leads the team in scoring, averaging 15.3 point per game. Brady is the top rebounded for the Broncos, averaging 7.0 rebounds per game.
NELSON BREAKS THROUGH - In Utah State's tough, 73-65, loss to BYU, freshman guard Elise Nelson had a breakthrough performance. Earning her first start of the season, Nelson scored a season-high 10 points. The newcomer also brought down four boards and added two assists.
HAPPY NEW YEAR - Following the short break for the holidays, Utah State will begin the New Year on Jan. 3 against the Eagles of Asbury College. The Eagles are a NAIA school out of Wilmore, Kent. Following the game with Asbury, Utah State will take on its final in-state opponent of the season, facing Utah Valley on Jan. 7.
CHRISTENSEN COMING ON STRONG - After struggling from the field to open the season, junior guard Devyn Christensen has come on strong of late. She has started the last four games for USU. The junior has scored in double-digits the last seven games, including a season-high 18 points against BYU on Dec. 17. Once again, Christensen continues to dominate from the charity stripe, shooting 82.9 percent this season (34-of-41). In the Aggies win against NAU, she scored 11 of her 13 points from the free throw line.
AGGIES IN THE NCAA STATS - In the most recent NCAA Statistics (Dec. 18), Utah State was third in the nation in free-throw percentage, shooting 80.8 percent from the charity stripe. Richmond continues to lead the nation, shooting 82.6 percent. The Aggies are 27th in the country in three-point field goal percentage (36.3 percent). Illinois State leads the nation, shooting 43.0 percent from three.
TRIPLE DIGITS - The Aggies have three players who have scored over 100 points this season, Ashlee Brownn (186), Brooke Jackson (128) and Devyn Christensen (112). Maddy Plunkett is nearing the 100-point mark with 99 points scored in 11 games this season.
FIRST LOSS AT HOME - After winning four-straight games, Utah State has now lost four-straight games. The loss at home was the first in the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum this season. USU is now 4-1 at home this season and 2-4 away from home.
AGAINST THE BEEHIVE STATE - BYU was the second of three teams from the Beehive State that the Aggies will this season. The Aggies are now 1-1 against Utah schools. USU has already earned a 73-63 win against Weber State on Nov. 16. Following the game against the Cougars, USU will conclude its tour of the Beehive State with a home game against Utah Valley on Jan. 7.
STARTING FIVE- In 11 games this season, Utah State has used five different lineups. Ashlee Brown is the only Aggie to have started all 11 games this season. Jennifer Schlott has started nine out of 11 games, while Brooke Jackson has been in the starting five eight times. Chelsea Burns started the first four games of the season until an injury ended her season. Freshman Elise Nelson earned her first career start against BYU on Dec. 17. Nine different players have started at least one game this season for USU.
PICKING POCKETS - Utah State has 113 steals this season compared to 102 by its opponents. The Aggies average 10.3 steals per game, while their opponents have 9.3 spg. Ashlee Brown leads the team with 25 steals (2.5 spg), while Brooke Jackson has 15 steals (1.4 spg).
HITTING THE MARK - In breaking their four-game losing streak, the Aggies finally broke the 70-point barrier. In all four games during the losing streak, the Aggies were out-rebounded and scored less than 70 points. In the Aggies' six wins this season, they have scored at least 70 points four times.
STELLAR FROM THE STRIPE - In the Aggies 70-51 win over Northern Arizona on Dec. 17, Utah State had another stellar night from the free throw line. USU shot 77.4 percent from the charity stripe, going 24-of-31. For the season, the Aggies are shooting 80.8 percent from the free throw line (185-of-229).
Four of the top 10 free throw shooters in the WAC come from Utah State.
CLOSING OUT THE MONTH - Utah State ended November with a solid 5-2 record. Last year, the Aggies had the opposite record with a 2-5 mark seven games into the season. After starting the month of December 0-2, the Aggies earned their first win of the month against Northern Arizona on Dec. 19.
AMONG THE BEST IN THE WAC - Ashlee Brown is still third in the WAC in scoring behind San Jose State's Brittany Johnson and Fresno State's Ki-Ki Moore. Johnson is averaging 18.7 points per game, while Brown averages 16.9 ppg. Brown is second in the league in rebounding with 9.9 rpg. Senior Maddy Plunkett is first in the league in three-point shooting (.500). Brooke Jackson is still second in free throw percentage (.846). Brown and Jackson have scored the most free throws by far in the conference with Brown sinking 81 and Jackson making 52.
As a team, USU is second behind Fresno State in scoring offense, averaging 69.6 points per game. The Aggies and the Bulldogs are the only two teams in the league with positive scoring margins with Fresno State standing +5.7 and USU holding a +1.4. The Aggies are still first in free throw percentage (80.4). USU is now first in three-point field goal percentage (37.2).
UP NEXT - USU will have one more game before the holidays. On Wednesday Dec. 22, the Aggies will travel to Boise to take on the Broncos for the second time. USU captured the meeting in Logan in November.
CAREER HIGHS - The Aggies set several new career highs in their win against Boise State on Nov. 23. Sophomore guard Jennifer Schlott set a new career with 17 points against the Broncos. Senior guard Brooke Jackson also set a career-high with 27 points.
AGGIES LOSE BURNS TO INJURY - Utah State women's basketball junior guard/forward Chelsea Burns has been medically disqualified due to a knee injury. The injury is similar to the one that kept her out of the entire 2009-10 season.
Burns, a native of Carlsbad, Calif, started the first four games of the season and played in five this season. She averaged 10.8 minutes. 0.8 points and 1.6 rebounds per game. The junior has been diagnosed with an osteochondral defect and a meniscus tear and will have knee surgery on December 15.
Burns will graduate at the end of the fall semester with a degree in law and constitutional studies and will begin her master's of education next semester.
AGAINST THE MOUNTAIN WEST - Wyoming was the first of two Mountain West Conference teams that the Aggies will face this season, including taking on former Western Athletic Conference rival Boise State two times. Utah State is now 2-0 against the Mountain West. The Aggies have one more battle with the Mountain West Conference when USU takes on the Broncos on Dec. 22.
HOME OPENERS - Utah State is now 8-14 in home openers and 3-6 under Coach Pebley after the Aggies defeated Weber State, 73-63 on Nov. 16.Prior to the win over the Wildcats, the last time the Aggies won a home opener was a 67-58 win against in-state rival Utah in 2009. Last season, USU fell to Dixie State in its home and season opener, 71-67. Under Coach Pebley, Utah State is 1-2 against Weber State in home openers.
LAST TIME OUT - Senior forward Ashlee Brown recorded her fifth double-double of the season as the Utah State women's basketball team snapped a four-game losing streak with a 70-51 win over Northern Arizona Monday on School Day at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum.
Kids from Bridger Elementary, Mt. Logan Middle School, Edith Bowen Lab School, Woodruff Elementary and Canyon Elementary cheered loudly for the Aggie women. Utah State had a season-high 1,500 fans attend the game.
Brown led the Aggies with 21 points and 10 rebounds for her fifth double-double. It was also the 10th double-digit scoring game for the senior and fourth 20-point game. Senior forward Maddy Plunkett and junior guard Devyn Christensen both added 13 points. Plunkett was one rebound shy of her first career double, as she brought down a career-high nine boards.
Northern Arizona was led by Aubrey Davis' 13 rebounds, while Khyra Conerly was NAU's leading scorer with 16 points.
The Aggies out-rebounded the Lumberjacks 41-40 and are now 3-0 when out-rebounding their opponent. This was the first game that USU out-rebounded an opponent since out-rebounding UC Irvine 37-33 on Nov. 19.
CAREER HIGHS FROM BROWN - Senior forward Ashlee Brown has had double-doubles in both of Utah State's games this season. She also added a career-high 31 points in the Aggies' loss to South Dakota State on Nov. 13. She also set a career high with six steals in the loss to the Jackrabbits.
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.
TURNING 24 - The 2011-12 season marks the 24th year of women's basketball at USU, and just the ninth 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 seventh season in the WAC after playing its first two seasons in the Big West Conference.
AGAINST THE BIG WEST - UC Riverside is the second Big West team that Utah State has faced this season. The Aggies defeated UC Irvine, 69-64, on the road on Nov. 19. UC Riverside is the second and final Big West team that USU will play this season when the Aggies and the Highlanders meet on Nov. 25.
AGGIES IN THE PRESEASON POLLS - Utah State women's basketball was selected second in the Western Athletic Conference coaches' poll and third in the media poll. Both predictions are the highest for USU since joining the WAC. Last season, the Aggies were picked seventh in both the coaches' and the media poll.
Senior forward Ashlee Brown made Utah State women's basketball history by becoming the first Aggie to earn WAC Preseason Player of the Year honors when she was awarded the honor by both the coaches and the media. Brown, who averaged 15.2 points per game last season, is the top scorer returning in the WAC. Last season, Brown was the WAC's Newcomer of the Year and earned first-team all-WAC honors.
The Aggies received 40 points in the WAC coaches' poll, including two of the eight first-place votes. Defending WAC regular season-champion, Louisiana Tech, was picked first with 47 points, including five-first place votes. Fresno State, the 2011 WAC Tournament champions, was picked third with 36 points and the final first-place vote. Nevada placed fourth with 33 points, followed by Hawai`i with 22 points. New Mexico State was picked to finish in sixth place with 18 points, while Idaho was just a point behind with 17 points to finish in seventh place. The coaches' poll was rounded out by San Jose State in eighth place with 11 points.
In the media poll, Utah State was voted third with 126 points, including three first-place votes. As with the coaches' poll, Louisiana Tech was picked first with 144 total points and 13 first-place votes. The only difference between the polls was that Fresno State took second-place in the media poll with 129 points and three first-place votes. Nevada earned the fourth spot with 80 points, followed by Hawai`i with 72. The media poll was rounded out with New Mexico State in sixth with 59 points, while Idaho (52 points) and San Jose State (22 points) were picked to finish seventh and eighth, respectively.
AGGIES ON THE RADIO/WEB - All Utah State games can be heard on KLGN (1390 AM) in Logan with Craig Hislop taking the reigns this season. 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.
AROUND THE COURT - News and Notes from around the Aggie basketball court.
Last season was the first time in head coach Raegan Pebley's career that she has earned the Coach of the Year accolade. Pebley is also the first female to earn the award since 2004-05 when Rice's Cristy McKinney was named Coach of the Year.
This season, Utah State welcomes six newcomers, including senior transfer Brooke Jackson who comes to Logan from the University of Arizona. USU adds five freshmen in Brooke Beckstead, Xava Grooms, Addison Moore, Elise Nelson and Franny Vaaulu.
The Aggies had 10 WAC wins last season which was the most since the 2008-09 team that had a 9-7 record.
HEAD COACH Raegan Pebley - Raegan Pebley is entering her ninth season as head coach at Utah State, which is the longest tenure in the program's history. Five games into the 2007-08 season, Pebley overtook the lead for the most games coached in Utah State history (116). She has now coached 245 games for the Blue and White and has 95 wins as Aggie head coach, which is first ahead of Fern Gardner (55) on the all-time win list.