USU Women's Basketball Opens Mountain West Schedule Hosting Air Force Wednesday
Dec. 30, 2013
LOGAN, Utah - TIP OFF - After completing the non-conference portion of the schedule, Utah State women's basketball will now prepare for its first-ever Mountain West game. The Aggies will take on Air Force on Wednesday, Jan. 1 at 7 p.m. at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum. After eight season in the Western Athletic Conference, USU (6-5) will now begin MW action against the Falcons (1-9).
HAPPY NEW YEAR - The Aggies completed the 2013 portion of the 2013-14 schedule against College of Idaho on Dec. 28. USU has lost two-straight games and four of its last five. The Aggies look to move ahead after a 1-5 record in December.
THE OPPONENT - Utah State and Air Force have only met two times, splitting the two games. The Aggies defeated the Falcons in Colorado Springs, 72-68, on Dec. 4, 2004. Air Force returned the favor the next year with a 60-56 win over USU in Logan on Dec. 8, 2005. The two teams, both former members of the WAC, have not met since 2005.
Air Force is currently 1-9 this season with its lone win coming against North Dakota State, 82-63, on Dec. 6. The Falcons have lost four-straight games, last falling to Eastern Illinois 76-44 on Dec. 21. Air Force is 0-5 on the road so far this season. Andrea Williams is in her fourth season as the Falcons head coach.
Air Force has two players averaging in double figures, led by Jimi Blagowsky, who averages 11.3 points and 3.1 rebounds per game. Cherae Medina scores 10.0 ppg and is the team's leader in assists, averaging 3.1 apg. As a team, the Falcons score 53.3 ppg, while allowing 73.2 ppg.
CONFERENCE OPENERS - Utah State was 5-3 in Western Athletic Conference openers winning the last four at home against UTSA last season and on the road against New Mexico State in 2011. In 2010, USU won at home against Boise State and in 2009, USU earned its first ever win against Louisiana Tech. Utah State was 3-2 in WAC openers at home. USU was 0-2 in Big West openers, taking on Idaho in both games. Since the re-instatement, the Aggies are 5-5 in conference openers.
USU IN MW OPENERS (0-0) 2013-14 vs. Air ForceNEARING HISTORY - Senior guard Jennifer Schlott continues to make her mark in the Utah State record books. With 316 assists, Schlott is just 55 helpers away from the USU record for career assists. Aggie-great Taylor Richards (2005-08) holds the career record with 371.
Schlott is also second in career free throws made with 278. She is just 41 free throws away from tying another Aggie-great Devyn Christensen who made 319 free throws from 2010-2013.
SCHLOTT EARNS ANOTHER HONOR - ESPN.com's Graham Hays has recognized senior guard Jennifer Schlott as one of the top five mid-major women's basketball players through the first half of the season.
The senior is one of two players from the state of Utah honored as BYU's 6-7 center Jennifer Hamson was also recognized. Also named were Albany forward Shereesha Richards, Middle Tennessee forward Ebony Rowe and IPFW guard Amanda Hyde.
Schlott leads the Mountain West in scoring and assists, averaging 24.8 points and 6.5 assists per game. She is currently sixth in the nation in scoring and 13th in assists per game. Her 44 points scored against UC Santa Barbara on Dec. 19 is tied for fifth in the nation with UT Martin's Jasmine Newsome. Schlott is the only player in the nation in the top 20 in both scoring and assists per game.
She is also second in the Mountain West in steals per game (2.6 spg) behind teammate junior guard Elise Nelson (3.0 spg). Schlott passed the coveted 1,000-point mark on Dec. 21 against BYU and now has 1,028 career points.
SCHLOTT JOINS EXCLUSIVE CLUB - Senior guard Jennifer Schlott became the eighth member of the 1,000-point club at Utah State. Schlott, who already has 273 points this season, now has 1,028 points in her Aggie career. The last Aggie to join this club was Devyn Christensen who scored 1,551 in illustrious Utah State career.
LAST TIME AGAINST AIR FORCE - Taylor Richards scored a career-high 22 points in Utah State's 60-56 loss to Air Force in women's basketball action here on December of 2005. The Aggies fell to 0-5 on the season with the loss, while Air Force improved to 5-1.
Richards, a sophomore from West Valley City, Utah, also added six assists, which was just one shy of her career best. She hit eight field goals, including two three-pointers, while playing all 40 minutes.
Air Force, which outscored USU 36-28 in the second half, was led by Pamela Findlay, who scored 15 points, while Letricia Castillo added 10 for the visitors.
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 10 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 tied for 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.
AMONG THE NATION'S BEST - The Aggies are up to seventh in the nation in steals per game out of 343 teams, averaging 12.5 ppg. Sacramento State is first with 16.4 spg. As a team, USU is also 24th in scoring offense (82.1 ppg). Utah State now 14th in the country in free throw percentage, shooting 76.7 percent from the charity stripe.
Individually, senior guard Jennifer Schlott is sixth in the country in points per game (24.8 ppg). Baylor's Odyssey Sims is first in the nation with 30.1 ppg. Schlott is also 13th in assists per game (6.5 apg). Junior guard Elise Nelson is 17th in the nation in assist/turnover ratio (3.06).
GETTING AROUND THE MAP - In 11 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.
DOUBLE THE EXCITEMENT - For the first time this season, three players had double-doubles in the same game, as Elise Nelson, Jennifer Schlott and Franny Vaaulu all registered double-double against College of Idaho on Dec. 28. Schlott led the way with 26 points and 10 assists. Vaaulu had 13 points and 13 rebounds for her first double-double of the season. Nelson added 10 points and 13 boards for her first career double-double.
NEARING A MILESTONE - Head coach Jerry Finkbeiner is reaching a milestone in his 25th season. Finkbeiner has an overall record of 498-260 just six wins away from the 500-win mark. He is the 48th winningest active NCAA Division I coach by winning percentage .657. 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 - Utah State opens the road portion of the Mountain West schedule against San José State on Saturday, Jan. 4. The Aggies and the Spartans are familiar foes having spent the last eight seasons in the WAC together. Last season, the teams both won on their home courts. USU the returns home to host Nevada on Wednesday, Jan. 11 at 7 p.m.
MOVING UP THE MOUNTAIN - Utah State remains among the top of several Mountain West categories. USU is second in scoring offense (82.1 ppg). The Aggies are first in assists (16.4 apg), steals (12.5 spg) and turnover margin (+4.7). The Aggies are second in scoring margin (+8.3) behind San José State (+9.8), as well as scoring margin (+8.3).
Individually, senior guard Jennifer Schlott is still first in the MW in scoring, averaging 24.8 ppg. Sophomore guard Makenlee Williams is third, averaging 18.0 ppg. Williams is also third in field goal percentage (50.0 percent). The Aggies have four players in the top 12 in the conference in steals per game led by junior guard Elise Nelson (3.0 spg) and Schlott (2.6 spg) who are first and second, respectively. Franny Vaaulu is fifth 2.1 spg, while Ingrida Strikas is 14th (1.5 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.
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.
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 - Despite three players earning double-doubles, the Utah State women's basketball team lost its first home game of the season, 86-81, against the College of Idaho Saturday at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum.
With the loss, Utah State ends non-conference action with a 6-5 record, losing its last two games. The game for College of Idaho was an exhibition as it remains 6-6 this season.
For the third-straight game, senior guard Jennifer Schlott led the Aggies with 26 points; she added 10 assists for her second double-double of the season. Junior guard Elise Nelson had her first career double-double off the bench with 10 points and 13 rebounds. She was one assist and two steals away from a quadruple-double. Junior forward Franny Vaaulu had her first double-double of the season with 13 points and 13 assists. Sophomore guard Makenlee Williams kept her streak of scoring in double figures in every game this season alive with 14 points.
College of Idaho's Erica Martinez led all scorers with 34 points to go along with 10 rebounds. Martinez was a stellar 8-for-14 from beyond the arc. Elisha Hensey also had a double-double with 12 points and 11 boards.
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.