Women's Hoops Looks For First Road Win This Week

San Jose, Calif. - The San Jose State women's basketball team plays the first two-of-nine Western Athletic Conference road games this week.  The Spartans travel to face the Idaho Vandals on Thursday before a matchup at the Seattle U Redhawks on Saturday.

GAMES 14 & 15

at IDAHO (3-9, 0-1 WAC)
THURSDAY, JANUARY 3, 2013, 6:00 P.M.

at SEATTLE U (4-6, 1-0 WAC)
SATURDAY, JANUARY 5, 2013, 4:00 P.M.

Fans can view live stats of all San Jose State games by accessing the "Live Stats" feature at www.sjsuspartans.com.  Click on the link at the top of the home page to follow the action.

Keep up with all 16 San Jose State's team through social media sites Twitter and Facebook.  For Twitter go to @sjsuathletics and on Facebook become friends with Sammy Spartan.

In 13 games this season, the Spartans have put seven different starting line-ups on the court. The quintet who have had the most starts together are Ta'Rea Cunnigan (So., G, Winchester, Calif.), Classye James (So., G, Palo Alto, Calif.), Chereese Thomas (Jr., G, Dublin, Calif.), Riana Byrd (Fr., F, Richmond, Calif.) and Emily Schill (Fr., F, Tecoma, Australia) who have been together at the tip six times, including the last  four games in row.  Every player on the roster has earned at least one start this season.

Every player on the 2012-13 Spartans roster has earned at least one start and every player has scored in double figures in at least one game. Ta'Rea Cunnigan (So., G, Winchester, Calif.) leads the team with a 19.6 point average and has hit double figures in 12 of 13 games.  The last of the eight Spartans to reach double digits in scoring was Jayzyl Tauala (Fr., G, Pacifica, Calif.) who accomplished the feat in the team's 98-96 win over Texas State (12/29).  She had 14 points on 5-of-8 shooting.

Through 11 games the Spartans are scoring 67.1 points per game.  That is good fourth in the WAC.  Prior to their game against UTSA (12/31) the Spartans were 82nd in the nation. 

Since head coach Tim La Kose took over the progam last season, the scoring per game has risen by more than 20 points per game (46.8-to-67.1).

The Spartans are among the best in the nation in taking the ball away from their opponents.  Among 343 Division I schools, the Spartans were ranked 17th in the nation in steals, averaging 13.1 takeaways a game prior to the UTSA game (12/31) in which they had 14 steals.

Among WAC schools, the Spartans are third in steals with three players ranked in the top-10.  Ta'Rea Cunnigan (So., G, Winchester, Calif.) is averaging 3.77 steals, second in the conference.  Chereese Thomas (Jr., G, Dublin, Calif.) and Riana Byrd (Fr., F, Richmond, Calif.), seventh and ninth in the conference, are are averaging 2.30 and 2.08 steals per game, respectively. 

On a national stage, Cunnigan is eighth-best at picking her opponents pockets.

Riana Byrd
(Fr., F, Richmond, Calif.) and Emily Schill (Fr., F, Tecoma, Australia) have performed well beyond their years so far this season.

Byrd is nearly averging a double double (10.1 points and 9.3 rebounds).  She tied The Event Center record for rebounds in a game when she ripped down 19 against Cal State Northridge (12/1).  It was the second of her five double digit rebounding games this year.  She ranks second in the conference in rebounding, 20th in scoring and leads the WAC in blocks.  Nationally she is 58th in rebounds and 25 in blocks.  Against UTSA (12/31), she equalled another The Event Center record when she had eight steals.

Schill, at 10.4 points per game, is the 18th leading scorer in the WAC and, by 0.5 points per game, the second-leading point getter among conference freshman.  She is the 10th ranked rebounder in the WAC, 6.7 rebounds per game, giving the Spartans two rebounders in the top-10.  On the national stage she is No. 76 in terms of free throw percentage (.833) and has made her last 15 free throws in a row over the past five games. Shill has had double doubles in each of the Spartans first two WAC games.

In a list compiled by Sports Information Directors across America it has been determined that San Jose State is the youngest team in Division I.  The list is based upon the total years played in college (Division I, II, II, NAIA or Junior College) by members of each school's team. 

The Spartans return one player from last season, Ta'Rea Cunnigan (So., G, Winchester, Calif.) who has one year of college experience.  Classye James (So., G, Palo Alto, Calif.) had one year of college experience (Oregon State) before transfering and sitting out last year and Chereese Thomas (Jr., G, Dublin, Calif.) was at Ohlone College for the past two seasons.  That totals four  years of experience on a roster of nine athletes (0.444 years of experience).
Temple and SIU-Carbondale tied for second on the list with 0.727 years of college experience (eight years season on rosters of 11 players).
The San Jose State women's basketball team went on an 18-to-4 tear in the final six minutes to reduce a 17-point deficit to three, but with six seconds left a Jayzyl Tauala 3-point attempt rimmed out and the Spartans lost 57-54 to the UTSA Roadrunners in The Event Center.

The Spartans trailed by as many as 21 points in the second half and Cori Cooper jumper with 6:46 to play gave UTSA a 17-point advantage, but then they slowed their offense down and lost their momentum.

San Jose State's Classye James scored eight of the team's next 12 points and the lead was down to five, 53-48 with just over two minutes to go.

Riana Byrd's jumper, off the glass, made it a one-possession game, 53-50, with 1:34 left in regulation.  A pair of free throws pushed the lead to five points but Byrd, who finished with 12 points and tied The Event Center record with eight steals, hit another jumper with 34 seconds left to get the Spartans back to within three.

After the team's traded free throws to make the score 57-54, the Spartans were forced to foul to stop the clock.  A Chereese Thomas foul sent Simone Young to the line with 16 seconds left.  Young missed both attempts and the Spartans got possession back looking to tie it up.

Tauala, had a good look at the bucket from the top of the circle, but her 3-point attempt rimmed out.  With one second to play Thomas committed her fifth foul.  Again, the Roadrunners missed both attempts and the Spartans got the rebound, but a full court shot by Alexis Hill fell short and San Jose State lost 57-54. 

Byrd, James and Emily Schill combined for five points in the first half, but keyed the Spartans comeback in the second.  Schill finished the night with 10 points and 10 rebounds and James had 11 points.

San Jose State shot 50 percent (13-of-26) in the second half and held the Roadrunners to a season low six buckets in the
second half. 

The Vandals are 3-9 overall and 0-1 in conference play, after dropping their WAC home opener 76-71 last Saturday to Seattle U. On their home court the Vandals are just 1-3.

Idaho is being outscored by 8.4 points per game (71.2-to-62.8).  They love to shoot from long range having hoisted 299 3-point shots and making 95.  They lead the conference in 3-pointers made per game at 7.92 and are second in 3-point field goal percentage at .318.

At 13.8 points, the Vandals are led by the WAC's 13th ranked scorer Alyssa Charlston, a junior forward.  Charlston is also the No. 6 rebounder in the conference at 7.3 per game.
Christina Salvatore, a freshman forward, is also in double digits at 10.9 points per game.

Jon Newlee is in his fifth season leading the Idaho women's basketball program.  Entering 2012-13 he had a 151-71 record in Moscow and a 179-184 record in 13 seasons as a head coach.

This will be the 26th meeting between these two programs.  Idaho holds a 15-10 advantage and have won the last four matchups including three times last year.  In games contested in Moscow, San Jose State won the first two times the teams faced off, in the 1994-95 and 95-96 seasons, but since then the Vandals have taken eight straight on their hoime court.


The Redhawks are 4-6 to start the week and will host Utah State on Thursday before welcoming the Spartans to Connolly Arena on Saturday.  They traveled to Idaho and defeated the Vandals in their WAC opener last Saturday.  Their record on their home court is 3-3 so far this season. 

Seattle U is averaging 67.1 points and holding their opponents to  66.8 per game.  Shooting .408 from the floor, they are the most accurate team in the conference. They also top the league in assists and steals as well as defensive rebounding.

The Redhawks have three players scoring in double figures.   Kacie Sowell, a junior forward and the No. 5 scorer in the WAC, is at 16.4 points and leads the team in rebounding, 9.1 per game.  Ashley Ward and Sylvia Shephard, junior forward and guard, respectively, are averaging 14.9 points a piece.  

Joan Bonvicini is in her fourth season leading the Redhawks women's basketball program.  Entering 2012-13 she had an overall record of 646-352 overall and a 34-58 record at Seattle U.

This will be the second meeting between these two programs.  Seattle took the first matchup 94-62 in The Event Center in the 2008-09 season.