Women's Hoops Hosts Utah State in MW Home Opener

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Jan. 3, 2014

San Jose, Calif. - After dropping its Mountain West opener at Nevada on New Year's Day, the San José State women's basketball team ooks to earn its first conference win against the Utah State Aggies on Saturday on Walt McPherson Court.



vs. Utah State (7-5, 1-0)

Saturday, January 4, 2:00 p.m.

The Event Center, San Jose, Calif.

Radio broadcast on 90.5 KSJS-FM and www.ksjs.org

Streaming video available at www.sjsuspartans.com/video


Fans can view live stats of all San José State women's basketball games, home and away, by accessing the "Gametracker" feature at www.sjsuspartans.com.  Click on the link on the women's basketball schedule page to follow the action.


Spartan Digital is your all-access passport to Spartan Athletics.  For live and recorded video/audio of San José State women's basketball home, Mountain West (road and home) and select road contests, Spartan Digital is your home.  Go to Spartan Digital at top of the Spartans Athletics home page or go to www.sjsuspartans.com/video.


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

The women's basketball Twitter handle is @sjswbb and Facebook page is /SanJoseStateWBB.


KSJS (90.5 FM, San Jose) originates San José State women's basketball home broadcasts and select road contests. 


Tickets for San José State women's basketball home games are free for all SJSU students with a valid student ID.  Adult tickets are $5.00 and $3.00 for youth (12 and under). 

Groups of 20 or more can buy discounted tickets at $3.00 per person by 5:00 p.m. the business day before the game via the Spartan Ticket Office at (408) 924-SJTX (7589) or (877) SJSUTIX (757-8849).

The Event Center Box Office opens two hours prior to tip-off for any weekend, holiday game or doubleheader and is open regular business hours (10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.) for weekday games or weekday doubleheaders.


Parking for all San José State women's basketball games is in the University's Seventh Street Parking Garage. The Seventh Street Garage, located on the Northwest corner of San Salvador Street and Seventh Street, can be accessed through Seventh Street.  Parking is $5.00. 


The Aggies, along with the Spartans, are in their first year in the Mountain West Conference.  They were 18-14 last year, 14-4 in their last season in the Western Athletic Conference. 

Utah State (7-5) had dropped four of their last five games, including a 86-81 loss to the College Of Idaho (12/28), but got back on track with an 88-78 win over Air Force in their MW conference opener (1/1). The Aggies are 2-4 away from home this season

Jennifer Schlott, a senior guard, leads the team and the conference in scoring (23.8 pts).  Sophomore guard Makenlee Williams and junior forward Franny Vaaulu also score in double figures (18.0 pts. and 10.8 pts. respectively).

Head coach Jerry Finkbeiner is in his second season leading the Utah State program.  He brought a 492-257 career-record into the 2013-14 season.

This will be the 18th meeting between these programs, with the Aggies holding a 12-5 lead in the all-time series.  In the meeting in San Jose last year, the Spartans equaled the program's single-game scoring record in a 103-80 victory.  Emily Schill dropped 36-points on Utah State to set a San José State freshman single-game scoring mark.


Prior to the 2013-14 season, the San José State women's basketball team has been a member of five leagues - the NorCal (1977-82), NorPac (1983-86), PCAA (1987-88), Big West (1989-96) and the WAC (1997-2013).

After falling 101-74 at Nevada, in 37 conference openers the Spartans are 16-21.  In home games to open a conference schedule they are 8-7 and now 8-14 in road openers.

SJSU 5-5 in the last 10 conference home openers.  The team has won its last two conference home openers; 98-96 vs. Texas State (12/29/2012) and 83-67 vs. Hawai'i (1/14/2012).


Averaging 83.5 points per game, the Spartans are the top scoring team in the Mountain West Conference and rank 18th in the nation.   Just three years ago, the team was averaging less than 48 points, that's an increase of more than 36 points per game

San José State has four players among the top-16 scorers in the league, the most of any team. Ta'Rea Cunnigan (Jr., G, Winchester, Calif.) ranks 2nd at 19.1 ppg.  Rebecca Woodberry (Jr., G, Phoenix, Ariz.) is 7th (14.7 ppg), Classye James (Jr., G, East Palo Alto, Calif.) is 11th (13.6 ppg) and Jasmine Smith (Fr., F, Burbank, Calif.) ranks 16th (12.4 ppg).


Riana Byrd (So., C, Richmond, Calif.), Jasmine Smith (Fr., F, Burbank, Calif.) at 8.4 rebounds and Rebecca Woodberry (Jr., G, Phoenix, Ariz.) at 7.6 rebounds are a one-three-four punch when it comes to rebounding in the Mountain West. 

Byrd leads the MW (9.8/g) and ranks 48th in the nation.  The three have combined for 14 double-digit rebounding efforts led by Byrd's six.


After little more than two seasons, Ta'Rea Cunnigan (Jr., G, Winchester, Calif.) is already in the top-10 of four San José State career categories.  Her 1,171 points put her in 11th place.  She is two points from passing from Natasha Johnson (1996-00, 1,172 pts.) for 10th and 18 points from from moving ahead Rhoda Chew (1982-85, 1,188 pts.) for ninth.

Both her 352 free throws and 474 free throw attempts rank second on the program's career list.  She trails Cricket Williams (2001-04) in both categories.  Cunnigan is 114 made free throws and 258 free throw attempts from tying Williams in each category. 

She ranks 5th in career free throw percentage (.743) and 8th in career steals (169), tied with Sherry Yult (1990-93). 

Cunnigan ranks 10th in 3-point attempts (223) and makes (71). She is 15 3-point attempts from tying Kim Skaggs (1989-92) and Sherry Yult for ninth place at 238 and is five made 3-pointers from tying Yult for ninth.

She joined Cricket Williams as just the second player in Spartans' history with more than 1,000 points and 300 free throws.

Riana Byrd (So., C, Richmond, Calif.), blocked 64 shots in her freshman campaign and has 19 more this season, is already in fourth place in the program's career blocks list.  She is 55 blocks from tying Lamisha Augustine (2002-06) for third place all-time.


Rebecca Woodberry (Jr., G, Phoenix, Ariz.) who transferred from Nebraska, has found her stroke from long range.  She is 13th in the nation in 3-pointers made per game (3.3) and leads all Mountain West shooters.  Her 39 made 3-pointers are nine more and her 101 3-point attempts are 25 more than her next closest conference rival.

In addition, Woodberry is fifth overall, and first among juniors, in the MW in total rebounding at 7.1 per game. Her 5.5 defensive boards are 3rd in the league.


With five double doubles in just seven games, Jasmine Smith (Fr., F, Burbank, Calif.) ranks among the best in the nation and leads the Mountain West.  She is on of two players in the MW with multiple double doubles and does all her work coming off the bench.


Last year Riana Byrd (So., C, Richmond, Calif.) was the first Spartan to average a double double, 11.4 pts and 10.9 rebs., in 23 years.  In 2013-14 the beat goes on for Byrd. She averaging 9.8 points and 9.8 rebounds.


Classye James (Jr., G, East Palo Alto, Calif.) was hampered by a hip injury all last season but gutted it out in 27 of the team's 30 games.  She averaged 7.6 points, shot just .263 from the field and .183 from behind the arc.  With a summer to heal, James is showing the game that earned her a McDonalds All-American nomination as a senior in high school.  She is averaging 13.6 points, has reached double figure scoring in nine games, including the last six in a row.  Her shooting has improved to .394 (50-for-127) and in 12 games more than 75 percent of the way to her season scoring total from a year ago (163 points in 12 games in 2013-14 vs. 206 in 27 games in 2012-13).


In head coach Jamie Craighead's up tempo offense every player on the roster will get lots of time on the court this season.  Through 11 games, the Spartans had sent the same five out to start each game - Britta Hall (Fr., G, Tualatin, Ore.), Ta'Rea Cunnigan (Jr., G, Winchester, Calif.), Classye James (Jr., G, East Palo Alto, Calif.), Rebecca Woodberry (Jr., G, Phoenix, Ariz.) and Riana Byrd (So., C, Richmond, Calif.).

The first change to the starting line up came in the 12th game of the year, at Nevada (1/1) in the team's conference debut.  Jasmine Smith (Fr., F, Burbank, Calif.) was inserted in place of Hall.

The Last Meeting
San Jose State54
Utah State87
February 9, 2013
Logan, Utah