Women's Basketball Hosts Utah State On Saturday

San Jose, Calif. - The San Jose State women's basketball team opens its longest Western Athletic Conference homestand, three games, against the Utah State Aggies on Saturday in The Event Center.


vs. UTAH STATE (6-9, 3-1 WAC)
SATURDAY, JANUARY 12, 2013, 2:00 P.M.

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KSJS (90.5 FM, San Jose) originates San Jose State women's basketball home broadcasts. 

Tickets for San Jose 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).  A "Spartan 4-Pack", four tickets to any game and fans of any age for $15.00.

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 doubleheaders.

Parking for all San Jose 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.

In 15 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.  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 19.9 point average and has hit double figures in 14 of 15 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 66.5 points per game.  That is good fourth in the WAC. 

Since head coach Tim La Kose took over the progam last season, the scoring per game has risen by nearly 20 points per game (46.8-to-66.5).

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 12.8 takeaways a game.

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 3.53 steals, second in the conference.  Riana Byrd (Fr., F, Richmond, Calif.) and Classye James (So., G, Palo Alto, Calif.), eighth and ninth in the conference, are are averaging 2.07 and 2.00 steals per game, respectively. 

On a national stage, Cunnigan is 14th-best at picking 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 9.7 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, 18th in scoring and leads the WAC in blocks and defensive rebounds.  Nationally she is 52nd in rebounds and 21st in blocks.  Against UTSA (12/31), she equalled another The Event Center record when she had eight steals.

Schill, at 9.8 points per game, is the 20th leading scorer in the WAC.  She is the 13th ranked rebounder in the WAC, 6.7 rebounds per game, giving the Spartans two rebounders in the top-10.

San Jose State is the only school to have two freshman rank in the top-20 in both scoring and rebounding in the WAC.

Ta'Rea Cunnigan (So., G, Winchester, Calif.) reached a couple of career milestones earlier this year.  In an 18-point effort against Southern Utah (12/08), she score her 500th career point and just five games later, against UTSA (12/31), she reached 600 career-points.  Cunnigan enters the week at 646 points in 45 career games, a 14.3 point average.  Nationally, she is the 24th ranked scorer at 19.9 points per game this season.

With six steals against Santa Clara (12/12), Cunnigan passed the 100-career steals mark and now stands at 113-career steals.  And entering this week she is four assists shy of the 100-assist plateau.

On December 29, the Spartans set The Event Center women's basketball scoring record and a season-high with 98 points in a 98-96 win over Texas State.

It was the fourth-highest point total for a Spartans team in the 37-year history of the program.  The most points in a game for San Jose State came on December 5, 1980, in a 103-69 defeat of San Francisco State.  The Spartans only other foray into triple digits came in a 111-100 overtime-loss to Sacramento State (12/10/93).  The only other game in which San Jose State scored more than 98 points was in a 99-44 win over Arizona on January 4, 1979.

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 Seattle University Redhawks shot 48 percent (15-for-31) in the second half to pull away and defeat San Jose State  72-60 in a Western Athletic Conference matchup on Saturday, January 5, in the Connolly Center.

The teams played nearly even through the first 20 minutes and went to the locker rooms with the Redhawks clinging to a 35-32 advantage.

After an Ashley Ward 3-pointer gave Seattle a 33-18 lead with 3:56 to go before the break, the Spartans closed the half on a 15-to-3 spurt.  Ta'Rea Cunnigan, who finished with a game-high 23 points, and Jayzyl Tauala keyed the run each scoring a 3-pointer and two free throws.

Opening the second half, Riana Byrd picked up three fouls in less than three minutes and had to go to the bench.  Seattle took advantage of the situation working the ball inside to Kacie Sowell, who led her team with 19 points.  She made 9-of-12 shots and grabbed 10 rebounds.

The game was still in reach with nine and a half minutes to play 54-42, but Classye James, Emily Schill and Byrd each picked up their fourth fouls within a minute of each other and Seattle pushed the lead to 62-42 with 6:42 to play.

Over the next three minutes the Spartans cut the advantage to 64-54, but Byrd, who had 15 points and 10 rebounds in the game, and Schill fouled out.  Seattle used its inside size to close out the game 72-60.  Fourteen of the Redhawks 15 buckets in the second half came in the paint and they had a slight advantage on the boards 51-to-45.

In addition to Sowell, Seatttle had two other players in double figures.  Ashley Ward had 14 points and Brenda Adhiambo finished with 13.

The Aggies are 6-9 overall and 3-1 in conference play, after splitting a pair of road games last week.  They lost at Seattle 71-68 in overtime before defeating Idaho 91-85.  On the road this year, Utah State is 2-7 overall, 1-1 in conference matchups.

The Aggies are being outscored by 4.9 points per game (73.5-to-78.5).  They love to shoot from long range having hoisted a league-high 368 3-point shots and making 116.  They second in the conference in 3-pointers made per game at 7.73 and are third in 3-point field goal percentage at .315.

At 21.1 points, the Aggies are led by the nation's 10th leading and the WAC's top scorer Devyn Christensen, a senior guard.  Christensen is also the conference's leading free throw shooter at .953.  Jenna Johnson, a senior guard, is also in double digits at 13.9 points per game and leads the team in steals and rebounding at 6.9 per game.

Jerry Finkbeiner is in his first season leading the Utah State women's basketball program.  He has a 454-232 overall record in 22 years as a collegiate head coach; 16 at Oral Roberts and six at Southern Nazarene.

This will be the 16th meeting between these two programs in which Utah State holds an 11-4 advantage.  After the Spartans won four of the first five matchups, the Aggies are riding a 10-game winning streak.

In games contested in The Event Center, San Jose State is 3-5 against the Aggies.  Utah State is outscoring the Spartans 64.5-to-61.9 (2.6 ppg) overall in San Jose, but in the last five meetings, all Aggies wins, the margin jumps to 14.4 points (68.8-to-54.4).