Women's Hoops Aims For Two In A Row On The Road

San Jose, Calif. - With a 78-70 win at UT Arlington in their last road game, the San Jose State women's basketball team heads to Logan, Utah to begin a stretch of five road games in their next seven and aim to get their second road win of the year this week. 


at. UTAH STATE (12-10, 9-2 WAC)
SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 9, 2013, 7:00 P.M.

Live Stats available at www.sjsuspartans.com
Live video streaming at www.utahstateaggies.com

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.

Ta'Rea Cunnigan (So., G, Winchester, Calif.) has earned Capital One Academic All-District VIII honors, as selected by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) membership.  This is the first year Cunnigan has been eligible for the distinction.

The two-year starter from Chaparral High has a 3.61 cumulative grade-point average while majoring in kinesiology. As one of five Academic All-District VIII award winners, Cunnigan advances to a national ballot as one of 40 candidates eligible for 2013 Academic All-America honors in women's basketball.

To be eligible for Academic All-America consideration, a student-athlete must be enrolled at his/her current institution for at least one year, maintain a cumulative grade-point average of 3.30 or higher on a 4.00 scale, be a starter or key reserve, and have a minimum of sophomore athletics standing at his/her institution.

Scoring has increased from 65.5 to 72.5 ppg.
Field goal percentage has risen from .364 to .381.
3-point FG percentage is up from .255 to .289.
Free throw percentage is up from .715 to .743.
Turnovers allowed are down by four per game.

This week San Jose State leaves its home, at 85 feet above sea level, for the first of three consecutive road games at elevations above 4,000 feet.  San Jose State starts at Utah State (4,534 feet) this Thursday.  Next week they head to Las Cruces, N.M. (4,000 feet) followed by a game at Denver, Colo. (5,183 feet).

The Spartans won their first road game of the season two weeks ago, a 78-70 victory at UT Arlington. 

Starting this week, San Jose State will become road warriors with five of their remaining seven regular-season games being played away from the Event Center.  With every team in the conference automatically qualifying for the WAC Tournament, the Spartans will play a minimum of eight more game, only two of which will be on Walt McPherson Court.

Riana Byrd
(Fr., F, Richmond, Calif.) and Emily Schill (Fr., F, Tecoma, Australia) continue to impress two-thirds of the way through their first college campaigns.

Byrd tied The Event Center's rebound record with 19 against Cal State Northridge (12/1).  It was the second of her 10 double-digit rebounding games this year, the most recent being 18 boards against Seattle U. (1/31).  Overall she leads the conference in blocks, total rebounding and offensive rebounds, is third in defensive boards, eighth in free throw percentage and 17th in scoring.  Nationally she is 43rd in rebounds and 21st in blocks.  Against UTSA (12/31), she equalled another The Event Center record when she had eight steals.

Schill is the 18th leading scorer in the WAC and set the program's freshman scoring record with 36 points against Utah State (1/12).  She is the 12th ranked rebounder in the conference and ripped down a season-best 18 boards against Utah State (1/12).  Each has earned a WAC Player of the Week honor this season.

San Jose State is the only school to have two freshman rank in the top-20 in both scoring, field goal percentage, offensive rebounds and total rebounding in the WAC.  In the categories in which they appear in the top-10, in the WAC, they are the highest ranked freshman in rebounds, FG%, FT%, blocks, offensive and defensive rebounds.

Ta'Rea Cunnigan (So., G, Winchester, Calif.) and Riana Byrd (Fr., F, Richmond, Calif.) are climbing up the San Jose State single season lists for free throws attempted, made and blocks.  Below are where they stand to date:

1.    Brittany Johnson - 158 (2011-12)
2.    Cricket Williams - 152 (2002-03)
3.    Ta'Rea Cunnigan - 140 (2012-13)

1.    Cricket Williams - 240 (2002-03)
4.    Cricket Williams - 205 (2003-04)
5.    Cricket Williams - 197 (2001-02)   
6.    Lora Alexander - 192 (1989-90)
7.    Ta'Rea Cunnigan - 187 (2011-12)

1.    Lamisha Augustine - 58 (2005-06)
2.    Elinor Banks - 55 (1979-80)
3.    Elinor Banks - **53 (1978-79)
       Shauna Ridge - 53 (2008-09)
5.    Riana Byrd - 52 (2012-13)

** - San Jose State freshman record

The Spartans are getting it done in the classroom as well as on the court.  In the Fall 2012 semester the team had a semester GPA of 3.201 and has a cumulative GPA of 3.402.  Both numbers are the highest in program history.

Ta'Rea Cunnigan (So., G, Winchester, Calif.), a kinesiology major with a 3.616 cumulative grade point average, was recently honored as a 2013 Capital One Academic All-District VIII performer and Emily Schill (Fr., F, Tecoma, Australia) was recognized by the Athletics Department for having the team's highest GPA (3.930) for the Fall 2012 semester.

In the Spartans 103-80 win over Utah State (1/12), Emily Schill (Fr., F, Tecoma, Australia) and Ta'Rea Cunnigan (So., G, Winchester, Calif.) combined for 62 points (Schill - 36 & Cunnigan - 26).  In a regulation game, it was the second highest output for teammates this season.

The top two-some are Diamond Ford and Ashley Ezeh of Texas State who scored 66 points (Ford - 40 & Ezeh - 26) on December 29th.  The opponent....San Jose State.

In a list compiled by SIDs 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 Spartans and Idaho Vandals shot nearly identically from the floor, 39.4-to-40.8 percent, respectively, but Idaho hit 14 3-pointers and took an 83-66 victory in The Event Center.  The Idaho win stopped a Spartans four-game home winning streak.

Each team launched 71 shots: Idaho knocking down 29 to the Spartans 28.  But among the Vandals attempts were 37 from 3-point range, a high for a San Jose State opponent.  At the free throw line the Spartans made just 6-of-14, a season-low 42.9 percent.

Each team had four players in double digits, led by Idaho's Christina Salvatore, who scored 19 of her game-high 22 points in the first half.  San Jose State's Emily Schill and Ta'Rea Cunnigan had 14 points each and Cunnigan added 14 rebounds.

San Jose State came out with an eye on stopping Idaho's top scorer, forward Alyssa Charlston.  Classye James was assigned the task of shadowing Charlston and her stifling defense limited the WAC's eighth-leading scorer to just a pair of free throws in the first 20 minutes.

Idaho, leading the conference in 3-point shooting at .332, took what the Spartans gave them and knocked down 10-of-20 3-point attempts in the half.  Salvatore had five and the Spartans trailed 42-36 at the break.

While Idaho was hot from the outside the Spartans dominated the game inside scoring 28 of their 36 first-half points in the paint.  Schill scored eight of her 10 first-half points off layups.

In the first five minutes of the second half, the Vandals put together a 19-to-5 run, which included three 3-pointers and a 3-point play.  They built a 20-point lead and never let the Spartans get any closer than 15 the remainder of the half, en route to the 17-point win.

Joining Cunnigan and Schill in double figures were Riana Byrd with 13 points and nine rebounds and Chereese Thomas who had 12 points, eight rebounds, six assists and five steals.

The Aggies are 10-12 overall and in first place in the conference at 9-2, after sweeping a pair of home games last week.  They defeated at Idaho 81-50 last Thursday before a 67-62 win over Seattle U. on Saturday.  In the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum this year, Utah State is 7-2 overall, 6-0 in conference matchups.

The Aggies are the highest scoring team in the WAC at 75.0 ppg.  They love to shoot from long range having hoisted and made the second most 3-point shots, 506 and 157, respectively.

At 19.9 points, the Aggies are led by the nation's 18th leading and the WAC's number three scorer Devyn Christensen.  Christensen, a senior guard, is the conference's leading free throw shooter at .918.  Jenna Johnson, a senior guard, is also in double digits at 14.0 points per game and leads the team in steals and is grabbing 7.8 rebounds 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 17th meeting between these two programs in which Utah State holds an 11-5 advantage.  With their record setting 103-80 win on January 12, the Spartans snapped the Aggies 10-game winning streak in the series.

In games played at Utah State, San Jose State is 1-6 overall.  The Spartans won the first meeting, 63-51 in 2005-06, but since then Utah State has outscored San Jose State by an average of 68.1-to-56.8 per game and have swept the last six meetings.

Previous Meeting This Season
(103-80 San Jose State win in San Jose, Calif. - 1/12/13)

San Jose State set The Event Center scoring record and equaled the team's all-time scoring mark in a 103-80 win over the Utah State on January 12.

The Spartans bettered the previous Event Center scoring record of 98 points, set against Texas State on December 29.  The scoring mark they equaled, 103 points, was set on December 5, 1980 in a win against San Francisco State.

San Jose State's offense was led by freshman Emily Schill who had a career-night with a freshman scoring-record 36 points and 18 rebounds.  She and Riana Byrd (15 points and 13 rebounds) dominated the paint and contributing to the Spartans a 48-to-26 scoring advantage in points around the bucket.

SJSU outrebounded Utah State 55-to-44.  It's was first game they had an advantage on the boards since they outrebounded Cal State Northridge 47-to-38 on December 1 and their best effort of the season to that point.

Schill and Byrd were two of four San Jose State players who reached double-figure scoring.  Ta'Rea Cunnigan and Jayzyl Tauala had 26 and 11 points, respectively.

The Spartans, who never trailed, built a 10-2 lead in the first four minutes.  The biggest lead was 15 points, 22-7 after a Schill layup with 10:34 to go in the half. 

The difference in the half was San Jose State went to the line 24 times to Utah State's nine.  The Spartans hit 20 of their attempts to the Aggies six and went to their locker rooms with San Jose State up 50-38.

A Makenlee Williams 3-pointer for Utah State cut the Spartans lead to nine with 11:17 to play, 65-56.  But over the next three minutes Schill, Cunnigan and Byrd propelled the Spartans to a 13-to-2 run and a 78-58 lead with 7:37 to go.

Down the stretch San Jose State hit 10-of-13 free throws, finished the night 33-of-40 from the line, and took the 103-80 victory, snapping a three-game slide.

Utah State's offense was paced by Williams' 19-points.  She was one of five Aggies to score in double figures, but as a team they hit just 26-of-87 shots for 29.9 percent shooting.

The 2013 Western Athletic Conference Basketball Tournament will be played at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas, Nev., from March 12 throught 16.

The tournament begins on Tuesday, March 12, as seeds 7-10 play each other.  The quarterfinals will be played on Thursday, March 14, followed by the semifinals on Friday, March 15, and championship game on Saturday, March 16, with the winner earning an automatic berth to the 2013 NCAA Basektball Tournament.