San Jose, Calif. - Locked into the eight/nine game in next week's Mountain West Tournament, the San José State women's basketball team is in Las Vegas, to take on the UNLV Rebels in the final game of the 2014-15 regular season.
at UNLV (13-15, 10-7 MW)
Friday, March 5, 5:00 p.m. (PT)
Cox Pavilion, Las Vegas, Nev
Streaming video is available on the Spartan Digital Network at www.sjsuspartans.com/video
Live stats available at www.sjsuspartans.com
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.
2,000 POINTS WITHIN RANGE
Ta'Rea Cunnigan (Sr., G, Winchester, Calif.), San José State's career-scoring leader, currently sits at 1,977 points. She is 23 points from 2,000 for her career. The Spartans have a minimum of two games left in the season and if Cunnigan continues to score at her current clip, 17.1 ppg, she would reach the 2,000-point plateau in the team's first game of the 2015 Reese's Mountain West Basketball Tournament.
SINGLE-SEASON SCORING MARK IS THREATENED
The 2013-14 edition of the Spartans were the most prolific scoring team in program history. They surpassed the 2,300-point mark for the first time finishing the year with 2,308 points, an average 76.9 points per game. The 2014-15 Spartans are on pace to top last year's mark. The team has scored 2,182 points through 28 games, an average of 77.9 per game. At this pace, and with a minimum of two games left on the schedule, the team will break the program's single-season scoring record in the first game of the 2015 Mountain West Basketball Tournament.
BYRD THREE BLOCKS FROM PROGRAM'S CAREER RECORD
With a pair of first-half blocked shots against Colorado State (2/25), Riana Byrd (Jr., F, Richmond, Calif.) moved past Rhoda Chew's (148 blocks from 1982-85) for second place on the program's career shot blocks list. After two blocks at Boise State (3/3), Byrd has turned away 153 shots in 87 career games. She is three blocks from equaling San José State's all-time leader Elinor Banks' (1978-81), who rejected 156 shot attempts in her Spartans career.
PUTTING UP POINTS
The 2014-15 Spartans are one of the highest scoring teams in the nation and have led the Mountain West from the opening week of the season. The Spartans currently rank 11th (77.9 ppg) in the nation and last week dropped out of the top-10 in the nation for the first time this year. For parts of four weeks, from December 6 through December 23, San José State was the top scoring team in the nation.
HELLO 12 WINS
With the Spartans victory at Nevada (2/7), for the fourth consecutive year, the team reached the 11-win mark. However, in the past three years, they ended the season with that total. With its win against Nevada (2/28) the team picked up its 12th win of the season. The last time San José State won more than 11 games in a year came in 2005-06, when they went 13-15. The team still has the opportunity to reach and/or pass the 2005-06 total in its, at least two, remaining games.
BYRD BOUNDS UP THE REBOUND LIST
With six rebounds versus Boise State (1/21) Riana Byrd (Jr., F, Richmond, Calif.) secured third place on San José State's career rebounding list. To date, Byrd has ripped down 793 rebounds in 87 games (9.2/g). She began the season in ninth place with 603 career boards and has moved up six spots, but she has some work to do to reach Rhoda Chew (946 rebounds from 1982-85) in second place.
At her current pace, Byrd would finish her career as just the second Spartan to reach the 1,000-point/1,000-rebound plateau. She would join Elinor Banks (1,672 points/1,062 rebounds - 1978-81) as the only players in program history to reach the milestone.
SPARTANS SNAP OVERTIME JINX
With its 80-77 overtime win at Nevada (2/7), the Spartans snapped a five-game losing streak in games which could not be decided in regulation. Before the game in Reno, the last time San José State had won an overtime contest was in the 2004-05 season, when it defeated SMU 63-62 in overtime.
This season the Spartans have lost three times in overtime, at Utah (100-87), at Colorado (97-89) and vs. UNLV (72-68). In the history of the program, which began in the 1974-75 season, the Spartans have played in 23 overtime contests and have an 11-12 record in those games.
CUNNIGAN SAN JOSÉ STATE HOOPS CAREER SCORING LEADER
With 25 points versus Boise State (1/21), Ta'Rea Cunnigan (Sr., G, Winchester, Calif.) moved past Ricky Berry (1,767 points from 1986-88) to assume ownership of the school's all-time scoring record. Just a game before, at Colorado State (1/17), she passed Karen Mason (1,760 points from 1978-81) to become San José State women's basketball's all-time leading scorer. Entering the game against Fresno State, Cunnigan has 1,958 points...and counting.
Cunnigan drained a 3-pointer with 15:47 to play in the first half to pass Berry and assume the all-time scoring lead. She became the 51st woman in Division I to top her school's career scoring list (men's and women's), according to records available from NCAA member institutions. Among the 51, she is the fifth woman at a Mountain West school to lead her institution in career scoring.
PRESSURE...SPARTANS 16TH IN STEALS & 11TH IN THE NCAA IN TURNOVER MARGIN
Through 28 games the Spartans have one of the most impressive pressure defenses in the nation. SJSU has forced its opponents to turn the ball over 580 times and in those, made 316 steals. San José State has made those opponent miscues pay off to the tune of a 546-346 advantage in points off turnovers. Nationally, the team ranks 11th in turnover margin at 6.11 and 16th in steals per game nabbing 11.3 per game. The team leads the Mountain West in both categories.
FIRST OFF THE BENCH
Rachol West (So., F, Bakersfield, Calif.) has nearly doubled her per game scoring average, from 3.3 to 6.5. It took West just 12 games to surpass her 29-game point total from a year ago. She ranks second on the team in 3-pointers (36) and is the leading shooter from distance (.343). A 19-point outburst against Sacramento State (12/22) in which she drained 5-of-8 treys and grabbed five rebounds in just 19 minutes of work earned her first Mountain West Women's Basketball Player of the Week honor.
CUNNIGAN AMONG ACTIVE CAREER LEADERS IN THE NCAA
Among Division I women's basketball players, Ta'Rea Cunnigan (Sr., G, Winchester, Calif.) ranks second free throws made (530) and free throws attempted (730). She is 15th in steals (255). Her 1,668 field goal attempts are 13th most among active women players and she ranked 18th in field goals (657). Her 16.7/g career scoring average is the 21st highest among current players. Finally, Cunnigan is the third leading scorer among active players with 1,977 career points.
SPARTANS RANK 25th IN THE NATION IN 3-POINTERS
San José State is hitting an average of 7.9 shots from beyond the arc per game, which ranks 25th in the nation and is third in the Mountain West, but taking and hitting threes are nothing new under head coach Jamie Craighead.
With 245 made 3-pointers and 793 attempts, the 2013-14 Spartans shattered the program's previous marks in each category. The previous record of 146 3-pointers in the 27 games (1999-00) was equaled in just 20 games (at UNLV 1/29) last season. In addition, they passed the previous record for attempts in a season (493 in 29 games in 2000-01) in that same game. Both marks set Mountain West Conference records as well.
The Rebels are 10-7 in Mountain West play after a 76-61 road loss at San Diego State on Tuesday. They are currently outside the top-five and qualifying for a bye in the first round of next weeks Mountain West Tournament. The team enters its match-up against the Spartans with an overall record of 13-15. They are averaging 67.1 ppg in home conference games and are 6-2 in those match ups.
UNLV is under the direction of eighth-year head coach Kathy Olivier. Entering the 2014-15 season, Olivier had a 85-104 record at UNLV and a 21-year total of 317-312.
The Rebels' offense is led by senior guard Danielle Miller, who tops the squad in points (18.4/g) and steals (2.2/g). Alana Cesarz, a senior forward, is the only other player in double figures at 15.3 points per game and leads in rebounds (7.5/g). Junior Center Aley Rohde is rebounding at an 7.1/g clip and leads the team with just over a block a game.
This will be the 33rd meeting between these programs in which the Rebels own a dominant 29-3 advantage.