San Jose, Calif. – The San José State women's basketball team makes its 2014-15 debut on Walt McPherson Court in an exhibition game against the UC Santa Cruz Banana Slugs on Sunday, November 9 at 2:00 p.m. in The Event Center.
After posting an 11-19 record a year ago, head coach Jamie Craighead enters her second season leading the program with eight returning letterwinners, four transfers and two freshmen.
Senior guard Ta’Rea Cunnigan, who was selected to the Mountain West Preseason All-Conference Team for the second time, leads the Spartans. She averaged 18.4 points, 4.4 rebounds and 2.8 assists last season and earned honorable mention All-Mountain West Conference honors. Cunnigan stands 265 points from becoming the program’s all-time leading scorer and 272 points from reaching the school’s all-time scoring mark (women or men).
Jasmine Smith, earned Mountain West All-Freshman Team selection in 2013-14, after averaging 10.7 points and 7.7 rebounds. She ranked second in the conference in offensive rebounds, third in total rebounds, seventh in field goal percentage and ninth in defensive rebounds.
Rebecca Woodberry, a senior forward, led the team and conference in 3-pointers and finished the year ranked 12th nationally. Woodberry set the program’s single-season record with 90 treys last year and after just one season is eighth on the San José State career 3-point list.
Junior post Riana Byrd averaged 8.5 points, 9.5 rebounds, 1.5 blocks and 1.3 assists leading the team in defensive and total rebounds as well as blocks. She finished 2013-14 second in the Mountain West in total rebounds and defensive boards (6.1/g), first in offensive rebounds (3.4/g) and third in blocks.
The Spartans return two other letterwinners, who sat out last season due to injury, guard Chereese Thomas and forward Emily Schill.
The San José State has four transfer students. They are Aniya Baker and Emily Vann, who redshirted last season, Ellie Stevens, who spent two years at Lamar (Colo.) Community College, and Nyre Harris who will be available after the completion of the fall semester.
Baker, a sophomore point guard, and Vann, a junior forward, come to San José State after beginning their collegiate careers at UC Davis. Baker earned 2013 Big West All-Freshman Team selection after finishing second on the squad in assists and third in steals despite coming off the bench in each of her 27 appearances. Prior to her two years at UC Davis, Vann was a McDonald’s High School All-American nominee who led her team to two CIF Division IV State Championship games.
Stevens, a junior forward, was a two-time All-South Region XI performer and averaged 15.6 points, 5.6 rebounds and 3.0 steals last season. Harris transferred from Arizona and is a junior. She graduated from Lincoln High School in Stockton, Calif., where she was an ESPNW 4-star prospect and a three-time Stockton Record All-Area selection.
A pair of freshmen round out the roster. Guard Myzhanique Ladd was named Ms. Basketball in the state of Washington last year after leading her Cleveland High School (Seattle, Wash.) team to its second straight Class 3A state championship. Ali Bettencourt, also a guard, led Oak Ridge High School (El Dorado Hills, Calif.) with 11.8 points, 2.3 assists, 3.8 rebounds and 2.8 steals per game last year. Bettencourt was named an All-Delta River League and Sacramento Bee All-Metro honoree after both her junior and senior seasons.