Women's Hoops Opens MW Play Hosting Utah State

Paris Baird and the Spartans host Utah State on New Year's Eve to open MW play.
Dec. 29, 2014

San Jose State Game Notes Get Acrobat Reader

Utah State Game Notes Get Acrobat Reader


San Jose, Calif. - Entering conference play for just the third time since the 2004-05 season with six wins and a winning record, the San José State women's basketball team hosts the Utah State Aggies in each team's Mountain West opener on New Years Eve in The Event Center.

GAME 12
vs. Utah State (3-9)
Wednesday, December 31, 7:00 p.m.
The Event Center, San Jose, Calif.
 
Streaming video is available on the Spartan Digital Network at www.sjsuspartans.com/video
Live stats available at www.sjsuspartans.com

LIVE STATS

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.

VIDEO STREAMING

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.

SOCIAL MEDIA

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.

RADIO COVERAGE

Fans across the nation can now listen to every Spartans' women's home game via Stretch Internet Radio. KSJS-FM (90.5 FM, San Jose) also originates home broadcasts and select road contests. 

WOMEN'S BASKETBALL TICKETS

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

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.

WEST NAMED MOUNTAIN WEST PLAYER OF THE WEEK

Rachol West (So., F, Bakersfield, Calif.) has earned the Mountain West Women's Basketball Player of the Week honor for games played from December 22-28.

West, a sophomore out of Garces Memorial High School in Bakersfield, Calif., led the Spartans with a career-high 19 points in a 102-94 defeat of Sacramento State last Monday.

In 19 minutes off the bench, West went 7-for-13 from the floor (53.8 percent) including 5-for-8 (62.5 percent) from beyond the three-point line.  She also grabbed five rebounds, dished out one assists and made one steal in the win. 

Trailing 53-43 at the half, the team opened the second period with a 16-5 run capped by a three-pointer by West to put San José State in the lead, 59-58. Her fourth three of the game pushed the Spartan advantage to 65-60 with 14:40 to play and her career-best fifth three-pointer, with 5:02 left in the game, gave the Spartans a 10-point lead, 89-79.

This is the first Mountain West Conference Player of the Week honor of West's career and the first for a Spartan this season.

OFFENSE...WE GOT OFFENSE...IT LEADS THE NATION!

The Spartans are scoring at a 90.5 points per game clip, which is the highest scoring average in the nation.  San José State is scoring among the elites of women's college basketball with likes of No. 2 UConn (89.9 ppg), No. 6 Baylor (89.5 ppg), DePaul (88.8 ppg), and No. 4 Notre Dame (87.0 ppg) in the top-5. 

Against Columbia (11/16) the team set a program and conference record for points in a game, when they dropped 119 on the Lions, which is the fourth highest single-game point total in the NCAA this year.  The Spartans have eclipsed 100 points in a game three times this year and have come away with a victory each time.

CAN YOU HANDLE PRESSURE...SPARTANS 4TH IN THE NCAA IN TURNOVER MARGIN

Through 11 games the Spartans have shown an inkling of what their pressure defense is capable.  SJSU has forced its opponents to turn the ball over 261 times and in those, made 136 steals.  San José State made those opponent miscues pay off to the tune of a 278-144 advantage in points off turnovers.  Nationally, the team ranks fourth in turnover margin at +8.82 and 15th in steals per game grabbing 12.4 per game.

SHARING IS CARING...SAN JOSE STATE RANKS 33RD NATIONALLY IN ASSISTS

At 16.9 assists per game the Spartans are ranked second in the Mountain West Conference and are 33rd in the nation.  Aniya Baker (So, PG, Perris, Calif.) leads the team with 4.6 assists per game, which is good for third among MW performers and 69th nationally.  Chereese Thomas (Gr., PG, Dublin, Calif.) is also in the top-10 in the conference, eighth, at 3.1 assists per outing.

THREES ARE THERE FOR THE TAKING...SJSU IS 10TH IN THE NATION IN MADE 3-POINTERS

San José State is hitting an average of 8.6 shots from beyond the arc per game, which ranks 10th in the nation and tops 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. 

MY OH, MYZHANIQUE

Myzhanique Ladd (Fr., G, Seattle, Wash.), the 2013-14 Ms. Basketball in the state of Washington, leads the Spartan freshman with a 7.7 ppg average and has earned starts in nine of the team's 11 games this year.  She ranks third among all conference freshman in scoring and has reached double figures in scoring four times this year including in three of her first four games.

SMITH, WEST & BAKER IN TOP-5 FOR SOPHOMORE SCORING

Among sophomores in the Mountain West Conference, the Spartans have three of the top five scorers as we head into conference play.  Jasmine Smith (So., F, Burbank, Calif.) ranks second at 11.4 points per game.  Her scoring average is up just over half a point a game (10.8 ppg in 2013-14), but she is doing it in seven fewer minutes per game (down from 23 per game last year to 16 per game this year).

Rachol West (So., F, Bakersfield, Calif.) ranks fourth with an 8.2 points per game average.  West is coming off the best offensive performance of her career, a 19-point outburst against Sacramento State in which she drained 5-of-8 3-point attempts and grabbed five rebounds in just 19 minutes of work.

Aniya Baker's (So., PG, Perris, Calif.) 7.7 points a game is the fifth most among conference sophomores.  Baker, in her first season as a regular starter, has nearly doubled her freshman scoring average on 4.1 points.  She has increased her shooting percentage from the field, 3-point range and from the free throw line over her freshman campaign while playing at UC Davis.

NEW YEAR'S EVE NO CELEBRATION FOR SPARTANS

Its match-up against Utah State on New Year's Eve will be the fourth time in program history that the Spartans have played on December 31.  In its three previous attempts, San José State is 0-3.  On 12/13/1985 they lost at Santa Clara 60-45.  It was a 61-47 loss to Brown on 12/31/11 and a 57-54 defeat by UTSA on 12/31/12.

CAREER FREE THROW RECORD FALLS IN UC DAVIS WIN

By hitting each of her six free throw attempts in the Spartans win over UC Davis (12/10), Ta'Rea Cunnigan (Sr., G, Winchester, Calif.) set a new San José State career free throw record.  Cunnigan passed Cricket Williams (466 from 2001-04) to establish the new record 471...and counting.  Currently, Cunnigan's 473 made free throws are the record for the school (men's or women's program)and the most by any active women's basketball player in the NCAA.  She glided past the men's record, Adrian Oliver's 442 free throws from 2009-11, in the team's win at UC Irvine (11/22).

CUNNIGAN NEARS SAN JOSÉ STATE SCORING RECORDS

Ta'Rea Cunnigan (Sr., G, Winchester, Calif.) ranks fourth on the program's career scoring list with 1,669 points.  She enters the game against Utah State 91 points behind all-time women's scoring champion Karen Mason (1,760 points from 1978-81) and 98 behind Ricky Berry (1,767 points from 1986-88) for the school's all-time record.

More immediately, she is closing in on Elinor Banks (1,672 points from 1978-81)for third place on the program's career scoring list.  Just past Banks is Cricket Williams (1,676 points from 2001-04), who occupies second place.  Then Cunnigan will begin a final assault on the women's and then the school's all-time records.

EVERYBODY BRINGS SOMETHING TO THE PARTY!

In 2014-15, San José State is getting production up and down its lineup.  Each of the 11 Spartans who have played in the first 11 games is averaging double-digit minutes.   The bench has scored 393 of the team's 995 points; 39% of the total production.  In four of its games, those 11 have been in the scoring column and in six of the other seven nine players have scored. 

Nyre Harris (Jr., G, Stockton, Calif.) completed her year in residency at the conclusion of the fall term.  In the two games she has played, Harris is averaging 19.5 minutes and 4.0 points.

CUNNIGAN ABOUT TO TAKE THE NEXT STEP UP IN ANOTHER CAREER CATEGORY

In addition to the scoring record, in which Ta'Rea Cunnigan (Sr., G, Winchester, Calif.) is three points from third place (Elinor Banks - 1,672) and seven from second  (Cricket Williams - 1,676), she is poised to move up a spot on another career list very shortly. 

Cunnigan is two 3-pointers from Cricket Williams for sixth place on the 3-pointers made list (114). 

With her steal at USF, Cunnigan moved into fourth place on the all-time steals list (227) passing Kari Steele (226 from 1994-97).  Finally, she passed Hulett Brooks (1,383 from 1990, 1992-94) for fifth place on the career field goal attempts.  Cunnigan has attempted 1,408 shots in her Spartans career.

CUNNIGAN AMONG ACTIVE CAREER LEADERS IN THE NCAA

Among Division I women's basketball players, Ta'Rea Cunnigan (Sr., G, Winchester, Calif.) ranks first free throws made (473) and second in free throw attempts (639).  She is eighth in steals (227) and field goals (542).  Her 1,408 field goal attempts are 11th most among active women players and her 16.5/g career scoring average is the 14th highest among current players.  Finally, Cunnigan is the seventh leading scorer among active players with 1,669 career points.

SCOUTING UTAH STATE

The Aggies enter conference play on a three-game skid after falling in double overtime to BYU in its last game 62-58.  The team finished with a 3-9 non-conference mark having lost each of its eight road games this year.

Utah State is under the direction of third-year head coach Jerry Finkbeiner.  He brought a 507-272 record in 25 years as collegiate head coach into 2014-15.  In two seasons in Logan his teams have a combined record of 33-30.

The Aggies offense is led by freshman guard Funda Nakkasoglu, who tops the squad in points (14.3/g) and assists (3.6/g). Elise Nelson, a senior guard, leads the team with 6.3 rebounds per game.  Juniors Makenlee Williams and Jennifer Bairstow left the team four games ago.  Williams was the leading scorer for the Aggies (14.4/g) and Bairstow was a solid contributor off the bench averaging 6.4 point per game.  Utah State is currently traveling with nine players.

This will be the 20th meeting between these programs in which the Aggies hold a dominant 14-5 advantage.  In games played in San Jose, USU holds a 6-4 advantage, and have won six of the last seven in the The Event Center. The Aggies defeated San José State last year 78-65 on Walt McPherson Court.