Women's Basketball Opens Mountain West Play At Nevada Then Hosts Utah State

Dec. 30, 2013

Complete Weekly Preview Get Acrobat Reader

With a new year upon them, this week the San José State women's basketball team embarks on its inaugural season in the Mountain West Conference.  The Spartans play at the Nevada Wolf Pack, in Reno, on Wednesday and then host the Utah State Aggies on Saturday on Walt McPherson Court.


GAMES 12 and 13



at Nevada (4-7)

Wednesday, January 1, 6:30 p.m.

Lawlor Events Center, Reno, Nev.


Streaming video available at www.sjsuspartans.com/video


vs. Utah State (6-5)

Saturday, January 4, 2:00 p.m.

The Event Center, San Jose, Calif.


Radio broadcast on 90.5 KSJS-FM and www.ksjs.org

Streaming video available at www.sjsuspartans.com/video


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.


KSJS (90.5 FM, San Jose) originates San José State women's basketball home broadcasts and select road contests. 


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 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.


The Wolf Pack are in their second year in the Mountain West Conference.  They were 8-23 last year, 2-14 in their first season in the MW. 

Nevada broke a 3-game slide with a 77-66 win at Santa Barbara (12/21).  They are 3-4 at home this season., but have dropped 3 of their last four on their own court.

Danika Sharpe, a senior guard, is the team's leading scorer (13.3 pts) and one of three player averaging double figures. Sophomore guard Terilyn Moe is at 12.5 points per outing and Mimi Mungedi, a 6' 8"junior center, scores 11.9 points and has blocked 26 shots but despite her size averages just 5.9 rebounds per game.

Head coach Jane Albright is in her seventh season leading the Wolf Pack program.  She brought a 469-399 career and 72-87 UNR record into the 2013-14 season.

This will be the 45th time these programs have met, with the Spartans holding a 24-20 advantage in the series.  San José State won each of the last two meetings, 86-79 in Reno and 70-63 on Walt McPherson Court.  Both games were in the 2011-12 season and the win in the Lawlor Event Center ended a six-year, 44-game conference road losing streak for the Spartans.  


The Aggies, along with the Spartans, are in their first year in the Mountain West Conference.  They were 18-14 last year, 14-4 in their last season in the Western Athletic Conference. 

Utah State (6-5) have dropped four of their last five games, including a 86-81 loss to the College Of Idaho (12/28).  They host Air Force in their MW conference opener (1/1) before visiting The Event Center on Saturday (1/4). The Aggies are 2-4 away from home this season.

Jennifer Schlott, a senior guard, leads the team and the conference in scoring (24.8 pts) .  Sophomore guard Makenlee Williams and junior forward Franny Vaaulu also score in double figures (18.0 pts. and 10.5 pts. respectively).

Head coach Jerry Finkbeiner is in his second season leading the Utah State program.  He brought a 492-257 career-record into the 2013-14 season.

This will be the 18th meeting between these programs, with the Aggies holding a 12-5 lead in the all-time series.  In the meeting in San Jose last year, the Spartans equaled the program's single game scoring record in a 103-80 victory.  Emily Schill dropped 36-points on Utah State to set a San José State freshman single-game scoring record.


Prior to the 2013-14 season, the San José State women's basketball team has been a member of five leagues - the NorCal (1977-82), NorPac (1983-86), PCAA (1987-88), Big West (1989-96) and the WAC (1997-2013).

In 36 conference openers the Spartans are 16-20.  In home games to open a conference schedule they are 8-7 and 8-13 in road openers.

SJSU has dropped its last four conference road openers.  The last time the team won on the road in a league opener was in 2005-06, a 63-51 win at Utah State.

The Spartans have met the Wolf Pack three times in conference openers and have yet to lose.  The only time the teams met in Reno was in 2003-04, a 70-63 Spartans win.


Averaging 84.4 points per game, the Spartans are the top scoring team in the Mountain West Conference and rank 16th in the nation.   Just three years ago, the team was averaging less than 48 ppg., that's an increase of more than 36 points per game.

San José State has four players among the top-16 scorers in the league, the most of any team. Ta'Rea Cunnigan (Jr., G, Winchester, Calif.) ranks 2nd at 19.3 ppg.  Rebecca Woodberry (Jr., G, Phoenix, Ariz.) is 6th (15.4 ppg), Classye James (Jr., G, East Palo Alto, Calif.) is 10th (13.8 ppg) and Jasmine Smith (Fr., F, Burbank, Calif.) ranks 16th (12.4 ppg)


Riana Byrd (So., C, Richmond, Calif.), Jasmine Smith (Fr., F, Burbank, Calif.) at 8.4 rebounds and Rebecca Woodberry (Jr., G, Phoenix, Ariz.) at 7.1 rebounds are a one-three-five punch when it comes to rebounding in the Mountain West. 

Byrd is the only player in the MW in double digits in rebounding (10.3/g) and ranks 37th in the nation.  The three have combined for 13 double-digit rebounding efforts led by Byrd's six.


After little more than two seasons, Ta'Rea Cunnigan (Jr., G, Winchester, Calif.) is already in the top-10 of four San José State career categories.  Her 1,154 points put her in 12th place.  She is 11 points from passing Tatiana Taylor (2001-04, 1,165 pts.) for 11th on the career list, 18 from Natasha Johnson (1996-00, 1,172 pts.) for 10th and 34 points from Rhoda Chew (1982-85, 1,188 pts.) for ninth.

Her 342 free throws and 461 free throw attempts rank second and fourth, respectively.  She is 6 attempts from passing Karen Mason (1978-81, 467 FTA) for 3rd, and 12 from moving ahead of Sayja Summler (2008-11, 473 FTA) for 2nd. 

She ranks 5th in career free throw percentage (.742) and 9th in career steals (167), two behind Sherry Yult (1090-93, 169) for 8th.  Cunnigan ranks 10th in 3-point attempts (220) and makes (70).

Cunnigan is 18 3-point attempts from tying Kim Skaggs (1989-92) and Sherry Yult (1990-93) for ninth place at 238 and is six made 3-pointers from tying Yult for ninth.

She joins Cricket Williams (2001-04) as just the second player in Spartans' history with more than 1,000 points and 300 free throws.

Riana Byrd (So., C, Richmond, Calif.), blocked 64 shots in her freshman campaign and has 16 more this season, is already in fifth place in the program's career blocks list.  She is three blocks from tying Debbie Johnson (1979-80, 1982) for fourth place all-time.


Rebecca Woodberry (Jr., G, Phoenix, Ariz.) who transferred from Nebraska, has found her stroke from long range.  She is eighth in the nation in 3-pointers made per game (3.5) and leads all Mountain West shooters by 1.0 3-pointer made per game.  Her 38 made 3-pointers are 11 more and her 101 3-point attempts are 25 more than her next closest conference rival.

In addition, Woodberry is fifth overall, and first among juniors, in the MW in total rebounding at 7.1 per game. Her 5.5 defensive boards are 3rd in the league.


With five double doubles in just seven games, Jasmine Smith (Fr., F, Burbank, Calif.) ranks 37th in the nation and leads the Mountain West.  She is on of two players in the MW with multiple double doubles and does all her work coming off the bench.


Last year Riana Byrd (So., C, Richmond, Calif.) was the first Spartan to average a double double, 11.4 pts and 10.9 rebs., in 23 years.  In 2013-14 the beat goes on for Byrd. She averaging 9.7 points and10.3 rebounds.


Classye James (Jr., G, East Palo Alto, Calif.) was hampered by a hip injury all last season but gutted it out all year.  She averaged 7.6 points and shot just .263 from the field and .183 from behind the arc.  With a summer to heal, James is showing the game that earned her a McDonalds All-American nomination as a senior in high school.  She is averaging 13.8 points, has reached double figure scoring in eight games.  Her shooting has improved to .395 (45-for-114) and in 11 games is nearly 75 percent of the way to her season scoring total from a year ago (152 points in 11 games in 2013-14 vs. 206 in 27 games in 2012-13).


In head coach Jamie Craighead's up tempo offense every player on the roster will get lots of time on the court this season, but through 11 games this season, the Spartans have sent the same five out to start each game - Britta Hall (Fr., G, Tualatin, Ore.), Ta'Rea Cunnigan (Jr., G, Winchester, Calif.), Classye James (Jr., G, East Palo Alto, Calif.), Rebecca Woodberry (Jr., G, Phoenix, Ariz.) and Riana Byrd (So., C, Richmond, Calif.).