This Week in WAC Women's Basketball - Feb. 5
Denver senior guard Emiko Smith has been named Western Athletic Conference Women’s Basketball Player of the Week for the week of Jan. 28-Feb. 3. This is her first-ever WAC Player of the Week honor.
The Los Angeles native led Denver to a 2-0 record last week with a pair of wins over UTSA and Texas State. Smith opened the week with a team-high 15 points to go along with four rebounds, four assists and a steal against the Roadrunners. She followed it up with a rare points-assists double-double of 12 points and 11 assists to go along with four rebounds and two steals against the Bobcats. For the week, Smith averaged 13.5 points, 7.5 assists, 4.0 rebounds and 1.5 steals. She shot 56 percent from the field, 40 percent from three-point range and 83 percent from the free throw line.
Other nominees included: Lulu Perry of Louisiana Tech averaged 17.5 points on 61 percent shooting, 3.5 rebounds and 2.0 as the Lady Techsters went 1-1 on the week ... New Mexico State’s Stefanie Gilbreath averaged 19.0 points, 3.5 rebounds and 1.5 steals as the Aggies went 0-2 on the week ... Kacie Sowell of Seattle U averaged 16.5 points and 11.0 rebounds as the Redhawks went 0-2 on the week ... UTSA’s Ashley Spaletta averaged 13.0 points and 3.0 rebounds as the Roadrunners went 1-1 on the week ... Erin Peoples of Texas State averaged 13.5 points and 11.5 rebounds as the Bobcats went 1-1 on the week ... Utah State’s Devyn Christensen averaged 20.5 points, 3.0 steals and 1.5 rebounds per game as the Aggies went 2-0 on the week.
CUNNIGAN EARNS ACADEMIC ALL-DISTRICT HONORS
San Jose State sophomore Ta’Rea Cunnigan has earned Capital One Academic All-District VIII honors as selected by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA). A native of Winchester, Calif., the two-year starter 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. Cunnigan ranks in the top 15 nationally in points and steals, is the only player in the WAC and one of just four sophomores in the nation named to an Academic All-District team.
CHRISTENSEN CLOSES IN ON USU CAREER SCORING RECORD
With her game-winning three-pointer with eight seconds remaining against Prairie View A&M on Nov. 20, Devyn Christensen became the seventh member of the 1,000-point club at Utah State. The senior currently has 1,345 career points, good for second place all-time at Utah State and just eight points shy of the record.
FIVE OVERTIME GAMES MIDWAY THROUGH WAC PLAY
Midway through the WAC season, there have been five overtime games in conference play. There were two overtime games during WAC play in all of 2011-12, while the high for this century is six overtime games during the 2003-04 WAC season.
THREE WAC PLAYERS RANK IN TOP 20 NATIONALLY IN SCORING
Three WAC players – Diamond Ford of Texas State, San Jose State’s Ta’Rea Cunnigan and Devyn Christensen of Utah State – rank in the top 20 nationally in scoring. Ford averages 21.2 points per game, good for 11th place, while Cunnigan is 12th with a 21.0 average and Christensen is 20th (19.8).
WAC STAT LEADERS
Seattle U leads the WAC in field goal percentage (40.6), rebounding defense (36.2), rebounding margin (4.6) and assists (15.8). Idaho tops the WAC in three-point field goal percentage (33.5), rebounding (43.1), blocks (4.5) and three-pointers per game (8.5). UTSA leads the WAC in scoring defense (54.7), scoring margin (4.2), field goal percentage defense (35.2) and turnover margin (2.73). Utah State leads the league in scoring (75.0), free throw percentage (80.2) and steals (13.5). Meanwhile, Texas State is tops in the WAC in three-point field goal percentage defense (29.3) and assist-turnover ratio (0.93).
Individually, Texas State’s Diamond Ford leads the WAC in scoring (21.1) and minutes per game (37.38), while Utah State’s Devyn Christensen is tops in free throw percentage (91.8) and three-point field goals per game (3.09). Denver’s Emiko Smith leads the league in assists (6.27) and assist-turnover ratio (2.30), while Ashley Ezeh of Texas State and Riana Byrd of San Jose State are tops in rebounding (10.0). Byrd leads the league in blocks (2.36). Seattle U’s Kacie Sowell is tops in field goal percentage (58.3), while Utah State’s Jenna Johnson leads the league in steals (3.41) and teammate Makenlee Williams is tops in three-point field goal percentage (43.1).
In WAC games only, Utah State leads the league in scoring (78.8), scoring margin (6.5), free throw percentage (81.4), steals (12.82) and turnover margin (3.73). Seattle U is tops in field goal percentage (40.9), three-point field goal percentage defense (26.8) and assists (16.55). Idaho leads the WAC in three-point field goal percentage (36.9), blocks (5.45) and three-pointers per game (9.18). Denver leads the league in rebounding (45.5), rebounding defense (36.9) and rebounding margin (8.6), while UTSA is tops in scoring defense (59.5). Texas State leads the league in assist-turnover ratio (0.94), while New Mexico State is tops in field goal percentage defense (36.1).
Individually in WAC games, Texas State’s Ford is tops in scoring (21.8) and minutes per game (38.27), while Denver’s Maiya Michel leads the league in rebounding (10.5). Sowell leads the league in field goal percentage (59.2), while Denver’s Smith is tops in assists (7.09). USU’s Christensen leads the WAC in free throw percentage (89.6), while teammate Jenna Johnson is tops in steals (3.18) and Williams leads the league in three-point field goal percentage (46.3). SJSU’s Byrd is tops in blocks (2.45), while Idaho’s Connie Ballestero leads the WAC in assist-turnover ratio (2.4) and teammate Christina Salvatore is tops in three-pointers per game (3.09).
LA TECH POSTS SECOND-LARGEST COMEBACK IN PROGRAM HISTORY
Louisiana Tech posted its second-largest comeback in program history on Jan. 17, when it defeated Idaho 67-58. Idaho led 50-30 with 16:17 left in the game when the Lady Techsters used a 37-8 run to close out the game. The win trailed only the 1988-89 squad that overcame a 21-point second half deficit at home to beat Old Dominion on Feb. 11, 1989.
UTSA HOLDS OPPONENT UNDER 20 POINTS IN A HALF FOR 12TH TIME
UTSA has held its opponent to 20 or fewer points in a half 12 times this season. The Roadrunners rank 42nd nationally in scoring defense (54.7).
SJSU’S SCHILL, CUNNIGAN COMBINE FOR 62 POINTS AGAINST UTAH STATE
San Jose State scored a program-best 103 points in a win over Utah State on Jan. 12. Two players – freshman Emily Schill and sophomore Ta’Rea Cunnigan – scored 63 of the Spartans’ points, or 61 percent of the scoring for the Spartans.
IDAHO SETS SCHOOL RECORD FOR THREE-POINTERS IN A GAME
Idaho broke a program record with 15 three-pointers against Utah State on Jan. 5. Stacey Barr and Christina Salvatore accounted for 12 of the 15, as they made six three-pointers each, tying for the second-highest total by an individual in a game in program history. It was the second time making six treys in a game for each player.
CHARLSTON GRABS 500TH CAREER REBOUND
Idaho junior Alyssa Charlston grabbed her 500th career rebound at the 5:32 mark in the first half against Utah State on Jan. 7. The 6-1 post player now has 576 career boards and is also just 37 points shy of 1,000 on her career.
IDAHO’S BARR SCORES 18 POINTS IN JUST OVER FOUR MINUTES
Idaho’s Stacey Barr matched her career high with 23 points against Utah State on Jan. 5, and 18 of her points came during a 21-0 Idaho run early in the second half. Barr got the run started with an old-fashioned three-point play, then buried five consecutive long balls to score 18 points in a span of four minutes and five seconds.
TRAKH PICKS UP 300TH CAREER VICTORY
When the Aggies defeated Southern Utah 70-68 on Dec. 1 at the Centrum Arena in Cedar City, Utah, it was career victory No. 300 for head coach Mark Trakh. In his 18 years as a head coach, Trakh has a 304-223 (.577) record.
SOWELL GRABS 500TH CAREER REBOUND
In her team’s 61-60 overtime loss to UC Irvine on Dec. 1, Seattle U junior forward Kacie Sowell grabbed her 500th career rebound with 32 seconds remaining in regulation. The WAC’s active career leader in rebounding, she now has 637 boards on her career.
TEXAS STATE BEATS BIG 12 OPPONENT FOR FIRST TIME SINCE 2005
When the Bobcats defeated TCU 91-80 on Nov. 25, it was Texas State’s first win over a Big 12 opponent since 2005, when it defeated Oklahoma State, 77-69. Against TCU, all five starters scored at least nine points for Texas State, for the third time this season. The Bobcats are 3-0 in those games.
RETURNING ALL-CONFERENCE PLAYERS
Two of the first team All-WAC players from last year return for the 2012-13 season in Idaho’s Alyssa Charlston and Utah State’s Devyn Christensen. Other WAC honorees that return are Louisiana Tech’s Whitney Frazier, who was named to both the All-Defensive and All-Freshman Teams, and fellow All-Freshman honorees Ta’Rea Cunnigan of San Jose State and Krissy Karr of Idaho.
Diamond Ford of Texas State was named first team All-Southland, while Emiko Smith of Denver was named second team All-Sun Belt. Ashley Ezeh of Texas State was named third team All-Southland, while UTSA’s Judy Jones was an honorable mention honoree.