This Week in WAC Women's Basketball - March 5
San Jose State freshman forward Riana Byrd has been named Western Athletic Conference Women’s Basketball Player of the Week for the week of Feb. 25-March 3. This is her second WAC Player of the Week honor this season.
The Richmond, Calif. native led the Spartans to a sweep of UT Arlington and Louisiana Tech with a pair of double-doubles. Against UTA, she finished with 14 points on 50 percent shooting, pulled down 15 boards, nabbed three steals and blocked four shots. With the four blocks, she set the San Jose State single-season record, which now stands at 60, and is in ninth place on the career blocked shots list. Against LA Tech, Byrd was an efficient 7-of-11 (64 percent) from the field for 16 points to go along with 14 rebounds and a steal. For the week, she averaged 15 points on 56 percent shooting, 14.5 rebounds, two blocks and two steals. Her 288 rebounds on the year place her in sixth place on the program’s single-season list and are a freshman record for the program.
Other nominees included: Denver’s Kailey Edwards finished with 23 points on 62 percent shooting to go along with three rebounds and two steals in a win over New Mexico State ... Alyssa Charlston of Idaho averaged 17.5 points, 7.5 rebounds and 3.0 assists as the Vandals went 2-0 on the week ... New Mexico State’s Kelsie Rozendaal finished with 15 points on 86 percent shooting and seven rebounds in a loss to Denver ... Seattle U’s Sylvia Shephard averaged 16.5 points and 6.0 rebounds per game as the Redhawks went 2-0 on the week Jenna Johnson of Utah State averaged 15 points, 10.5 rebounds and 3.5 steals as the Aggies went 2-0 on the week.
BONVICINI ONE OF 30 FINALISTS FOR NAISMITH COACH OF THE YEAR
Seattle U coach Joan Bonvicini is one of 30 finalists for Naismith Awards Women’s College Coach of the Year. The list of 30 will be narrowed down to the top four finalists on March 20, with the winner named on April 9. Bonvicini is one of the most successful coaches in women’s collegiate basketball history, as she is currently 11th on the NCAA Division I all-time wins list. In February 2007, she became only the 18th coach in NCAA Division I women’s basketball history to reach the 600-win mark.
EIGHT OVERTIME GAMES IN WAC PLAY, MOST THIS CENTURY
There have been eight overtime games in conference play this season, the most in this century. The previous high was six in 2003-04, while there were just two overtime games during WAC play in all of 2011-12.
SALVATORE SETS IDAHO SINGLE-SEASON THREE-POINT FIELD GOAL RECORD
With her second three-pointer of the game at the 6:19 mark of the second half against UTSA on Feb. 28, Idaho freshman Christina Salvatore broke the Idaho single-season three-pointer made record of 76, set by Susan Woolf during the 1998-99 season. Salvatore now has 82 long balls this season.
SJSU’S BYRD BREAKS ONE RECORD, APPROACHES ANOTHER
San Jose State freshman Riana Byrd set the program single-season record for blocked shots on Feb. 28 vs. UT Arlington. She now has 60 on the season, which ranks ninth on the career list. In addition, Byrd’s 288 rebounds on the year place her sixth on the program’s single-season list and are a freshman record for the program.
TEXAS STATE’S FORD APPROACHING PROGRAM SCORING RECORD
Texas State senior guard Diamond Ford is on pace to break the program’s single-season scoring record. She currently has 577 points this season, 56 points shy of the record. With a minimum of three games remaining, Ford, who is averaging 21.4 points per game this season, needs to average 19.0 points per game over the three games to break the record.
THREE WAC PLAYERS RANK IN TOP 25 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 25 nationally in scoring. Ford averages 21.4 points per game, good for 10th place, while Cunnigan is 17th (20.2) and Christensen is 21st (19.9).
DENVER’S SMITH NCAA ACTIVE ASSIST LEADER
With 711 career assists, Denver’s Emiko Smith is the active career leader in the nation. Though she doesn’t qualify because the Pioneers are only in the conference for one year, Smith’s assist total tops the WAC record of 644.
WAC STAT LEADERS
Seattle U leads the WAC in field goal percentage (42.1), rebounding defense (35.8), rebounding margin (4.3) and assists (15.8). Idaho is tops in three-point field goal percentage defense (28.2), rebounding (42.9), blocks (4.6) and three-pointers per game (8.2). UTSA leads the WAC in scoring defense (56.0), scoring margin (4.1), field goal percentage defense (37.1) and turnover margin (3.67).Meanwhile, Utah State is tops in scoring (76.8), free throw percentage (80.3) and steals (12.9), while Denver leads the WAC in three-point field goal percentage (33.3) and assist-turnover ratio (0.9).
Texas State’s Diamond Ford leads the WAC in scoring (21.4) and minutes per game (38.0), while Utah State’s Devyn Christensen is tops in free throw percentage (92.0) and three-point field goals per game (3.26). Denver’s Emiko Smith leads the league in assists (6.59) and assist-turnover ratio (2.34), while San Jose State’s Riana Byrd is tops in rebounding (10.7) and blocks (2.22). Seattle U’s Kacie Sowell is tops in field goal percentage (57.5), while San Jose State’s Ta’Rea Cunnigan leads the league in steals (3.2). Utah State’s Makenlee Williams is tops in three-point field goal percentage (41.0).
In WAC games only, Idaho leads the league in field goal percentage defense (35.5), three-point field goal percentage (34.6), rebounding (43.9), blocks (5.35), and three-pointers per game (8.47). Seattle U leads the WAC in field goal percentage (43.1), three-point field goal percentage defense (26.3), rebounding defense (36.1) and assists (16.24). Utah State is tops in scoring (80.7), scoring margin (8.3), free throw percentage (81.2) and steals (12.1). UTSA is tops in scoring defense (60.3) and turnover margin (4.7), while Denver leads the league in rebounding margin (6.5) and assist-turnover ratio (0.94).
Individually in WAC games, Texas State’s Ford is tops in scoring (21.9) and minutes per game (38.81), while SJSU’s Byrd leads the league in rebounding (11.3) and blocks (2.2). Sowell leads the league in field goal percentage (57.6), while Denver’s Smith is tops in assists (7.4). USU’s Christensen leads the WAC in free throw percentage (90.6), while teammate Jenna Johnson is tops in steals (2.88) and Williams leads the league in three-point field goal percentage (42.3). Idaho’s Connie Ballestero leads the WAC in assist-turnover ratio (2.17), while teammate Christina Salvatore is tops in three-pointers per game (3.06).
WAC TO STREAM BASKETBALL TOURNAMENT FROM LAS VEGAS
The WAC will stream 16 games via the internet on WACSports.tv from the 2013 WAC Basketball Tournament at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas. The only games not shown will be the men’s and women’s championships due to contractual obligations with ESPN. Individual tournament games may be purchased for $7.95 each. The tournament starts Tuesday, March 12, with four first round games. The women’s quarterfinals will be played on Wednesday while the men’s quarterfinals will be held on Thursday. Friday features two women’s semifinal games and two men’s semifinal games. More information and how to subscribe to any of these video streaming events can be found at www.WACSports.tv.