Senior night success for Aggies
Published: Tuesday, March 5, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, March 5, 2013 13:03
It was senior night on Saturday when the Utah State women’s basketball team hosted UT Arlington. Fittingly, the Aggies came away with a lopsided 81-57 victory led by seniors Devyn Christensen and Jenna Johnson.
“Anytime you win on senior night and win convincingly, I think it is the icing on the cake for the seniors that we have,” said USU head coach Jerry Finkbeiner. “They have stuck with us and I think they are playing the best ball of their careers. It has just been a good night.”
After the game, USU celebrated the careers of its four seniors Christensen, Johnson, Pualei Furtado, and Banna Diop, who missed the entire season due to injury. Each player was given a gift and Finkbeiner gave a speech about each of the players.
“There is definitely a lot of emotions,” Christensen said. “I had to focus on the game and focus on the team right now. I would be so sad to live here at the Spectrum for the last four years. Night and day always coming in and getting extra workouts, practices, ice baths, it doesn’t matter what. The Spectrum has been basically my home, so it is sad to leave. It has been an awesome experience and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.”
This senior class will go down as one of the best in school history. Christensen leaves USU as the all-time women’s leading scorer. Johnson is currently third on the all-time steals list, and Diop ranks third all-time in career blocks despite having an injury ridden career.
The game itself was a great one for the Aggies as they lead from start to finish. USU improved to 16-11 overall and 13-3 in the WAC with the win. The loss pushed UT-Arlington to the bottom of the WAC at 3-13 in conference and 6-21 on the season.
Christensen led the charge with a game-high 24 points to along with eight rebounds and four assists. Johnson had her ninth double-double of the season with 17 points and a career high 14 rebounds. Junior Jennifer Schlott chipped in with 12 points and seven assists.
“It went by really fast but I couldn’t go out a better way,” Johnson said. “We won by too many points to even know, but we had fun together. We played as a team and through the long stretch, we had fun.”
The Mavericks had two players score in double figures in Desherra Nwanguma and Laila Suleiman. Nwanguma finished with 12 points while Suleiman had 11.
Furtado got the starting nod for her senior night. It was the second start of her career, and the Aggies played all 12 of their dressed players.
“We have started games like somebody let us out of a cage,” Finkbeiner said. “We are out there and we are going. I like that attitude. We are in a good place right now.”
It was a hot start for USU as they took the lead and never looked back. The first 10 minutes of the first half was a defensive clinic by the Aggies. They forced UT Arlington into eight turnovers and held them to just 16 percent shooting to go up 22-5.
“We have been preaching defense wins championships,” Finkbeiner said. “We have the ability to play good defense when we focus our minds to it. We are very explosive offensively but we haven’t put both together for an extended period of time, and that’s where our ceiling is.”
The second half began just like the first one did with the Aggies playing fierce defense on one end of the court and making shots on the other. UT Arlington finally started making some shots and went on a 7-0 run to get within 21 points with 14 minutes to play.
UT Arlington would not get any closer than 20 points for the remainder of the game. USU pushed their lead to 29 on a couple of occasions.
“We came out with the emotion of the night,” Christensen said. “We just wanted to get it over with and enjoy the moment of the win and senior night.”
The Aggies final two games of the season will be on the road when they take on Texas State Thursday and conclude their season Saturday with a matchup against UTSA.