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Utah State women's basketball ready to run, gun and have fun

staff writer

Published: Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Updated: Tuesday, November 13, 2012 12:11

Senior guard Jenna Johnson

SENIOR GUARD JENNA JOHNSON dribbles around a defender in Utah State’s Blue and White scrimmage Thursday. CURTIS RIPPLINGER photo


New season. New coach. New expectations.

   

The Utah State women’s basketball team is coming off its best season in school history. The team had its first 20-plus-win season in 2011-12, finishing with a 21-12 record. USU also made the Women’s National Invitation Tournament for the second-consecutive year.

   

“I have high expectations for the girls,” USU head coach Jerry Finkbeiner said. “I think the key will be is if we can stay healthy and if we can survive our first eight out of nine road games. So if we can stay healthy and survive the first month of the season, this team, I predict, will get better with each week. I’m looking forward to peaking at the end of February.”

   

Expectations this year are even higher for the Aggies, who were tabbed by the coaches and media to finish No.1 in the Western Athletic Conference. USU received seven of 10 first place votes and a total of 78 points to edge out Louisiana Tech in the coaches poll. In the media poll, the Aggies earned nine off the 18 first place votes.

   

“If we are patient with ourselves and our fans are patient with us, we have a chance to defend that preseason acknowledgment we got,” Finkbeiner said. “Right now we’re not a WAC favorite, I don’t think, but I do believe in two-and-a-half, three months from now we will be competing for that championship and that No.1 seed.”  

  

Much of these high expectations are due to USU star player Devyn Christensen and a great supporting cast from last season returning. Christensen, now a senior, was a First-Team All-WAC player in 2012 and enters the 2013 season as the preseason player of the year. In 2012 Christensen, led the Aggies in scoring at 15.1 points per game. She also shot 38 percent from beyond the arc, connecting on 64 3-pointers.

   

“With me being one of the leaders of the team, I have to do a solid job of keeping my head where it needs to be mentally and making sure the team is focused, making sure I’m focused and making sure everyone feels apart of things,” Christensen said. “With the offense we play where it’s so fast and everyone gets shots it won’t be as big as an issue, but keeping everyone involved is something I will be focused on doing.”

   

Along with Christensen, senior Jenna Johnson, junior Jennifer Schlott and sophomores Elise Nelson and Franny Vaaulu make their return to the Aggies lineup.

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