USU women's basketball opens season with exhibition against Western New Mexico Friday

By Doug Hoffman

For the Deseret News

Published: Friday, Nov. 4 2011 9:00 a.m. MDT

LOGAN — Utah State women's basketball will play its only exhibition of the season against Western New Mexico on Friday at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum. Tip off time is slated for 7 p.m.

The Mustangs began the season on Wednesday with an exhibition against Utah Valley. WNMU fell to the Wolverines, 73-57, in Orem. The Mustangs were led by Kassie Scott, who scored 16 points in only 14 minutes of action. Lonnie Sanchez added 13 points for WNMU.

This is the first action of the season for Utah State. The Aggies look to improve upon last season's historic year, when USU finished the season 18-15 overall and 10-6 in Western Athletic Conference action. USU reached the semifinals of the WAC Tournament and advanced to postseason for the first time since the 1981-82 season.

Both Utah State basketball teams will be taking on teams from the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference this week. On Friday, the Aggie women will take on Western New Mexico. On Saturday, the USU men will face Adams State, also a member of the RMAC.

Utah State returns 10 players from the 2010-11 roster, including three starters, in forward Ashlee Brown (15.2 ppg), center Banna Diop (9.5 ppg) and guard Jenna Johnson (6.6 ppg). USU brings back 75 percent of its offense, including its top three scorers in Brown, Diop and guard Devyn Christensen. The Aggies also welcome back the block leader in Diop (1.88 bpg). Brown will also be back in the blue and white as Utah State’s leading rebounder, bringing down 251 rebounds in 2010-11 (8.4 rpg). Brown was highly decorated by the WAC last season, earning first-team, all-WAC honors as well as being named the conference's Newcomer of the Year.

Returning on the bench for head coach Raegan Pebley this season is Hanna Howard and former Aggie great Danyelle Snelgro. Joining the Aggies this season is Stu Sells in his first season as an assistant coach at Utah State, replacing former associate coach George Brosky. Also joining the Aggie staff this season is Marques Howard as the director of basketball operations.

This season, Utah State welcomes six newcomers, including senior transfer Brooke Jackson who comes to Logan from the University of Arizona. USU adds five freshmen in Brooke Beckstead, Xava Grooms, Addison Moore, Elise Nelson and Franny Vaaulu.

USU opens the regular season on Friday, Nov. 11, on the road at Wyoming at 7 p.m.

Aggie basketball tickets will be available by contacting the USU Athletics Ticket Office at (435) 797-0305 or at 1-888-U-STATE-1 (1-888-878-2831) for more information or visit the Utah State athletics web site at www.UtahStateAggies.com.

Fans can follow USU women's basketball at http://twitter.com/Aggiehoops and Utah State athletics at http://twitter.com/USUAthletics.

Doug Hoffman is the assistant athletic director for Utah State University.

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