Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Utah State enters WAC tournament as No. 2 seed

Express Staff Writer

Freshman forward Haylee Thompson and the Utah State University women’s basketball team from Logan, Utah have earned the No. 2 seed entering the 10-team Western Athletic Conference (WAC) tournament March 12-16 at Las Vegas, Nev.

Utah State (17-12, 14-4 league) will open play in the nine-game single elimination tournament Wednesday, March 13 at 2:30 p.m. against the winner of Tuesday’s first-round contest between No. 7 Denver University and No. 10 Texas State.

The top tournament seed and winner of the WAC regular-season title in its first season in the league is Seattle University and its Redhawks. Seattle debuts Wednesday at 6 p.m. against the winner of Tuesday’s match-up between No. 8 New Mexico State and No. 9 University of Texas-Arlington.

Championship game is Saturday, March 16 at 12 noon Pacific Time, to be televised on ESPN-U. The tournament winner automatically advances to the NCAA Division 1 tournament.

Utah State’s second seed matches the best the Aggies have achieved during eight seasons in the league. And Utah State’s 14 conference wins represents the best total in the school’s women’s basketball history.

Former Wood River High School star Thompson, a 6-1 forward/guard who is the daughter of John Thompson and Kim McKinnon, has played a role in the team’s success.

She has played 28 games, starting nine of them, and is averaging 11.8 minutes per game, 2.3 rebounds and 2.2 points. She ranks second on the team in field goal percentage, .500, on 28-of-56 shooting. She has made 6-of-10 free throws on one of the country’s best free throw shooting squads.

This past Thursday, Thompson scored a career-best 8 points with 5 rebounds in 27 minutes of action as Utah State shot 48% from the field and breezed past Texas State 73-56 at San Marcos, Texas. Thompson was 4-for-4 from the floor. Her 5 rebounds matched a career best.

Saturday, Utah State dropped its regular-season finale 80-72 on the road to University of Texas-San Antonio. Again, Thompson was perfect shooting from the field, 3-for-3 for 6 points with 3 rebounds and 1 blocked shot in 18 minutes of play.

Thompson, Wood River’s top scorer (15.0 ppg) and an Idaho All-State player last winter, is the fourth-leading scorer in Wolverine record books with 780 points (10.7 ppg) in 73 games.

The Co-Player of the Year with teammate Kaitana Martinez in the 4A Great Basin Conference last winter, Thompson was perhaps the best player of all at the 2012 Idaho State High School Basketball tournament. She tied for second place of all scorers in the six divisions at the state tournament with 64 points (21.3 ppg) including 25 field goals, 14-for-17 free throws and 22 rebounds in three games—leading Wood River (15-10) to third place.


Dartmouth wraps up 2012-13 season

Last weekend, Martinez and her Dartmouth College Big Green women’s basketball team wrapped up their 2012-13 campaign with two road losses—60-48 to Cornell University at Ithaca, N.Y. Friday night and 48-39 to Columbia University in New York City on Saturday.

The Big Green (6-22, 4-10 Ivy League) had a difficult weekend in the shooting department, shooting only 35% at Ithaca and 26% in the Big Apple. However, the Dartmouth rebounding continued to be solid.

Dartmouth had a very young team for coach Chris Wielgus this season, with seven freshmen and four sophomores and only one senior on the 14-player team. Martinez is the daughter of Ron and Angie Martinez.

Freshman guard Martinez made her fourth start of the season in Saturday’s finale but didn’t score in 20 minutes of action against Columbia (5-22, 3-9 league). At Ithaca, Martinez scored 5 points with 2 rebounds and 4 assists in 24 minutes of play against Cornell (13-14, 7-8 Ivy League).

For the entire season, Martinez led Dartmouth in total assists with 48 (2.4 per game). She tied for second place on the team in free throw percentage (19-of-23, .826). She averaged 22.7 minutes in her 20 games, scoring 3.6 ppg and averaging 2.2 rebounds each outing. She had 22 steals.

The Ivy League doesn’t have a post-season tournament.



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