Jan. 8, 2008
Complete Utah-Air Force Media Notes in PDF Format
Utah Utes (11-3) vs. Air Force Falcons (6-6)
Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2008 7 p.m. (MST)
USAF Academy, Colo. Clune Arena (5,838)
Radio is available locally at the Sports Animal (KKML) 1300 AM and online at www.goairforcefalcons.com. Jay Ritchie calls the action beginning at 6:45 p.m.
Air Force lost in overtime at Navy, 69-72, on Saturday, Dec. 29.
Utah defeated Eastern Washington, 70-56, on Saturday, Jan. 5.
Air Force is at UNLV on Saturday, Jan. 12.
Utah is at San Diego State on Jan. 16.
Air Force has a one-game losing streak. Utah has a six game winning streak and has won 10 of its last 11. The Falcons are 4-1 at home. The Utes are 3-1 on the road.
Air Force is coached by Ardie McInelly (Boise State, 1982), who is 46-135 in her seventh season at the Academy and 123-197 in her 12th year overall as a head coach.
Utah is coached by Elaine Elliott (Boise State, 1977), who is 520-210 in her 25th year.
Utah defeated Air Force, 60-52, on Feb. 22, 2007 at the Academy.
Air Force head coach Ardie McInelly and Utah head coach Elaine Elliott are both Boise State graduates. McInelly graduated in 1982 and Elliott in 1977.
Series History vs. Utah
- Air Force and Utah have met 23 times with the Utes winning all 23 games.
- The two teams first met in 1998 as conference foes in the Western Athletic Conference. The Utes won both games that year and the first one on Jan. 22, 97-54.
- Air Force's closest game against Utah was a 50-53 loss at the 2001 MWC Championships when the 8th-seeded Falcons nearly upset the top-seeded Utes.
Last Meeting vs. Utah
In the final home game for its four seniors, the Air Force women's basketball team was unable to get past visiting Utah, falling, 60-52, Thursday evening in Clune Arena.
It was an emotional night for the Falcons, whose senior class---Letricia Castillo, Dawn Higginbotham, Jacki Novak and Andrea Taylor---was playing in its final game at Clune Arena. However, with a three-point basket at the outset, Utah led from the start and never trailed. Though it was close in the beginning, the Utes eventually led 27-13 with just over two and a half minutes remaining in the half. However, the Falcons closed out the opening stanza on a 6-0 run to get back within eight points at intermission. Air Force committed just four turnovers in the first half, but shot just 29 percent from the field.
The Utes continued to extend their lead after the break, leading by as many as 11 points, before the Falcons cut the margin to five points following a three-point basket by sophomore Brooke Cultra. Utah moved its lead back out to 11 points after a pair of long-range shots midway through the half and never looked back.
While Air Force shot just over 35 percent for the game and were outrebounded 40-30, the team committed a season-low seven turnovers, while forcing 15 turnovers by the Utes.
Junior Alecia Steele led the Falcons with 13 points, while Cultra added 11 points and Higginbotham finished with 10 points. Taylor scored a season-high nine points for the Falcons, including the first five Air Force points of the contest.
- Utah enters the week with a 11-3 record and riding a six-game win streak after defeating Eastern Michigan, 70-56, last week.
- The Utes are led by senior Idaho transfer Leilani Mitchell and junior Morgan Warburton. Mitchell is second in the conference averaging 17.1 points per game and leads the conference with 7.1 assists per game. Warburton is third in the conference, averaging 16.9 points per game.
- Utah is averaging 70.8 points per game and allowing 55.9.
Scouting Air Force
- Air Force is 6-6 on the season. The Falcons lost in overtime, 72-69, at Navy on Saturday, Dec. 29, in their last game.
- Senior forward Alecia Steele leads the team and is fifth in the MWC with 15.2 points per game and a conference-leading 8.9 rebounds per game. Senior Pamela Findlay is second on the team averaging 14 points per game and leads the MWC with a 51.2 three-point percentage.
- Air Force is averaging 65.2 points per game and allowing 65.9.
Three Overtime Games Already
Air Force has already played in three overtime games this season. That total ties the 2004-05 squad for the most overtime games in a season for Air Force. The Falcons are 1-2 so far in OT games, losing at St. Francis and Navy and defeating Hampton at home.
Recapping the Navy Game
The Air Force women's basketball team lost in overtime at Navy, 72-69, Saturday afternoon at Alumni Hall. Playing the entire 45 minutes, senior Pamela Findlay led the team with a career-high tying 23 points on 5-of-9 shooting from three-point range.
Air Force failed to hold an 11-point lead in regulation and the loss spoiled a late-game rally that sent the game into overtime. Trailing by five points with two minutes left in regulation, a pair of free throws by Finlday and a three-point basket by freshman Raimee Beck tied the game up with 54 seconds to go in the game. After Navy went back up by two with jumper by Cassie Consedine, the Findlay sank two more free throws with 14 seconds remaining to re-tie the game and eventually sent it into overtime.
This was Air Force's third overtime game this season.
The Falcons led 43-32 at the 15:38 mark in the second half before Navy slowly worked its way back into the game. Leading 48-39 at the 10 minute mark, the Mids went on an 11-0 run over the next four minutes to take a 50-48 lead. The Falcons never regained the lead during regulation.
In overtime, Air Force took the lead twice early on, but Navy pulled away late to get the win.
Joining Findlay in double-figures scoring for the Falcons were Beck and Cultra. Beck scored 12 points and dished out four assists. Cultra scored 11 and had a a team-high five assists. Senior Alecia Steele led the team with seven rebounds, but was held to just seven points, nine below her season average.
Notes From Air Force-Navy Game
- Air Force is now 2-4 all-time against Navy, 0-3 at Navy and 9-9 against Service Academies.
- Findlay tied a career-best with five three's.
- Dana Loveless made her second-career start for the Falcons.
- Air Force is 1-2 in overtime games this season.
Top Three-Point and Free Throw Shooting Team In MWC
Air Force ranks first in the Mountain West Conference in three-point field goal percentage and free throw shooting. In addition, the team ranks second in shots blocked and third in rebounding. The Falcons are pulling down 39.6 boards per game, making 39.2 percent of their three-point attempts, sinking 72.2 percent of their free throws and blocking 4.5 shots per game. All four categories, especially the three-point shooting, are significantly improved from a year ago.
Category 2006-07 2007-08 Improvement
Rebounding 36.2 39.6 +3.4
3PT Pct. 26.1 39.2 +13.1
Free throw % 68.0 72.2 +4.2%
Shot Blocks 2.62 4.50 +1.88
Three-Point Shooting On Record Pace For Falcons
Air Force enters the Utah game shooting 39.2 percent from three-point range, which ranks first amongst the MWC schools. Air Force has shot obove 40 percent from long distance in their last four games. Air Force also has the league's top three-point shooter in Pamela Findlay, who has made 51.2 percent of her shots (22-of-43). Air Force is currently on pace to break the school's team three-point percentage record of 37.9 set by the 1990-91 team and shatter the Div. I mark of 32.9 percent set by the 2002-03 team.
Air Force Three-Point Shooting Percentage Last four years
Findlay Leaving Her Mark In Falcon Shooting Records
Senior Pamela Findlay currently holds three Air Force records in the three-point shooting and free throw departments. Findlay is Air Force's all-time three-point percentage record holder, making 39.5 percent of her trey's. She is also the single-season free throw percentage record holder, sinking 89.7 percent of ther free throw's as a junior last year. Findlay has been on fire of late from the three point line, making an astounding 68.7 percent (11-of-16) from long distance in the last three games. For the season, Findlay leads the Mountain West Conference by making 51.2 percent of her three-point baskets (22-43), which is currently the best mark ever at Air Force. Findlay is currently on pace to break the school record of 48.6 percent on three's by Kristin Hillery in 1990-91.
Steele Becomes Air Force's All-Time Leading Scorer in Div. I Era
With 14 points against Cal State Stanislaus, senior Alecia Steele became Air Force's all-time leading scorer in the Div. I Era, surpassing 2007 grad Letricia Castillo, who finished with 1,073 career points. Steele now has 1,097 career points, ranking eighth all-time at the Academy.
Steele Eclipses 1,000 Point Barrier Against Hampton
With a season-high 21 points against Hampton, senior forward Alecia Steele surpassed the 1,000 career point barrier, becoming the 11th player in Air Force history to reach the 1,000 mark. Steele is just the second player, joining `07 grad Letricia Castillo, to accomplish the feat since the Falcons moved up to Div. I play.
Steele On Pace For Another Air Force First
Alecia Steele is currently leading Air Force in both scoring and rebounding, averaging 15.2 points and 8.9 boards per game, for the fourth-consecutive season. No player at Air Force has ever led the team in both scoring and rebounding for four seasons. Melissa Standly led Air Force in scoring three years and rebounding four years in the mid-80's.
Falcons Perfect From Line Against Wisconsin
Air Force was a perfect 8-of-8 from the free throw line Sunday at Wisconsin. It was the first time in 50 games that the Falcons had been perfect from the line as a team. Air Force went 4-for-4 from the line on Jan. 18, 2006 against Utah.
Mixed Results With Buzzer Beaters
Twice this year, Air Force has seen opponents tie the game up with buzzer-beating three-point baskets to end regulation. St. Francis was the first to do so against the Falcons and ended up winning 63-62 in overtime. The same thing happened again to the Falcons against Hampton, but that time, Air Force rebounded with an 85-84 overtime win to open the 2007 Air Force Classic.
Findlay and Steele Named Team Captains for 2007-08
The captains for the 2006-07 basketball season are seniors Pamela Findlay and Alecia Steele. Both are first-year captains.
Falcons Picked Ninth
In the preseason conference poll released Oct. 17, Air Force was chosen by the coaches and select media to finish ninth in the Mountain West.
Wyoming was tabbed as the preseason favorite for the first time in MWC history after winning the WNIT Championship and finishing tied for second place in last year's regular-season standings. Wyoming received 24-of-30 first-place votes and 203 total points. TCU had two first-place votes and finished second with 188 points, followed by BYU with one first-place vote and 182 points. New Mexico placed fourth, followed by Utah, UNLV, San Diego State, Colorado State and Air Force.
Last year's MWC Co-Player of the Year, TCU senior guard Adrianne Ross, earned Top Returning Player honors, while Leilani Mitchell of Utah was named Top Newcomer and San Diego State's Paris Johnson was tabbed Top Freshman.
Noting The Starters
Noting Alecia Steele
- Became the 11th player in Air Force history to score over 1,000 points against Hampton. Is just the second Falcons to do so in the Div. I era.
- Leads the MWC with 8.9 rebounds per game.
- Has four double-doubles on the year.
- Scored a season-high 22 points in career-high 40 minutes against Nothern Colorado.
- Named to Air Force Classic All-Tournament Team.
Noting Pamela Findlay
- Leads MWC with 51.2 percent three-point shooting percentage.
- Has led team in scoring a team-best five games.
- Named to Air Force Classic All-Tournament Team.
Noting Kim Kreke
- Has started 11 of 12 games at center.
- Record three blocked shots for the third time this season against Adams State.
- Ranks third on team and seventh in conference with 1.08 blocks per game.
Noting Brooke Cultra
- Dished out eight assists against Adams State, the most by a Falcon since Andrea Taylor dished out eight against New Mexico on Jan. 21, 2006.
- Has started all 12 games at guard.
- Leads team with 42 assists.
- Second on team and 11th in MWC with 6.2 rebounds per game.
Noting Raimee Beck
- Sixth in the MWC with 2.08 three's per game.
- Has led team in scoring three times.
- Has logged 40-or-more minutes in a game four times and 38-or-more six times this season.
Air Force travels to Las Vegas to take on UNLV on Saturday, Jan. 12.