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Utah State women's basketball notebook — Jen Schlott leaves mark on record book, plus more

Las Vegas • Let the record book show that Jen Schlott did not go quietly.

Let it reflect that the senior still left jaws slackened as she whipped up 20 points and 11 assists in her final game for Utah State. And let it show that though she left Thomas and Mack with a heavy heart and her team had a loss to show for it, that she will be one of the best basketball players ever out of Utah State.

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Actually, the record book will be one of Schlott's lasting testaments at the end of a stellar career.

On Tuesday, Schlott finished her career as the program's all-time leader in points (1,556) and assists (436), and she has many other program records to go with it: the most points in a single game (44), most points in a single season (811) and several Mountain West records to boot.

That she did it in a loss is an unfortunate pattern for Schlott's milestones this year. But the Aggies didn't fall to Colorado State for her lack of trying.

"It's just a testament to keeping the nose to the rpad and grinding things out," coach Jerry Finkbeiner said. "She's a little kid that has a lot of bumps and bruises, just always keeps bouncing back and wants to have the ball in her hands. She's also an academic All-American nominee, a great student. She's got everything a coach wants."

That includes toughness and versatility. After putting up 17 points to start the game, the second half saw Colorado State close its ranks around her. Smothered, Schlott's shooting went cold.

But her ability to influence the game didn't fade: She notched seven second-half assists, feeding the hot hand of Stephanie Bairstow to keep the Aggies ahead until the very end.

Her play was characteristic of what Utah State came to expect from its star. But Schlott still deferred credit for the bit of success the Aggies have enjoyed this season - a season perhaps most memorable for her exploits.

"It's great, I think I've been lucky really with coach coming in and letting me do all the things I can do," she said. "It's great, but honestly all credit to my teammates and coaches. They really made that happen."

Finkbeiner said he's heard that Schlott is on the radar of professional teams thanks to her superhuman senior season, though she admitted she hasn't though much about it.

But as her mind turned toward life after Utah State, she said she'd be looking for opportunities to stay on the court, which should please Aggie fans.

"The next couple days, I'll probably think strongly about it," she said. "I love this game. If there's an opportunity to play more, I probably will."


Youth shows up in second half

While the Aggies did get quite a bit from Schlott, the second half of Tuesday's game required some of Utah State's underclassmen to assume more mature roles.

That was most apparent for Bairstow, who was 8-for-8 in the second half with 17 points after intermission. The 6-foot-2 wing buried attempts as Schlott was swamped, helping lift the team to hang with the Rams.

"I think, with the help of coaches, I've just got to know who I am as a player," Bairstow said. "I think at the beginning of the season, I wasn't exploiting my strengths and was not doing the best I could do. But the coaches have really helped me a lot, telling me my strengths, and I've tried to stick to it."

It also streamed from sophomore Makenlee Williams, who had 14 points and 8 rebounds. Junior Elise Nelson had a solid night with 9 points and 8 rebounds.

While the loss was hard to swallow, the silver lining may be that the future of Utah State was on display - and the young Aggies had some bright moments.

Some of the late-game execution might have been the biggest drawbacks of the team's inexperience. Bairstow's late foul on Elin Gustavsson led to the go-ahead score, and Williams acknowledged that she should have passed out rather than take the last shot.

But Finkbeiner said the Aggies would take the experience in the interest of growth.

"It's been a good first-year ride," he said "Our record I don't think shows how competitive were. We're looking forward to the future here."


Bairstow returning for family interests

While she would've preferred to win on Tuesday, Bairstow isn't planning to leave Las Vegas for long.

She'll be back soon to cheer on another team: New Mexico.

Big brother Cam Bairstow was a first-team all-conference forward for the Lobos this year and helped them finish second in league play. He was a contender for conference player of the year before missing out to SDSU's Xavier Thames. Stephanie Bairstow said she wasn't planning on missing her brother's final Mountain West tournament appearance.

"It's his last one, and I think it'd be really nice to see him," she said.

Kyle Goon


Twitter: @kylegoon

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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