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Courtesy: USF Athletics

Cougars Open 2013 On the Road

Courtesy: USF Athletics
          Release: 01/02/2013
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Cougars Begin 2013 on the Road
USF returns to the hardwood this weekend after a three-week break for final exams and the holidays. USF opens 2013 at Upper Iowa on Friday evening (6 p.m.), and closes out the road trip with a 4 p.m. tilt at Winona State on Saturday.

This is the Cougars’ 39th season as a varsity sport, the fifth with head coach Travis Traphagen at the helm.

Dish Network

The Cougars have handed out 10 or more assists in seven of nine games this season, highlighted by a 22-assist game vs. Nebraska Wesleyan, where USF made 29 field goals.

In the Month of January

The Cougars are 19-12 (.613) all-time in the month of January under Coach Traphagen.

Stronger Signal From Long Distance

USF opened the 2012-13 season colder than dry ice from beyond the arc, as the Cougars connected on just 44 of their first 170 three-point attempts (25.8%) in their first eight games. The Cougars finally found their shooting stroke on December 15, when they drained 13 of 21 (61.9%) three-point attempts in their last game of 2012, a 77-64 home win versus previously undefeated Minnesota State, Mankato.

By the Numbers
1     Laura Johnson’s rank in the NSIC for minutes played per game (34.44)
3     Games in a row that the Cougars have had the same starting lineup, after
       Coach Traphagen used six different starting lineups in the first six contests
5     USF’s rank in the NSIC in turnover margin (+2.67)
8     Points Laura Johnson needs to reach the 750 point plateau
10   Laura Johnson’s scoring rank in the NSIC (15.0)
12   USF’s rank in the NSIC in 3-point FG% (29.8%)
13   Three-pointers made by USF versus MSU; the most since the Cougars’ season-   
        opening victory over Nebraska Wesleyan, when they hit 14 treys
20   Points Alyssa Rushton scored against MSU, a new career-high
32   Where the Cougars rank nationally (out of 277 schools) in turnovers per game (15.3)
43   Laura Johnson’s national rank in free throw percentage (89.2%)
51.5 Percent of last season’s rebounding that has returned for 2012-13
56.3 Percent of last season’s scoring that is back on the court for the Cougars in 2012-13
58.8 Percent of last season’s steals that are back in 2012-13
68    Number of games that Laura Johnson has started in a row; she has started every 
        game of her Cougar career

Where the Cougars Rank Nationally (out of 277 NCAA D-II schools)
145th in scoring offense...137th in scoring defense...142nd in scoring margin... 219th in field goal percentage...108th in field goal percentage defense...91st in free throw percentage (70.9)...146th in rebounding margin...65th in three-point field goals per game (6.3)...155th in three-point field goal percentage...143rd in win-lost percentage...185th in assists per game...71st blocked shots per game (3.6)...125th steals per game...32nd turnovers per game (15.3)...186th personal fouls per game...99th assist-to-turnover ratio (0.8)...89th turnover margin (2.67)...160th three-point field goal percentage.

Coach Trap vs. the Hawkeye State

The Cougars are 17-17 (.500) against Iowa-based schools since Coach Traphagen took the helm at the beginning of the 2008-09 season. The majority of those contests were against a quartet of former GPAC rivals; Morningside College, Briar Cliff, Dordt College and Northwestern College. The Cougars went 1-0 against the Hawkeye State last season, posting a 10-point victory at Upper Iowa on Nov. 22.

What the Peacocks Have Done

Upper Iowa completed one of the most intriguing non-conference slates in the NSIC. The Peacocks opened the season with a 75-67 win against Ashford University before dropping back-to-back contests to a pair of NCAA D-I squads, Northern Iowa and Drake University. After posting a thrilling 82-77 overtime win at home versus William Jewell College, the Peacocks were caged by Wisconsin-Parkside but bounced back with a 65-57 victory against Grand View University. The Peacocks then traveled north to the Last Frontier State, where they upended tournament host Alaska-Fairbanks but suffered defeats at the hands of Winona State and Anderson University (S.C.). UIU has struggled early in league play, dropping its first five NSIC contests. USF and Upper Iowa share no mutual non-conference opponents.

Upper Iowa ranks in the bottom third in the NSIC in most statistical categories. The Peacocks are 15th in the league in scoring offense, scoring defense, scoring margin, field goal percentage defense and three-point field goal percentage and are last in assists per game. The Peacocks are ranked 13th in field goal percentage at 37.2 percent. In contrast, the Cougars sit 15th as they are currently firing at a 36.4% clip. Upper Iowa is the league’s sixth-best team from the charity stripe, at 73.3 percent.

The Upper Iowa Series
The Cougars and the Peacocks have met just once prior to Friday’s matchup. USF scored an 80-54 victory against Concordia-St. Paul on Nov. 26, 1988.

Long Time, No See
Sioux Falls has not faced Winona State since the 1996-97 season, when they fell to the Warriors 72-64 on Nov. 23, 1996.

What the Warriors Have Done
Two Winona State players are currently scoring in double figures, led by Becca Friestleben’s 18.8 points per game. Katie Wolff is chipping in 12.4 points, and the duo has combined for 78 three-pointers for the 9-3 Warriors. Winona State (9-3) boasts a team three-point field goal percentage of 42.5 percent. The Warriors ended 2012 on a very high note, blowing past then No. 12 Wayne State on Dec. 15 by a final score of 74-35. The victory was the Warriors’ first over a ranked team since defeating No. 7 Wayne State on March 5, 2011 during the NSIC tournament. Friestleben leads the NSIC with 46 three-pointers and stands fourth nationally with 3.83 made per game. Friestleben has drained at least one shot from beyond the arc in every game this year.

Tops in the League
Winona State leads the NSIC in scoring defense, allowing just 51.1 points per game. Always a strong shooting squad, WSU leads the conference in 3-point field goal percentage (42.5%) and free throw percentage (82.5%). The team also leads the league in 3-pointers made per game, hitting 8.92 shots from behind the arc.

60 is the Magic Number
Winona State is 9-1 this season when holding its opponents to fewer than 60 points. Its only loss came against No. 6 Augustana, 56-47. Only two WSU opponents have scored more than 60 points this season. Winona State has held ten of its first 12 opponents to under 60 points on the season. Clarke scored just 28 points while Upper Iowa was able to net just 40 points while Anderson posted 45.

Rock Solid at the Stripe

WSU leads the country in free throw percentage, shooting 82.5 percent.The Warriors are also in the nation’s top-10 in 3-point field goal percentage (3rd, 42.5 percent), 3-point¬ers made per game (7th, 8.9), fewest turnovers per game (3rd, 11.8), and assist-to-turnover ratio (7th, 1.28).

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