Womens Basketball is Back!

LOGAN — Brittany Tressler, Stephanie Grant and Ali Aird all had numerous offers to play college basketball with established, high-profile programs. Instead, the trio, and 11 of their teammates, chose Utah State — a school that hasn't had a program for 16 years.

Women's basketball is back at USU's Spectrum, under the direction of head coach Raegan Pebley. Tom Smart, Deseret Morning News For them, as their team motto indicates: "The Tradition Is Now." "We know we're going to be competitive because we have all worked so hard," Tressler said. "If you don't have the talent, you can make up for it by working hard." They all have adopted the attitude of taking a team to the NCAA tournament instead of riding on the coattails of someone else. "That's what a lot of these kids want to do," first-year Utah State coach Raegan Pebley said. "They have the opportunity to create a tradition here . . . The one thing this kids have in common is they are overachievers. They've been part of state championship teams and nation championship teams." When the Aggies tip off with Southern Utah on Nov. 1 at The Spectrum, women's basketball at Utah State is officially back. "It's almost unreal that it's finally here," Tressler said. "Every day it's so exciting." Before reinstating the program in March 2002, Utah State, along with Virginia Military Institute and The Citadel, were the only Division I schools without women's basketball programs. Until recently, VMI and The Citadel were male-only schools. Tressler and Grant were the first two signees to the Utah State program, some three weeks after Pebley, a Mountain View High graduate, was offered the job. "When I was deciding on a university, I was looking at the coach," Tressler said. "Coach Pebley got the job, and I knew how awesome she was and I wanted to play for her." Although the team didn't play any games last season, many of the players transferred in last year and redshirted so they could spend more time with Pebley and learn her system. For the past year, they have lifted weights and practiced for 12 to 15 hours a week in preparation for this year. Tressler, who played center in high school, used the additional year to learn how to play forward. "I was more excited about it (coming in early) because it would give me a year to get into the college life, and I wanted to work on my game," said Tressler, who graduated from Mountain View High School in 2001. Saturday, the Aggies open their first day of practice. "We've been waiting so long for this," Tressler said. "We're ready to go out on fire."

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