Devyn Christensen is well aware of the fact it takes a team’s success in order for an individual to be recognized.
So when Christensen was honored as the Western Athletic Conference Women’s Basketball Player of the Week on Monday, it didn’t take long for Utah State’s senior guard to deflect the attention to the Aggies as a whole.
“You don’t get that (award) unless your team wins two games normally, and that’s what we did,” Christensen said. “It just so happens that the role I play on my team is a scorer, so that’s going to sometimes get more recognition.
“We had to bounce back from an 0-3 hole and win two games on the road, which was tough up there in Alaska. But, we did it as a team, so it’s a team award as much as it is an individual award.”
Christensen also earned her first American First Credit Union Utah State Student-Athlete of the Week honor of the season for her efforts.
Christensen averaged 28.0 points, 6.0 assists, 5.0 rebounds and 4.0 steals per game as the Aggies captured the Great Alaska Shootout title last week in Anchorage.
USU arrived in Alaska with zero wins under its belt, but returned to Cache Valley riding a two-game winning streak.
“It was really important for our morale,” Christensen said. “We have a young team. Jenna (Johnson), Pua (Furtado) and I are the only seniors, so we have a young team. For the confidence of those girls going forward, it was important to get two wins.
“The tournament couldn’t have come at a better team. ... Bringing home some hardware and stuff in a tournament setting brought even more confidence to the team. It was a positive experience.”
In the first game of the tournament, Christensen scored 24 points to lead the Aggies to a thrilling 67-66 victory over Prairie View A&M. The native of Caldwell, Idaho, drilled a 3-pointer — one of six on the night — with eight seconds remaining in the game to propel USU to the win. She also dished out a career-best eight assists.
In the championship game against tourney host Alaska Anchorage, Christensen scored a career-high 32 points — again nailing six 3-pointers in the process — to power the Aggies to a 67-57 win over the Seawolves.
Christensen shot 42.5 percent from the field in the tournament (17 of 40), including 42.9 percent from 3-point range (12 of 28). She also had 12 assists and eight steals in the two games.
Christensen and the Aggies (2-3) remain on the road tonight when they square off against in-state foe Utah in Salt Lake City. Tipoff from the Huntsman Center is slated for 7 o’clock.
The undefeated Utes (5-0) are coming off a 73-47 victory over Weber State last Saturday afternoon. Michelle Plouffe led the way for Utah with 18 points.
“It’s definitely better to come (into the game) on a two-game win streak,” Christensen said. “... Where they’re a team that’s playing well and has won some games, and now we’ve won a few games, we’re both going into it wanting to compete. It’s an in-state game, so both of us want to win.
“Again, going back to our team being young, it’s good for them to have confidence because not everybody understands that Utah is a solid team and you need to have confidence when you play a team like that.”
This is the first meeting between the two teams since Utah defeated USU 69-58 in the first round of the Women’s National Invitation Tournament on March 15 in Salt Lake City.
What are the Aggies’ keys for a victory against the Utes?
“I definitely think one of the keys for us is to compete,” Christensen said. “We’ve had some ups and downs this year, where our bite doesn’t match our bark. We’ve got to get that on the same page and that is one of the things (head) coach (Jerry) Fink(beiner) has been stressing this past week, is that things that are within our control, we need to control.
“That’s our effort, our energy, our willingness to compete and get on the floor, and just kind of get nasty and grit our teeth and do those things that competitors do. Coach Fink wants to see that from more than just two or three players and that’s something that he’s stressing right now.”