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When Arizona and Utah State meet on the hardwood this evening, expect the scoreboard operator to stay busy.

That's because both teams like to get out and run every opportunity they can.

"It's going to be a good matchup and we're excited about it," USU forward Ashlee Brown said. "They push the ball, so we just need to get out in transition offensively and defensively. It's going to be a really fast-paced game because we both enjoy pushing."

The Aggies (17-14) welcome the Wildcats (21-11) to the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum today for an opening round game of the Women's National Invitation Tournament. Tip-off is set for 5:30 p.m.

"They're definitely a team that's been playing really well all season, but especially as of late winning eight of their last 10," USU head coach Raegan Pebley said. "They're a team that has definitely shown a lot more commitment on the defensive end in this run than they were earlier in the season.

"They've got a team that we think is built similar to Louisiana Tech, where they've got some great athletes in the post that can rebound and run the floor and really impact the game and get them extra possessions, as well as having a pretty balanced perimeter attack."

This is the first time USU has hosted a postseason game since March 5, 1976, when the Aggies lost to Utah in the AIAW Region VII Championships.

"Getting a home game here is a vote of confidence from our administration and from the WNIT, that they believe this can be a women's basketball town," Pebley said. "... If we want to be a program that is able to attract great talent across the country, attendance is a big part of that. This is an opportunity for us to really do a great job in demonstrating how much of a basketball town Cache Valley is."

Following the game, USU will be hosting a watch party at the Spectrum for the men's game against Kansas State in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

This is Arizona's third appearance in the WNIT, while the Aggies have never played in it.

"I'm really excited," USU guard Jenna Johnson said. "Personally, I've never been in postseason play. Last year, we didn't get the opportunity to and this year, I think it's a huge step for our program and all my other teammates.

"... It's just a new experience for all of us and I think it's going to be a step for us to take next year so we can try and make the NCAA."

The Wildcats have three players averaging in double figures. Ify Ibekwe leads the way at 16.1 points per game. The senior forward also averages a team-best 9.9 rebounds each night.

"She's a good player, she's leading that team in a lot of categories," said Brown, who leads the Aggies in scoring (15.3 ppg) and rebounding (8.6 rpg). "With a good player, you've just got to know what you're in for. We've got to buckle down and commit to each other and communicate, and try to win the battle of the boards always. She's a good player and we want to contain her for sure, work as a team."

Davellyn Whyte (15.6) and Soana Lucet (12.2) also average in double-figure scoring for the Wildcats, who average 73.1 ppg.

"They're a running team, they really like to push the ball," Johnson said. "Our goal is to get back on D and set up our defense so they don't get into transition like they want to. So, if we can stop their transition, that's going to be a huge opportunity for us to get the lead or the win."

The Aggies, who are 9-6 at home this season, average 68.4 ppg.

"We're excited and a lot of players haven't played in the postseason before on our team, so we're excited to get that opportunity to play together," Brown said. "Our team chemistry is great."

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