BYU women battle Utah women Saturday in Salt Lake City
PROVO, Utah — Riding a three-game win streak, BYU women’s basketball (6-3) continues its nonconference portion of the 2014-15 campaign, traveling to Salt Lake City to take on in-state rival Utah (4-4) Saturday at noon MST.
The battle between the Cougars and Utes from the Huntsman Center, can be heard live on BYU Radio, Sirius XM 143 and on the Pac-12 Network.
BYU returns three starters and nine letterwinners from last year’s team that compiled a 28-7, 14-4 record. The team finished second in the West Coast Conference and advanced to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA tournament. This year BYU was picked to finish second in the WCC regular-season race.
Lexi Eaton, a 5-foot-10 junior guard/forward combo, leads the team in points with 18.7 per game. She ranks third in rebounds pulling down 6.3 boards a contest. Morgan Bailey, a 6-foot-2 senior forward, follows with 17.9 points and a team-best 9.1 rebounds per game.
After nine games, the Cougars are scoring 67.6 points per game while shooting 43.3 percent from the field, 71.1 percent at the free-throw line and 34.6 percent from 3-point land. In all games, BYU has dished out more assists than its opponents and have recorded more rebounds in five contests to date.
• Head coach: Jeff Judkins (Utah, ‘78) 14th season
• Team’s leading scorer: #21 L. Eaton, 18.7 ppg
• Team’s leading rebounder: #41 M. Bailey, 9.1 rpg
• Team’s assists leader: #15 K. Maeda, 4.2 apg
• Team’s steals leader: #23 M. Morrison, 1.2 spg
• Team’s blocks leader: #41, M. Bailey, .56 bpg
Utah improved its record to 4-4 on the year after Wednesday night’s 59-40 win over Idaho State. When playing in the Huntsman Center, the Utes are 4-0 this season.
The University of Utah has 10 returning letterwinners including three starters from last year’s team that compiled a 12-19, 4-14 record with an 11th place finish in the Pac-12.
This season the Utes were picked to finish in 10th place in the Pac-12 regular season race.
Senior forward Taryn Wicijowski tops the leaderboard for Utah in both points and rebounds averaging 15.3 ppg and 11.0 rpg. Teammate Tanaeya Boclair contributes 8.8 points and 3.5 boards a game. Utah is averaging 58.9 points per contest, while shooting 37.9 from the field, 73.2 from the free-throw line and 27.6 from 3-point range.
• Head coach: Anthony Levrets (Lafayette, 2001) 5th season
• Team’s leading scorer: #11 T. Wicjowski, 15.3 ppg
• Team’s leading rebounder: #11 T. Wicjowski, 11.0 rpg
• Team’s assists leader: #22 D. Rodriguez, 4.1 apg
• Team’s steals leader: #11 T. Wicjowski, 1.0 spg
• Team’s blocks leader: #11 T. Wicjowski, 1.3 bpg
Utah leads the overall series 62-40. When playing at the Huntsman Center, BYU has an 11-30 mark. The last time the Cougars won in Salt Lake City was on Dec. 8, 2012 when they recorded a 53-48 victory.
The two in-state foes played last year in Provo where the Utes picked up the 82-74 double-overtime win on Dec. 14.
The Cougars were outscored 15-7 in the second overtime, highlighted by Utah’s Michelle Plouffe scoring nine points. Plouffe’s 3 opened the period and was followed by back-to-back buckets from Nakia Arquette to give the Utes a seven-point lead. BYU cut the lead to five on Kim Beeston’s three with one minute to play, but Plouffe’s six free throws iced the game.
BYU was led by Lexi Eaton’s 20 points and five assists. Morgan Bailey had 16 points, and Kylie Maeda and Beeston chipped in 12 each. Plagued by early foul trouble, Jennifer Hamson had a near double-double with nine points and 12 rebounds.
With the Cougars trailing by one with 18 seconds left in the first overtime, Eaton drove to the left side of the lane and kicked to Bailey, who hit her fourth 3-pointer of the game with just under 10 seconds left to give the Cougars a 67-65 lead. After a Ute timeout, Plouffe made a driving layup to tie the game at 67 and send the game into another overtime.
Trailing by one at half, the Utes started on a 9-3 run to take a 42-37 lead in the second. Hamson scored the Cougars’ next five points and a trey by Xojian Harry capped an 8-1 run to give them a 45-43 lead. After a 6-0 Utah run, Maeda hit back-to-back 3s to give BYU a 55-54 lead. Down 62-60, Plouffe hit a jumper to tie the game with under a minute left. After a BYU miss, the Utes failed to get a shot off before the shot clock expired and left just two seconds for BYU to try a final shot. Maeda’s half court heave bounced off the rim, forcing the first overtime.
BYU plays one final nonconference game this month when they travel to Logan to battle in-state foe Utah State on Monday, Dec. 20 at 7 p.m. MST.
Following a short Christmas break, the Cougar women begin their run in the 2014-15 West Coast Conference race on the road traveling to Gonzaga and Portland on Dec. 27 and 29, respectively.
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