(Photo by BYU Photo/Mark Philbrick)
Riding a five-game win streak, BYU women’s basketball (8-3, 0-0) gets set to compete for a West Coast Conference regular season title as it opens up league play with two road games. The Cougars travel to Spokane to take on league favorite Gonzaga (7-4, 0-0), Saturday, Dec. 27 in a 2 p.m. PST tip off. They then head to Portland to take on the Pilots (2-9, 0-0), Monday, Dec. 29 at 7 p.m. PST.
Lexi Eaton, a 5-foot-10 junior guard/forward combo, leads the Cougar team in points with 19.1 per game. She ranks third in rebounds, pulling down 6.1 boards a contest. Morgan Bailey, a 6-foot-2 senior forward, follows with 18.0 points and a team-best 10.4 rebounds per game. The team’s assist leader is Kylie Maeda, who averaged 4.2 assists a game.
Heading into WCC play, the Cougars are scoring 66.4 points per game while shooting 42.1 percent from the field, 70.3 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, has recorded more rebounds in five contests to date and has an 8-0 mark when leading at the break.
• Head coach: Jeff Judkins (Utah, ‘78) 14th season
• Team’s leading scorer: #21 L. Eaton, 19.1 ppg
• Team’s leading rebounder: #41 M. Bailey, 10.4 rpg
• Team’s assists leader: #15 K. Maeda, 4.2 apg
• Team’s steals leader: #23 M. Morrison, 1.4 spg
• Team’s blocks leader: #41, M. Bailey, .55 bpg
Heading into the first week of WCC games, Gonzaga has a 7-4, 0-0 record. At home, the Bulldogs are 4-1, with their lone loss, a one-point 59-58 deficit to Wash. St. on Dec.9.
The Zags return three starters from last year’s squad that compiled a 29-5, 16-2 record, won the WCC regular season crown and the conference tournament title. Gonzaga played in the first round of the NCAA tournament.
This season, they were selected to repeat as WCC regular season champs. Three players are scoring in double digits for Gonzaga, led by 14.6 points from Sunny Greinacher, while teammate Keani Albanez contributes 11.4 points. Lindsay Sherbert rounds out the double figure scoring with 10.8 points. The Zags score 68.2 points, grab 42.1 rebounds while shooting 40.5 from the field and 77.5 percent at the free-throw line.
• Head coach: Lisa Fortier (Cal State Monterey Bay, 2004) First Season
• Team’s leading scorer: #14 S. Greinacher, 14.6 ppg
• Team’s leading rebounder: #44 S. Cheslek, 9.4 rpg
• Team’s assists leader: #05 G. Stirton, 3.0 apg
• Team’s steals leader: #24 K. Albanez, 2.5 spg
• Team’s blocks leader: #44 S. Cheslek, 1.3 bpg
Portland (2-9, 0-0) opens up WCC play with two home games, taking on San Diego on Saturday before hosting the Cougars Monday night. Last year, the Pilots compiled a 14-16, 7-11 record, finishing sixth in the WCC race.
With four returning starters, they were selected to place seventh in the league battle this year. Cassandra Brown and Kari Luttinen lead Portland in scoring with 16.4 points from Brown and 12.2 from Luttinen. As a team, the Pilots are putting up 59.4 points, grab 36.5 rebounds, shoot 39.5 percent from the field, 34.7 from behind the arc and 69.1 from the free-throw line.
• Head coach: Cheryl Sorenson (Washington, 2003) First Year
• Team’s leading scorer: #22 C. Brown, 16.4 ppg
• Team’s leading rebounder: #22 C. Brown, 6.2 rpg
• Team’s assists leader: #32 J. Wooton, 3.5 apg
• Team’s steals leader: #23 K. Luttinen & #30 C. Thompson, 1.1 spg
• Team’s blocks leader: #35 S. Zaragoza, 1.9 bpg
The Bulldogs lead the series, 9-6. In Spokane, the Cougars are 2-5. Last season the two teams split the regular season matchups, each winning on its home floor. The two met a third time, in the WCC championship game, where the Zags won 71-57. Head Coach Jeff Judkins is 3-8 against Gonzaga
BYU leads the series 14-4. In Portland, BYU has a 7-2 mark. In last year’s race, the Cougars swept the series. Head Coach Judkins has a perfect, 10-0 record against Portland.
After starting the 2014-15 WCC race with two road games, BYU returns to the Marriott Center for its next two league games. The Cougars host Santa Clara on New Year’s Day at 12:30 p.m., then host San Francisco on Sat. Jan. 3 at 2 p.m. Both games are scheduled to air live on BYUtv.