Highlights of the 2008-09 season included a 10-game win streak that spanned from the end of November to the middle of January marking another winning campaign for BYU’s women’s basketball program.
The team compiled an impressive 18-11 overall record and finished in fifth place in the Mountain West Conference with an 8-8 mark.
Along the way, the Cougars recorded impressive wins over two Pac-10 schools, USC and Oregon, as well as convincing victories over Wright State, Long Beach State, Arkansas State, Nevada and the University of Portland. They also captured wins against instate foes Utah State, Southern Utah and Weber State.
Additionally, the Cougar team was the second youngest in NCAA history during the 2008-09 campaign with 14 underclassmen on the roster. The youngest squad from Northwestern State carried 15 underclassmen.
Other highlights included tallying an 11-1 record when leading at the half, going 12-1 when outrebounding opponents and 13-7 when making at least five three pointers in a game. The team also grabbed a season-best 55 boards vs. Utah State in December, tying for second place in the program’s history. They also had season bests in assists with 19 at Portland and in steals with 13 at San Diego State. In the win at Nevada, the team scored a season high 81 points. The team scored 60 points or more in 13 games winning all but one, and they had at least two players score in double figures in a total of 18 contests while capturing 12 wins. The deep bench on the BYU squad also played a vital role in the success of the season. There were a total of 17 games where the Cougar bench outscored the opponent bench, and of those the team won 11 of those contests.
As in years past, BYU achieved success during the 2009 MWC race sweeping the series against Colorado State, UNLV, and the Air Force Academy, splitting the series against Wyoming and TCU. The Cougars were the only team in league play to get a road win vs. the Horned Frogs.
With an 8-8 MWC record, the Cougars finished tied for fifth place with Wyoming, but went into the tournament as the sixth seed team because of tie breaking policies. In the league tournament played in Las Vegas at the Thomas & Mack Center, the Cougars faced UNLV and despite an strong come from behind effort, fell to the Rebels 58-66 in first round action. UNLV advanced into the semifinals before losing to San Diego State 63-71.
That league success also showed in numerous statistical categories where BYU’s strong defensive force placed the team second in steals and in turnover margin, third in scoring defense and fourth in blocked shots. The Cougars ranked third in offensive rebounds.
Several BYU players ranked high in various MWC stats led by senior co-captain Cassie King’s second place in field goal percentage, and Jazmine Foreman’s third place ranking in assists and 10th place in steals. Teammate Mindy Nielson ranked third in steals and seventh in assists. She also led the squad in scoring placing 19th in all MWC games. King’s presence was also felt in rebounding finishing 12th in that category and 13th and 15th respectively in offensive and defensive boards. The other co-captain on the team, Shawnee Slade finished strong in scoring placing 22nd and was 15th in offensive rebounds.
Nielson, Slade and King all picked up MWC Honors at the end of the season. Nielson was named All-Conference Third team while Slade and King were named Honorable Mention All-MWC.
King also garnered a national academic honor when she was named to the CoSIDA ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District 8 Team. The exercise science major had a 3.92 GPA.
For the first time in the school’s history, Cougar fans got a chance to see the nation’s No. 1 ranked team play in the Marriott Center. Connecticut, who went on to win the 2009 NCAA Championships, played on the court on Nov. 25, 2008. On that night there were 3,109 fans in attendance making it the largest home crowd on the year, and the highest ranked basketball opponent men or women to ever play at the Marriott Center. When New Mexico played in Provo on Jan. 17, it was ranked 25th nationally, and was the second top-25 ranked team to make an appearance in Provo during the season.
The Cougar squad finished the year with an 8-6 record at home including a 67-45 victory over Oregon on Nov. 21 which improved coach Jeff Judkins’ home opener record to 7-1 in his seven seasons. BYU ended the year going 8-5 on the road and 2-0 when playing at neutral sites.