As the 2004-05 season came to a close for the women's basketball team, the year brought the team 19 wins, a third place finish in the MWC regular season and its 10th postseason appearance, the fourth in the WNIT.
The Cougar team had huge wins over basketball powerhouses like USC 76-73, George Washington 76-70, and only lost to Arizona by three 73-76 in the early non-conference schedule.
BYU also participated in two tournaments in December playing in the Waikiki Beach Marriott Invitational in Honolulu, Hawaii and at the Malibu, California Hilton Woodland Hills Beach Classic hosted by Pepperdine. In the tournaments, the Cougars tallied a 1-3 record. Junior forward Ambrosia Anderson and senior co-captain Kristin Kozlowski were named to the Waikiki Beach Invitational All-Tournament Team.
Prior to the start of conference play in January, the team was on a three-game winning streak, picking up impressive victories over Weber State, Montana State and Portland State. In the Weber State game on 12/30/04 senior forward Danielle Cheesman joined BYU's elite 1,000-point club when she hit a three-point bucket just minutes into the game. She became the 14th student-athlete who has reached that similar milestone during their BYU college career.
Senior co-captain Kristin Kozlowski was honored as MWC Player of the Week on 01/10/05 for her performance vs. Montana State and Portland State where she shot 90.0 percent from the field (9-for-10) and 100 percent (9-for-9) from the free-throw line and averaged 13.5 points and 4.0 rebounds per game.
The 2005 MWC race began on Jan. 13 with the team dropping a home 63-74 loss to Wyoming, but bounded right back with an impressive 20-point win over CSU on Jan. 15. The following week the Cougars took to the road with games at New Mexico and at Air Force, with the team going 1-1 on that trip, losing to the Lobos in Albuquerque, but defeating the Falcons 75-66. The next three league games were at home for BYU where they tallied a 2-1 record with wins over SDSU and UNLV.
Newcomer to the team junior forward Dani Kubik who transferred from Auburn University and became eligible to play for the Cougars in late December quickly made her presence known to league opponents. She was named MWC Player of the Week on 02/07/05 for her performance vs. SDSU and UNLV where she tallied 14 points in each game, had season and career highs in rebounds with seven and was also perfect from the free throw line in the two games.
Midway through the conference race BYU had compiled an impressive 7-4 record and was in the hunt to finish at the top of the league standings. With just three games to go, the Cougars dropped a 58-68 decision to instate rival Utah in Salt Lake City but finished the season on a two-game winning streak after defeating UNLV and SDSU on the road to finish in third place in the regular MWC season with a 9-5 record.
Playing at home proved to be very beneficial for the BYU team in the 2004-05 season. The team went 12-3 overall, 5-2 in the conference and 7-1 in non-conference games.
For the second year in a row, the MWC Championships were held at the Pepsi Center in Denver, Colorado. The Cougars first round opponent was CSU a team they had swept during the regular season. BYU made it three straight with the 70-65 victory over the Rams. In the semifinal game, the Cougars met up once again with instate rival Utah, losing in the final minutes by a score of 48 to 64.
Prior to going to the conference tournament, four players received All-Conference Honors. Senior point-guard and co-captain Julie Sullivan made the First Team All Conference. Danielle Cheesman and Kristin Kozlowski made the Third Team All-Conference with Ambrosia Anderson named to the Honorable Mention All-Conference Team.
Kozlowski was also recognized for her academic achievement during her senior season. She was named to the 2004-05 CoSIDA Academic All-America District VIII Second Team. She studied psychology and had a 3.42 GPA. She was the only athlete from the Mountain West Conference to receive the accolade.
Despite not advancing into the championship game of the MWC tournament, the Cougar team did get a postseason invitation and played at Gonzaga in the first round of the 2005 Postseason Sportsview.tv WNIT. The team was not able to advance losing to the Bulldogs by a score of 57-71.
Senior co-captain Julie Sullivan finished her career leading the team in scoring with an average of 11.6 points. She was also the team's assist leader dishing out 3.73 assists per game. During her senior year, Sullivan also had 21 games where she scored in double figures. She also picked up the All-American Strength and Conditioning Athlete of the Year award from the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA). Sullivan was one of 251 collegiate athletes honored.
Senior forward Danielle Cheesman led the team in rebounds grabbing a team-high 7.8 boards per game. She also compiled a total of 12 double doubles during her four-year college career, picking up five in her senior season. Co-captain Kozlowski also finished her college basketball career in 2005 where she started in all games and tallied 15 games where she scored in double figures.
Cougar fans had a chance to see three new freshmen during the 2004-05 campaign. Mallary Gillespie, Mary Martha Abell and Lauren Riley picked up solid playing time during the year with Gillespie getting the starting position in 13 of 30 games. She tallied a career and season high seven three-pointers in the team's second game of the season against Nevada in the Mariott Center on Nov. 24. Riley played in a total of 28 games while Abell participated in 23.
The Cougar offense was impressive during the year having a total of 14 games where the team had at least three players scoring in double digits, and there were three times where the team had four players scoring in double figures. They made a team-high 10 three pointers at Utah on Feb. 24, and had six games where they shot 50 percent or better from the field.
Julie Sullivan - First Team All Conference
Danielle Cheesman - Third Team All-Conference
Kristen Kozlowski - Third Team All-Conference
Ambrosia Anderson - Honorable Mention All-Conference
MWC Player of the Week Honors
Kristin Kozlowski - Jan. 10, 2005
Dani Kubik - Feb. 7, 2005
Kristen Kozlowski --2004-05 CoSIDA Academic All-America District VIII Second Team
Julie Sullivan - All-American Strength and Conditioning Athlete of the Year, National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA).