(Photo by Jaren Wilkey/BYU Photo)
A very young team that consisted of eight freshmen, two underclassmen, and one of the toughest schedules in the program's history, were the standard during the 2007-08 BYU women's basketball season. The schedule included eight teams that competed in the postseason tournament and a road game with eventual NCAA Final Four participant UConn.
With a 13-16, 7-9 record, the season concluded in the quarterfinals of the MWC championships in Las Vegas after losing 41-59 to New Mexico, the league's eventual tournament champion.
"We had a very difficult year competing with a young team that included eight freshmen, "and our schedule was also one of the hardest," said head coach Jeff Judkins.
"But we learned a lot and I know that our new players learned a lot and will work very hard to have a great season next year."
Despite losing to Final Four finisher UConn in Hartford, the young team picked up impressive wins over UCLA, UCSB, Fresno State, Seton Hall and Utah State.
The win over Fresno State on Nov. 17 improved BYU's all-time record in home openers to 24-11 and under coach Judkins to 6-1.
During conference action, the team went 5-3 in the first half of league play and ended with a 7-9 record and a fifth place finish. For the second year in a row, BYU won at "The Pit" in Albuquerque, defeating UNM 41-38 on Jan. 26, and swept the series against CSU. At the Marriott Center, the team compiled a 9-5 overall and 5-3 league record beating league foes Wyoming, UNLV, SDSU, and the Air Force Academy.
Two players garnered league accolades with Second Team All-MWC honors going to senior and co-captain Mallary Carling and Honorable Mention All-MWC to Lauren Varley, the other senior co-captain.
"Our three seniors (Carling, Varley and Ashley Cheesman) had great careers while playing here at BYU and they will be missed next season," added Judkins.
In league play, the 56-42 home victory over then No.15 Wyoming on 2/2/08 marked the first time the Cougars had defeated a ranked opponent since the 55-52 upset against then No. 5 Stanford in Palo Alto, Calif, in last year's 2006-07 Preseason WNIT on 11/13/06.
Despite losing to arch rival Utah in the Marriott Center on 1/19/08, the 6,206 fans in attendance set a new school record.
Throughout the season the Cougar squad consistently ranked at the top of the conference stats in all games and in league games. In all games, the team finished ranked first in field goal percentage defense, second in three-point field goal percentage defense, third in rebounding offense, first in defensive rebounds, and third in blocked shots.
In stats during MWC games only, BYU topped the list in field goal percentage defense, and in defensive rebounds. The team finished second in blocked shots, third in three-point field goal defense, and in rebounding offense, and fifth in three-point field goals made.
The future looks bright for the Cougar women's basketball program as next year's team returns with a seasoned group of very talented and athletic student-athletes along with four new players that will help the coaching staff reach its goals and full potential.