Mindy Bonham scored a season high 23 points to lead BYU to the win. (Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)
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PROVO -- In a game between two teams hoping to keep their seasons alive, the BYU Cougars soundly defeated the Denver Pioneers 75-60 Thursday at the Marriott Center.
The win pushes the Cougars (24-8) into the second round of the WNIT, where they will meet in-state rival Utah State on Saturday at the Marriott Center. The time for the game has not yet been decided.
“Denver is a well-coached team and I was impressed with what they run," said BYU head coach Jeff Judkins. "They have a lot of plays that they know how to run really well. We fouled a little bit too much but we were trying to be more aggressive and that’s what’s important.”
Senior Mindy Bonham led the way for BYU with a season-high 23 points while also grabbing five boards. Three other Cougars scored in double digits, with Coriann Fraughton contributing 18, Kirsten Riley 11 and Jennifer Hamson 11.
Denver attacked the Cougars early, taking a quick 6-0 lead to start the game. The Pioneers were able to maintain their advantage over BYU until the 6:08 mark when the Cougars took a 23-21 lead, their second of the game, and would keep it throughout the rest of the game.
Bonham and Riley led BYU in the first half, scoring 12 and 11 points, respectively. Riley put in five consecutive points to give the Cougars their first lead of the game and hit four of her six shots in the half.
Despite shooting below 40 percent for the half the Cougars were able to maintain a small lead and headed to the locker room up three, 29-26.
Back from the break, BYU widened the lead quickly, opening on a 7-2 run to make the score 36-28 with 17:50 remaining. Denver responded with an 8-2 run of their own to cut the lead back to two at 38-36.
The BYU defense picked it up after the mini run by the Pioneers and the Cougars extended the lead to double digits, 52-42, at the 12:12 mark with a Hamson offensive rebound and put back.
BYU refused to relinquish the lead the rest of the way, extending it to a game-high 18 points at the 1:31 mark after Hamson got a bucket and free throw to make it 73-55. The Cougars shot 53.6 percent (15-28) as a team in the second half to secure the home win.
The Pioneers finished with three players in double figures led by 16 from Brianna Culberson and Britteni Rice. Kaetlyn Murdoch finished with 15 points.
Utah State comes to the Marriott Center on Saturday for the second round of the WNIT. BYU defeated the Aggies 84-52 in Provo earlier this season.
-This is the sixth time, second straight, that the Cougars have been selected to compete in the WNIT. The women are now (7-5) in six appearances.
-BYU will advance to the second round to play Utah State on Saturday. The Cougars are 1-0 all-time against the Aggies in the WNIT.
-Today’s game against the Pioneers marks the 11th time this season the Cougars have scored over 70 points while compiling a perfect 11-0 record when doing so.
-For the sixth time on the year, four players finished scoring in double figures. Today’s game featured Mindy Bonham, Coriann Fraughton, Jennifer Hamson and Kristen Riley. When the Cougars have four players in double digits they have a 6-0 record.
-BYU’s bench has now outscored their 2010-11 season opponents in a 685-399 final with a 14-0 point difference in today’s win over Denver
-The Cougars are now 22-1 this season when they lead their opponent at the half, 17-2 when they outrebound their opponent, 3-4 when they have between 17-20 turnovers and 13-1 when they play at home.
-Mindy Bonham led all players in today's game with 23 points for a new season-high to give her 1,290 total points in her career for 14th place in BYU's all-time scoring history. She also now has 228 career steals, just one short of tying for 6th all-time in BYU history, and 461 career assists to put her in 4h place all-time.
-Against Denver, Bonham also recorded a season-high three steals.
-Kristen Riley finished the game with 11 points for her 14th time this season in double figures and 26th time in her career. Riley also finished with three steals to tie her season-high.
-Haley Hall recorded a season-high one block.
-Dani Peterson totaled three blocks against the Pioneers for a new season-high.
-Coriann Fraughton finished with 18 points for her 23rd time this season in double figures and 49th time in her career.
-Jennifer Hamson finished with 11 points for her 8th time this season in double figures.
Postgame Coaches Quotes
BYU Coach Jeff Judkins
“Denver is a well-coached team and I was impressed with what they run. They have a lot of plays that they know how to run really well. We fouled a little bit too much but we were trying to be more aggressive and that’s what’s important.”
“We had a great team effort and I’m impressed with these guys. We wanted to win it, that was our goal and we did that. “
“They did an easy job breaking our press. This was one of the only teams I’ve seen who passed through our press. They were on fire and hit a lot of shots early. We tried to get out of the press and play at half to not give them so many easy shots. We gave them some transition, but we also got some. As a coach you have your strengths and weaknesses and tonight we did a better job of staying half and getting back.”
Denver Coach Erik Johnson
“First thing I did when I found out we were playing BYU was get online and look at their stats and just see how you match up and I think that we matched up pretty well. Those are the kind of games you want to play.”
“We played a really tough schedule this year and this team is as every bit as good as those other teams. Every time you make a mistake, they’re going to make you pay. Their size, athleticism and discipline wore us down. That’s a just really good basketball team.
“Those seniors just know how to play. They’re tough and competitive and got under our skin a little bit. I wish we were still playing, but I’m glad they are and I’ll be cheering for them all the way through the WNIT.”
“I thought our guards did a phenomenal job of breaking their pressure. BYU is one of the best running teams in the country. When you ask other coaches about playing BYU, they say you better be able to stop and you better be able to run. To me, it was a really good sign when they took that press off in the first half. There’s not one thing that makes them better than everyone else, they just do everything really well. They have more depth, more size and they’re players make great shots.”