BYU Advances to MWC Title Game

Dani Kubik led BYU with 24 points and 10 rebounds as the Cougars defeated TCU in the MWC Tournament semifinals. (Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)

DENVER -- The No. 19 BYU women's basketball team advanced to the Mountain West Conference Tournament Championship game for the fifth time in seven years with a 63-53 win over fourth-seeded TCU Friday afternoon in the semifinals. The Cougars will face No. 21 Utah at 4 p.m. on Saturday.

"TCU is a very good team," said BYU head coach Jeff Judkins. "Being tired affected them more than us tonight because it limited their quickness and their speed. Overall, I'm proud of our players for the job they did and look forward to playing again tomorrow."

Junior Dani Kubik had a career night for BYU in the win with 24 points while pulling down 10 rebounds for her second double-double of the season. MWC Co-Player of the Year Ambrosia Anderson also recorded a double-double, the eighth of the season for the senior and 14th of her career, with 12 points and 10 boards. Sophomore Mallary Gillespie recorded 18 points for the Cougars on 3-for-6 shooting from three-point range.

"I was really ready for this game," said Kubik. "I was excited beforehand. It was a big game against a great team, and I knew it was my turn."

The Cougars kept TCU's offense under control, limiting the Horned Frogs to 26.7 percent shooting while BYU shot 46.9 percent. On the season, the Cougars are now 21-1 when leading at the half and 20-2 when holding the rebounding advantage, which was 41 to 37 against TCU.

"We knew going in that we just needed to get up on them strong and take away the open shots," said Gillespie. "We just tried to take them out of their offense and it worked for us."

TCU jumped out to a quick 3-2 lead, but the Cougars quickly warmed up on offense, putting together a 10-0 run to build a 12-3 advantage. The spurt featured five straight points from Anderson. BYU continued its hot shooting through the next four minutes, running up a 17-8 score on 77.8 percent shooting from the field in the early going.

However, the nets went cold for both teams as the half wore on. The Cougars went over five minutes without a bucket from the floor, but the Horned Frogs could fare no better from the field, instead making four free throws to BYU's two to cut the lead to 19-12 with 7:47 left to play in the half.

But the Cougars refused to let TCU mount a comeback, going on a 13-6 run to extend their lead to 32-18. The Horned Frogs used the three-point shot to stay in the game, making their last four attempts from downtown, but still trailed 36-24 to the league leaders at the break. BYU shot 50 percent in the first half compared to TCU's 29.2 percent as three Cougars reached double figures in the opening 20 minutes of play.

Four quick TCU points to start the second half forced a BYU time out just one minute into the period. Kubik got the message and responded with four points of her own, but the resilient Horned Frogs continued attacking and capitalizing on Cougar fouls and turnovers to cut the once 12-point lead to five at 45-40 with 13:44 left to play. BYU turned the ball over five times in the first 4:33 of the half.

The Cougars responded with an 11-2 run over the next five minutes to take their largest lead of the half at 56-42. Vanessa Hutson entered the game and drained her first shot attempt, a three-pointer, to help open up the lead. BYU cruised from there, earning the 63-53 win.

Saturday's Championship game can be seen tape delayed at 10 p.m. on ESPN2. Live audio is available through BYU Radio, and live stats can be accessed on the schedule page of the BYU women's basketball homepage at byucougars.com.

"Utah is a very well-coached team," said Judkins. "They have a lot of veteran players who have been in big games like this. It'll be interesting. It should be a great game. We'll see who really wants it the most."

Official Basketball Box Score

TCU Horned Frogs vs BYU Cougars

03-10-06 1:45 p.m. at Denver, Colo. (Pepsi Center)

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VISITORS: TCU Horned Frogs 18-11 (11-5 MWC)

TOT-FG 3-PT REBOUNDS

## Player Name FG-FGA FG-FGA FT-FTA OF DE TOT PF TP A TO BLK S MIN

14 BUTLER-RAYFORD,Lorie f 3-8 0-0 1-5 3 7 10 2 7 2 1 0 1 29

34 DAVIS, Ashley....... f 3-8 3-6 0-0 2 0 2 4 9 0 1 1 0 25

40 LOHSE, Jenna........ f 0-5 0-0 4-6 3 1 4 4 4 0 0 0 1 18

11 LACY, Natasha....... g 4-12 1-3 2-3 2 4 6 4 11 3 2 0 2 31

33 ROSS, Adrianne...... g 2-10 1-3 6-8 1 5 6 0 11 2 2 0 2 32

05 HEJNY, JimAnne...... 1-4 1-2 0-0 2 2 4 1 3 0 1 0 1 17

10 KNIGHT, Moneka...... 1-4 1-1 0-0 0 1 1 1 3 2 4 1 2 18

22 CLEMENTINO, Vanessa. 2-6 1-3 0-0 0 1 1 0 5 1 0 2 0 21

31 RIVERA, Marissa..... 0-3 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 9

TEAM................ 1 2 3 1

Totals.............. 16-60 8-18 13-22 14 23 37 16 53 10 14 4 9 200

TOTAL FG% 1st Half: 7-24 29.2% 2nd Half: 9-36 25.0% Game: 26.7% DEADB

3-Pt. FG% 1st Half: 5-10 50.0% 2nd Half: 3-8 37.5% Game: 44.4% REBS

F Throw % 1st Half: 5-8 62.5% 2nd Half: 8-14 57.1% Game: 59.1% 4

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HOME TEAM: BYU Cougars 25-4 (13-3 MWC)

TOT-FG 3-PT REBOUNDS

## Player Name FG-FGA FG-FGA FT-FTA OF DE TOT PF TP A TO BLK S MIN

35 JOHNSEN, Melinda.... f 1-6 1-3 1-2 0 7 7 2 4 1 4 1 1 34

45 KUBIK, Dani......... c 9-12 0-0 6-9 3 7 10 4 24 2 3 3 1 31

15 KEELE, Jennie....... g 0-1 0-1 0-0 0 5 5 2 0 4 3 2 2 25

30 GILLESPIE, Mallary.. g 7-12 3-6 1-1 0 2 2 1 18 3 4 0 0 33

33 ANDERSON, Ambrosia.. g 4-12 2-4 2-2 0 10 10 2 12 2 1 0 3 33

01 SELJAAS, Nancy...... 0-1 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2

10 STRATTON, Laura..... 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 1 0 1 1 0 0 3

24 HUTSON, Vanessa..... 1-1 1-1 0-0 0 1 1 3 3 3 2 0 1 14

32 SLADE, Shawnee...... 1-1 0-0 0-1 0 2 2 1 2 0 2 0 1 16

52 RILEY, Lauren....... 0-3 0-0 0-0 2 1 3 0 0 0 1 1 0 9

TEAM................ 1 1

Totals.............. 23-49 7-15 10-15 6 35 41 16 63 16 21 7 9 200

TOTAL FG% 1st Half: 13-26 50.0% 2nd Half: 10-23 43.5% Game: 46.9% DEADB

3-Pt. FG% 1st Half: 4-9 44.4% 2nd Half: 3-6 50.0% Game: 46.7% REBS

F Throw % 1st Half: 6-9 66.7% 2nd Half: 4-6 66.7% Game: 66.7% 2

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Officials: Robert Strong, Marianne Karp, Sue Kennedy

Technical fouls: TCU-None. BYU-None.

Attendance: 3578

Score by Periods 1st 2nd Total

TCU Horned Frogs ............. 24 29 - 53

BYU Cougars .................. 36 27 - 63