BYU Defeats Utah for Share of MWC Title

Senior Jennie Keele address the record crowd following the Cougars' victory over Utah Wednesday night. Keele had eight points and five assists in her final game in the Marriott Center. (Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)

Playing for the last time on the Marriott Center floor, the BYU senior trio of Dani Kubik-Wright, Jennie Keele and Melinda Johnsen led the women's basketball team to victory against the University of Utah as BYU (21-7, 12-3 MWC) beat the Utes (17-11, 10-5 MWC) 59-55 in front of the largest crowd in BYU Women's basketball history Thursday night in Provo.

With the win, the Cougars clinch at least a share of the Mountain West Conference regular season title.

"This was the best atmosphere we've had since I've been here," said BYU Head Coach Jeff Judkins. "For us to be able to have a chance to win the conference championship -- you can't dream for anything better than that."

In the early minutes of the game, BYU jumped to a 10 to zero lead with the Cougar seniors accounting for eight of BYU's first 10 points and senior Melinda Johnsen scoring the first four Cougar points. Feeding off the crowd of 4,018, BYU also was impressive on the defensive end, allowing the Utes to shoot just 27 percent in the first nine minutes of the game. Trying to equal BYU's intensity, the Utes put together a run to tie the score at 16 a piece with 10:22 left in the first half. With the score tied, Dani Wright hit one of two free-throws to give BYU a one point lead. The Cougars led by one 17-16, when Utah's Kalee Whipple hit a jump shot to give the Utes a one point lead 18-17 with 9:15 to go before halftime.

Utah led by three, 20-17, when BYU's Mallary Gillespie made a three point shot to tie the game at 20-20 with 4:49 remaining in the first half. The basket by Gillespie broke a seven minute scoreless drought by the Cougars.

Trailing by one in the remaining minutes of the first half, 25-24, BYU would go on a six to zero scoring run that gave them a three point lead 30-25 with 1:14 left before halftime.

Utah's Morgan Warburton banked in a three point shot to cut the Cougar lead back down to two 30 to 28 with 30 seconds before halftime. BYU could not get a shot off before the half-time buzzer rang and took a two point lead, 30 to 28 into the locker room at halftime. Mallary Gillespie led BYU with seven first half points.

To open the second half, Utah scored the first basket to tie the game at 30 a piece. On the next BYU possession, Gillespie was fouled on a jump shot and made the accompanying free-throw to give BYU the lead, 33-30 with 17:33 to go. After trading baskets, and the game tied at 39 all, Lauren Riley scored as the shot clock ran out to give BYU a two point lead, 41- 39. Utah's Warburton answered Riley's basket with a three point basket that gave the Utes a one point lead, 42 to 41 with 10:53 left in the game. Cougar Jennie Keele gained back the BYU lead by making a lay-up and getting fouled on the shot. Keele's free-throw gave BYU a two point lead, 44 to 42.

With nine minutes left in the game, Utah's Heidi Carlson made a three point basket to give the Utes a three point lead, 47 to 44. After a Utah basket, BYU went on a 10 to two run to give the Cougars a five point lead, 54 to 49, with 6:25 left in the game. Utah answered the Cougar scoring run with a five point unanswered scoring run led by forward Joh-Teena Filipe who scored all five of the Ute points. BYU broke their scoring drought when Wright made a lay-up to give the Cougars a three point lead, 57 to 54 at the 3:45 minute mark in the second half.

Leading 57-55 with 40 seconds left in the game, BYU rebounded a missed Utah shot and quickly ran the ball down and scored on a Shawnee Slade jump shot. The basket gave the Cougars a 59 to 55 lead and on the ensuing Utah possession BYU rebounded a missed Ute shot and time ran out giving BYU the 59 to 55 win.

Gillespie led BYU with 17 points while Wright recorded her fifth double-double of the season with 11 points and 12 rebounds.

The Cougars outscored the Utes 28-18 in the paint and converted on 19 second chance points in the game.

Seniors Keele, Johnsen and Wright were honored before the game.

The game featured eight lead changes and nine tied scores.

The Cougars finish out the season on the road when they travel to Fort Worth, Texas to take on TCU, Saturday, March 3rd at 2 p.m.

Official Basketball Box Score

UTAH Utes vs BYU COUGARS

02-28-07 8:05 pm at Marriott Center, BYU, Provo, UT

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VISITORS: UTAH Utes 17-11, 10-5

TOT-FG 3-PT REBOUNDS

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

32 FILIPE, Joh-Teena... f 4-12 1-6 0-0 0 1 1 0 9 1 5 1 0 26

45 PERRY, Jessica...... f 2-2 0-0 0-0 1 2 3 1 4 4 0 0 0 16

03 ULSAKER, Brette..... g 1-4 0-0 0-0 0 3 3 1 2 1 1 0 0 23

05 CARLSEN, Heidi...... g 2-5 1-2 1-2 0 1 1 2 6 3 2 0 0 32

15 WARBURTON, Morgan... g 5-10 1-3 1-2 1 4 5 4 12 2 3 0 2 37

02 WHIPPLE, Kalee...... 5-9 2-3 0-0 2 6 8 1 12 1 2 0 1 35

12 MURPHY, Shauna...... 0-1 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 4

33 WARNER, Marie....... 3-5 2-3 2-2 0 4 4 2 10 1 0 0 1 27

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

Totals.............. 22-48 7-17 4-6 5 22 27 11 55 14 13 1 4 200

TOTAL FG% 1st Half: 12-25 48.0% 2nd Half: 10-23 43.5% Game: 45.8% DEADB

3-Pt. FG% 1st Half: 4-9 44.4% 2nd Half: 3-8 37.5% Game: 41.2% REBS

F Throw % 1st Half: 0-1 0.0% 2nd Half: 4-5 80.0% Game: 66.7% 1

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HOME TEAM: BYU COUGARS 21-7, 12-3

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 3-9 0-4 0-0 1 2 3 1 6 4 2 0 3 39

52 RILEY, Lauren....... f 5-5 0-0 0-0 1 5 6 3 10 0 0 2 1 21

45 WRIGHT, Dani........ c 4-8 0-1 3-4 5 7 12 2 11 3 2 1 0 28

15 KEELE, Jennie....... g 3-10 1-7 1-2 2 2 4 1 8 5 1 1 1 31

30 GILLESPIE, Mallary.. g 6-13 2-7 1-1 2 2 4 2 15 0 3 1 0 40

05 CHEESMAN, Ashley.... 0-1 0-0 0-0 1 1 2 0 0 2 0 0 1 9

32 SLADE, Shawnee...... 3-11 2-4 1-2 0 2 2 2 9 3 4 0 0 29

54 KING, Cassie........ 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 3

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

Totals.............. 24-57 5-23 6-9 14 22 36 11 59 17 12 5 6 200

TOTAL FG% 1st Half: 12-27 44.4% 2nd Half: 12-30 40.0% Game: 42.1% DEADB

3-Pt. FG% 1st Half: 3-12 25.0% 2nd Half: 2-11 18.2% Game: 21.7% REBS

F Throw % 1st Half: 3-5 60.0% 2nd Half: 3-4 75.0% Game: 66.7% 0

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Officials: Melissa Barlow, Randy Campbell, Mike Petty

Technical fouls: UTAH Utes-None. BYU COUGARS-None.

Attendance: 4018

Score by Periods 1st 2nd Total

UTAH Utes..................... 28 27 - 55

BYU COUGARS................... 30 29 - 59

official box score BYU 59 - Utah 55

Tags: Results