BYU Starts MWC Tournament Hot

Mallary Gillespie scored 20 points to lead the Cougars to victory over Air Force in the quarterfinals of the MWC Tournament. (Photo by Jaren Wilkey/BYU Photo)

LAS -- The top-seeded BYU women's basketball team began its Mountain West Conference Tournament run Wednesday night with a 72-40 drubbing of No. 9-seed Air Force. The Cougars (22-8) will now play the winner of the late game between fourth-seeded TCU and fifth-seeded Utah in Friday's semifinal action.

Junior Mallary Gillespie scored in double figures for the 20th time this season with 20 points on 8-for-14 shooting to lead the Cougars. Gillespie also added five rebounds and tied her season high with five assists. Junior Lauren Riley also scored in double figures with 12 points for BYU. Sophomore Cassie King led the Cougars on the boards with seven rebounds while Ashley Cheesman, playing for the injured Wright, added a career-high six rebounds and Shawnee Slade posted five.

"I'm really happy for our players," said BYU head coach Jeff Judkins. "It was good to see Ashley (Cheesman), Cassie (King) and Shawnee (Slade) play some good minutes and gain some confidence."

The Cougars shot 50.9 percent from the field and recorded 11 steals while forcing 21 Falcon turnovers. BYU also held Air Force to just 28.3 percent shooting from the field in notching their fifth victory this season by more than 20 points and their biggest win this year against an MWC opponent.

Air Force's Alecia Steele scored first, giving the Falcons their first lead against the Cougars this season. However, Gillespie quickly established control for BYU, scoring five straight points to spark a 10-0 Cougar run. But just when it looked like BYU would run away with it, the Falcons came soaring back to tie things up at 10-10.

The Cougars suffered a blow during the run as MWC Co-Player of the Year Dani Kubik Wright went down with a sprained ankle. But the Cougars rallied around their injured teammate and caught fire, putting together a 19-0 run over the next 8:37 to take a commanding 29-10 lead with 4:15 left in the first half. Steele finally got the Falcons back on the scoreboard with a jumper, but the damage had been done as BYU took a 36-18 advantage into the locker room at halftime for the 17th time this year.

"I'm really proud of this team," said Judkins. "They could've gotten discouraged when Dani (Wright) went out, but they came together and said 'let's do it.' That's what's so good about this team. It's not just one person. It's been a team effort, and it's been a lot of fun to coach them."

Gillespie began the second half much as she did the first, scoring four straight points to give BYU a 40-17 lead. The two teams traded buckets from there until an 11-2 Cougar spurt extended the lead to 29 points at 57-28. Moments later, after a Falcon bucket, BYU doubled up on AFA with a three-point make from Cheesman to go up 60-30. The rout continued from there as BYU cruised to the 72-40 win.

BYU's semifinal game on Friday will tip-off at 2:30 p.m. PT at the Thomas & Mack Center. The game will be televised on the mtn., and live audio and live stats links are available at www.byucougars.com.

Official Basketball Box Score

Air Force vs BYU

03-07-07 6 p.m. at Thomas & Mack Center - Las Vegas, Nev.

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VISITORS: Air Force 6-23

TOT-FG 3-PT REBOUNDS

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

32 STEELE, Alecia...... f 4-12 0-0 4-5 1 4 5 0 12 3 2 0 1 31

44 NOVAK, Jacki........ c 1-2 0-0 1-1 1 0 1 3 3 0 1 0 2 9

04 CASTILLO, Letricia.. g 2-4 0-2 0-0 0 2 2 1 4 2 2 0 0 24

24 TAYLOR, Andrea...... g 0-1 0-1 2-2 0 3 3 2 2 2 3 0 1 20

30 FINDLAY, Pamela..... g 3-7 1-1 0-0 1 1 2 3 7 0 4 0 1 30

05 MYERS, Ashley....... 0-2 0-1 0-0 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 6

12 GLADYSZ, Kory....... 1-2 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 2 0 1 0 1 4

14 LETE, Cynthia....... 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 1 0 0 1 0 0 1

22 DAVIS, Jamie........ 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 2 0 0 1 0 0 9

23 HIGGINBOTHAM, Dawn.. 0-5 0-0 0-0 3 0 3 1 0 0 1 0 1 19

31 JONES, Chasmine..... 0-2 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 3

33 SCHJODT, Kathleen... 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 2

34 CULTRA, Brooke...... 3-12 1-3 0-2 3 2 5 2 7 1 4 0 2 25

35 LOVELESS, Dana...... 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 1 0 6

43 KREKE, Kim.......... 1-4 0-0 1-1 1 1 2 0 3 0 1 0 0 11

TEAM................ 4 4

Totals.............. 15-53 2-8 8-11 14 16 30 15 40 8 21 1 9 200

TOTAL FG% 1st Half: 7-26 26.9% 2nd Half: 8-27 29.6% Game: 28.3% DEADB

3-Pt. FG% 1st Half: 1-3 33.3% 2nd Half: 1-5 20.0% Game: 25.0% REBS

F Throw % 1st Half: 3-3 100 % 2nd Half: 5-8 62.5% Game: 72.7% 2,1

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HOME TEAM: BYU 22-8

TOT-FG 3-PT REBOUNDS

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

45 WRIGHT, Dani........ f 0-1 0-0 2-2 0 2 2 0 2 1 2 0 0 6

52 RILEY, Lauren....... c 5-10 0-0 2-2 1 3 4 1 12 1 1 0 0 21

15 KEELE, Jennie....... g 3-6 0-2 2-2 1 3 4 2 8 5 1 0 5 31

30 GILLESPIE, Mallary.. g 8-14 2-5 2-3 2 3 5 1 20 5 2 1 0 31

35 JOHNSEN, Melinda.... g 3-4 2-2 0-0 0 3 3 0 8 6 0 0 1 31

05 CHEESMAN, Ashley.... 4-8 0-0 0-1 3 3 6 3 8 0 0 1 2 22

13 JUDKINS, Jaime...... 0-1 0-0 0-1 0 1 1 1 0 0 3 0 0 7

22 FADDIS, Brittany.... 1-3 0-1 0-0 0 0 0 1 2 1 1 0 2 7

31 AINA, Rachel........ 0-1 0-1 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 4

32 SLADE, Shawnee...... 3-6 1-4 1-2 2 3 5 0 8 1 1 0 1 20

54 KING, Cassie........ 2-3 0-0 0-0 3 4 7 4 4 0 2 1 0 20

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

Totals.............. 29-57 5-15 9-13 13 25 38 13 72 20 14 3 11 200

TOTAL FG% 1st Half: 14-29 48.3% 2nd Half: 15-28 53.6% Game: 50.9% DEADB

3-Pt. FG% 1st Half: 4-10 40.0% 2nd Half: 1-5 20.0% Game: 33.3% REBS

F Throw % 1st Half: 4-5 80.0% 2nd Half: 5-8 62.5% Game: 69.2% 2

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Officials: Randy Campbell, Rick Morris, Laura Rahe

Technical fouls: Air Force-None. BYU-None.

Attendance:

Score by Periods 1st 2nd Total

Air Force..................... 18 22 - 40

BYU........................... 36 36 - 72

ID-534615

Tags: Results