PROVO, Utah— BYU women’s basketball will represent the West Coast Conference as the automatic qualifier in this year’s Women’s National Invitation Tournament (WNIT).
The Cougars (20-11) will host the Cougars of Washington State (12-19), Thursday, March 17 at 7 p.m. MDT. Broadcast plans will be announced later.
2017 WNIT Bracket
Under head coach Jeff Judkins, the women’s basketball program has participated in 13 postseason tournaments including five WNIT appearances.
The Cougars’ most recent appearance in the WNIT was in 2012-13 when they advanced to the third round. The team’s best finish was in the 2010-11 season when they advanced to the quarterfinal round.
BYU is led in scoring by WCC Player of the Year Cassie Broadhead, who averages a team-best 17.9 points per game. The junior guard’s scoring average is second in the WCC. Senior guard Makenzi Pulsipher is the next scoring threat for the Cougars, with 13.1 points a contest. Senior All-American Kalani Purcell rounds out the scoring for BYU. She’s averaging a double-double with 12.9 points and a team- and league-high 10.6 boards per game. Purcell was named this year’s WCC Defensive Player of the Year and picked up her second-straight WCC Women’s Basketball First Team honor. Broadhead joined Purcell on the first team, with Pulsipher making the second team.
BYU finished WCC play ranked first in scoring margin, field goal percentage, field goal percentage defense, assists, steals, turnover margin and assist/turnover ratio. The Cougars finished second in free-throw percentage, rebounding defense, blocked shots and defensive rebounds.
Overall, the Cougars are scoring 67.5 points per game, while shooting 42.4 percent from the field, 33.4 percent from behind the arc and 72.4 percent from the charity stripe. BYU pulls down 36.1 rebounds per contest.
Washington State is the Pac-12’s automatic qualifier in the WNIT after posting a 6-12 record in its conference race, finishing in seventh place. The Cougars were the first team in their league standings that did not make the NCAA tournament. This marks Washington State’s third time in the last four seasons it has advanced to the postseason tournament.
Four players are scoring in double figures for Washington State, led by 14.7 points per game from sophomore forward Borislava Hristova. A pair of guards in Chanelle Molina and Alexys Swedlund follow in scoring with 12.8 and 10.9 points a game, respectively. Rounding out the double-digit scoring for Washington State is forward Louise Brown, who puts up 10.4 points and grabs a team-best 6.9 rebounds per contest.
On the year, Washington State averaged 66.2 points a game and shot 38.6 percent from the field, 31.6 percent from behind the arc and 55.9 percent from the free-throw line.
BYU is one of 64 Division I women’s basketball teams who will compete at participating schools including the semifinals and the championships. Every round is single elimination.
The postseason WNIT features 32 first-round games, followed by 16 second-round games, eight third-round games, four quarterfinal games, two semifinal games and the championship. All games are played at campus sites. The championship game is scheduled for Saturday, April 1 and will air live on CBS Sports Network. The field has 32 automatic berths, one to each established conference, and 32 at-large berths.
Tickets to the first and second round home games will go on sale Tuesday at 9 a.m. Season ticket holders will have until 11 a.m. to call the BYU ticket office to purchase their same seats for the WNIT games.
Reserved tickets are $6 each. General admission and student ticket are $5 each. ROC Pass holders get in free, while courtside seats are $15 each.
With a win over Washington State on Thursday, BYU would face the winner of the Seattle at Wyoming game in the second round.