(Photo by Mark A Philbrick/BYU Photo)
With a 26-6 record, BYU women’s basketball is participating in this year’s NCAA Women’s Basketball Championships. The Cougars received an at-large bid and enter the tournament as the No. 12 seed in the Lincoln Regional.
BYU will battle No. 5 seed North Carolina State (25-7), Saturday, March 22 at 3:30 p.m. PST at Pauley Pavilion on the UCLA campus. The game will be broadcast live on ESPN2 and live on the internet on BYURadio
This at-large appearance marks the 10th time in the program’s history and the sixth time under head coach Jeff Judkins that BYU has participated in the NCAA tourney. The Cougars have a 3-9 record when competing in the postseason tournament. The team’s previous participation was during the 2011-12 campaign when they received the automatic bid after clinching the West Coast Conference championship with a 78-66 victory over Gonzaga. BYU’s best finish was during the 2001-02 season when they advanced to the Sweet Sixteen.
WCC Player and Defensive Player of the Year, Jennifer Hamson, tops the list in scoring, rebounding and blocked shots for BYU. She averages 18.3 ppg, 11.2 rpg and 4.0 bpg. Hamson ranks second in the nation in blocked shots, 14th in double-doubles and 15th in both rebounds per game and in field goal percentage.
Three other Cougars are averaging double figures in points, with Lexi Eaton chipping in 16.9 followed by 11.6 points from Kim Beeston. Junior forward Morgan Bailey rounds out the scoring output, contributing 10.2 points. She is second on the team in rebounding, pulling down 6.9 per contest.
BYU is averaging 72.4 points per game, while holding opponents to 63.9 points. The Cougars, who rank seventh in the country in blocked shots per game, have recorded more blocks than opponents in 27 games and have dished out more assists in 25 of the 32 games played. The team has also recorded more rebounds than opponents in 24 contests.
About North Carolina State
North Carolina State enters the NCAA tournament with a 25-7 record and is the No. 5 seed in the Lincoln Regional. The Wolfpack finished in fourth place in the Atlantic Coast Conference with an 11-4 mark, advancing to the semifinals of the league tournament.
This marks the 22nd time in its history that the No. 16 NC State women’s basketball team is in the NCAA Tournament.
NC State has three players scoring in double digits with 17.6 points coming from Markeisha Gatling. Teammate Kody Burke follows with 15.8 points with Myisha Goodwin-Coleman contributing 10.7 points per game. Gatling leads the way in the rebound category, grabbing 7.1 boards per game. Len’Nique Brown tops the list in assists dishing out 4.4 assists a game. The Wolfpack averages 75.7 points and 37.8 rebounds per game while holding opponents to 66.1 points per contest.
The series is tied at 1-1.
This is the first time the two programs will meet on a neutral court.
In the most recent meeting, the two foes played in Provo on Dec. 21, 2005. In that contest, the Wolfpack snapped BYU’s eight-game winning streak with a 67-65 win. BYU’s current assistant coach Melinda Bendall (Johnsen) was a starting guard on that team. She played 28 minutes, scored four points and pulled down five rebounds.
Previously, the two schools played in Raleigh during the 2002-03 campaign. In that game on Dec. 14, 2002, the visiting Cougars recorded the 68-57 win.
A win over North Carolina State would send the Cougars to the Second Round game to be played in Los Angeles on Monday, March 24. BYU would play the winner of the Nebraska/Fresno State first round game.