Defending Tourney Champs Back To Try For Second Straight

The defending MWC champs, BYU get chance to repeat as tourney winners after defeating the University of Utah 70-59 in the first of two semifinal games at this year's EAS MWC Women's Basketball Championships from the Thomas & Mack Center on the UNLV campus.

In Saturday's title game, the 19-10 Cougar women will take on the New Mexico Lobos (21-8, 9-5) in a 3:30 p.m., matchup.

Tip off: BYU (19-10, 8-6) vs UNM (21-8, 9-5) 3:30 p.m., PST Arena: Thomas & Mack Center

Tourney Note: BYU will be making its fourth straight championship game appearance on Saturday afternoon. The Cougars defeated hosts UNLV 61-46 in last year's title game.

live webcast/tv

All of BYU's women's basketball games can be heard live via the internet at byu radio. org BYU radio can also be heard on the Dish Network.Veteran BYU broadcaster Jay Monsen is the play-by-play announcer for all games. The MWC Championship game will also air tape delay at 10:30 p.m., MST on ESPN2.

BYU's Probable Starters

Pos. # Name Ht. Yr. PPG RPG

F 32 Kristen Kozlowski 6-2 So 2.0 1.6

G 15 Jen Overdiek 5-10 Fr 3.5 2.8

C 51 Danielle Cheesman 6-2 So 11.5 5.6

G 11 Erin Thorn 5-10 Sr 19.4 4.1

G 04 Kestlee Nelson 5-8 Jr 4.1 1.8

Cougar Players Off The Bench

Pos. # Name Ht. Yr. PPG RPG

F 45 Lisa Hansen 6-5 Sr 3.9 3.0

F 25 Kali Taylor 5-11 So 4.6 1.9

F 33 Ambrosia Anderson 6-2 Fr 4.1 3.5

F 40 Ashleigh Chamberlain 6-4 Jr 4.1 3.3

G/F 01 Nancy Seljaas 6-0 Fr 2.1 0.9

F 20 Brittany Larson 6-0 Sr 1.0 1.5

Thorn, Cheesman Get MWC Accolades

Erin Thorn - First Team All-Conference

Danielle Cheesman - Second Team All-Conference

2002-03 Cougar Stats

u Shooting from the field: (.441, 718-1627)

u Shooting from the free-throw line: (.739, 330-448)

u Shooting from three-point line: (.387, 198-511)

u Average points per game: 67.9

byu in the numbers

u (10) - different starting lineups for the Cougar team this season

u (12) - career high assists for Erin Thorn vs CSU on 2/15/03

u (18) - defense holds both UNM and AF to 18 points in first half in their first league meeting

u (37) - consecutive games where Erin Thorn has scored at least one 3-pointer

u (96) - season high points vs Air Force 3/06/03

u (389) - Erin Thorn's career three-point buckets. She holds the school record in career three pointers

u (2,039) - Erin Thorn's career points to date. She's now in fourth place in all-time scoring in BYU women's basketball history. Jackie Beene McBride holds third place with a total of 2,191 points during her four-year career from 1978 to 1982.

injury/player update

Freshman forward/guard Jen Overdiek suffered a broken nose and a couple of fractures to her right eye during Monday's (Feb. 24) practice. She has returned to the BYU starting lineup.

Senior forward Brittany Larson broke her hand in practice the week of Feb. 18. She has been cleared to play. Senior forward Jennifer Leitner was dismissed from the team on Jan. 31 indefinitely for breaking team rules. Sophomore guard Julie Sullivan injured her knee (torn ACL) during practice on Jan. 13. She is out for the rest of the season.

BYU vs UNM

The Cougars snapped their two-game conference-losing streak by defeating the Lobos 57-46 in Provo on Feb. 6. BYU's defense held New Mexico to a season low 18 first half points to give itself a 12 point lead at the half, 26-18. In the game, BYU out rebounded New Mexico 45 to 35. The Cougar effort was led by sophomore forward Danielle Cheesman with 11 points, followed by Ambrosia Anderson's season and career high 11 rebounds. Senior guard Erin Thorn contributed with five assists and four steals.

At the Pit in the final league game for both teams it was poor shooting and early turnovers that got BYU in a hole they couldn't get out off, falling behind by 19 at the break. In the second half, the Cougars rallied to get in within eight, but turnovers again hurt BYU as they suffered a disappointing 44-63 defeat at the hands of the Lobos. For the Cougars, Erin Thorn tallied 21 points with teammate Ambrosia Anderson coming off the bench for a team high seven rebounds.

this year's byu championship run

As long as the MWC Women's Basketball Championship has been in existence, that's how long BYU has been in the title game, winning it last year.

In this year's run, the Cougar women came into the tourney seeded fifth after tying for third place with UNM and UNLV during the regular season schedule.

During the quarterfinal game against the Rebels, the very closely contested game went into overtime before BYU was able to clinch the two-point 66-64 victory. Senior All-American Erin Thorn had her best season scoring output with 34 points. She led all scores in the game. The Cougars shot 42 percent from the field and 69 percent at the free throw line and were down by four, 26 to 30 at the break.

In the next game, it was a battle of instate rivals as BYU met up with regular season champions, Utah. The Utes had beat the Cougars both times during the league race. But this time it was all BYU as they enjoyed a four-point 28-24 advantage after 20 minutes of action. Once again it was Erin Thorn leading the Cougar effort with her second straight 30-plus point performance. This time she tallied 30 points and was perfect (11-11) from the free throw line. BYU shut down Utah's Kim Smith, holding her for a season low seven points. The Utes shot 40 percent from the field to BYU's 57 percent. And the Cougars were able to outrebound Utah 32 to 23 for the first time this year.

Cougar Review

At the conclusion of the 2003 MWC regular season, the Cougar women who were picked to win the season title, finished with an 8-6 record and a fifth seed in the league tournament. To date, the team compiled a 19-10 overall mark.

The Cougars are the defending MWC tournament champions return three starters from last season's 24-9, 10-4 team who made history by winning their first-ever NCAA Tournament game, going on to the "Sweet Sixteen" in the Midwest Regional.

All-American and MWC MVP Erin Thorn leads the Cougar offense with an average of 19.4 points and 4.1 rebounds a game. Sophomore forward Danielle Cheesman follows in scoring and is averaging 11.5 points and 5.6 rebounds per game.

This season's roster has seen the return of MWC's 1999-2000 Newcomer of the Year Julie Whetten Sullivan who redshirted last year. She reclaimed her starting point-guard spot contributing 6.7 points and 3.1 rebounds, but as of Jan. 13 will not continue to play suffering a torn ACL. UVSC junior transfer Kestlee Nelson has replaced Sullivan at the starting point guard spot. Nelson contributes 4.1 points and 1.9 rebounds a game.

Sophomore Kali Taylor started in nine games and has played in all games to date. Her stats include averaging 4.6 points and 1.9 rebounds per game.

Kanab, Utah native center Ashleigh Chamberlain, who became academically eligible in January has gotten the starting nod in nine of the last 11 games. She tallies 4.1 points and 3.3 rebounds per game. UCSB transfer and senior Lisa Hansen continues to come off the bench with her team contribution of 3.8 points and 2.9 rebounds a game. Sophomore forward and Boise State transfer Kristin Kozlowski has come off the bench as well in the last 12 games and is averaging 2.0 points and 1.6 rebounds a game. Kozlowski got her first BYU start against UNLV on Mar. 12 at this year's MWC Championships.

Utah high school standouts Jen Overdiek, Nancy Seljaas and Ambrosia Anderson from Colorado Springs, Colorado are also contributing to this year's Cougar effort. Overdiek, who has started in the last 10 games, had a career high 15 points vs UNLV on 1/25/03 and a career high seven rebounds against Utah on 2/1/03. Seljaas picked up season highs in points with 13 against the Air Force Academy on 2/8/03. In that game she also tallied a season high six boards. Anderson has also had strong performances this year including a career high 14 points against UNLV on 2/20/03.

Cougars rotating lineup (2002-03)

Lineup Record

1. Thorn, Sullivan, Leitner, Hansen, Cheesman 5-1

2. Thorn, Sullivan, Anderson, Hansen, Cheesman 1-2

3. Thorn, Sullivan, Leitner, Taylor, Cheesman 3-1

4. Thorn, Nelson, Leitner, Taylor, Cheesman 2-1

5. Thorn, Nelson, Leitner, Chamberlain, Cheesman1-0

6. Thorn, Nelson, Taylor, Hansen, Cheesman 0-1

7. Thorn, Nelson, Overdiek, Chamberlain, Cheesman 5-3

8. Thorn, Nelson, Taylor, Chamberlain, Cheesman 0-1

9. Thorn, Nelson, Overdiek, Cheesman, Kozlowski 2-0

Media Picks Cougars MWC Champs

During this year's MWC Basketball Media Day, the media picked BYU to win this year's regular season title capturing eight of the 15 first-place votes.

Senior guard and All-American Erin Thorn earned Top Returning Player honors.

She was joined on the squad by five additional seniors, including teammate Jennifer Leitner. Colorado State's Ashley Augspurger, New Mexico's Jordan Adams, UNLV's Constance Jinks and Wyoming's Carrie Bacon are the other conference players honored.

2002-03 Mountain West Conference Preseason Media Poll

Rk. Team (1st-place votes) Pts

1. BYU (8) 110

2. Colorado State (7) 103

3. New Mexico (1) 91

4. Utah 70

5. UNLV 69

6. Wyoming 49

7. San Diego State 31

8. Air Force 17

2002-03 MWC Women's Basketball Preseason All-Conference Team

Jennifer Leitner, Sr., F BYU

Erin Thorn, Sr., G BYU

Ashley Augspurger, Sr., F Colorado State

Jordan Adams, Sr., C New Mexico

Constance Jinks, Sr., G UNLV

Carrie Bacon, Sr., F Wyoming

2002-03 MWC Women's Basketball Preseason Top Returning Player

Erin Thorn, Sr., G BYU

Thorn watch

Erin Thorn - 5-10 Senior Guard, Orem, Utah/Mountain View HS

u Senior Erin Thorn was picked as a 2002-03 Pre-Season College All-America Second Team honoree.

u Thorn was also named to the "Players to Watch" list for the 2003 Senior CLASS Award, but did not make the final list of 10 players.

u Stats to date include scoring in double figures in all but two games, tallying a season high 34 points twice, vs UNLV on 3/12/03 and against Montana State on Dec. 30. She continues to be the team's leading scorer with an average of 19.4 points, is third on the list in rebounds with 4.1 boards a game and has tallied a team high 167 assists to date, that's an average of 5.7 per game. Thorn had 21 straight free throws before missing one against the University of Denver on 1/4/03.

u Thorn has scored at least one three-pointer in 37 consecutive games to date.

COUGARS IN THE MWC (final conf games only)

TEAM

Category Place Avg/G

pScoring Offense 1st 67.8

pScoring Defense 3rdT 59.3

pScoring Margin 3rd 67.8 off/59.3 deff, +8.5

pFree Throw % 4th .747, 130-174

pField Goal % 1st .449, 354-788

p 3-PT Field Goal % 1st .429, 111-259

pRebounding Offense 4th 34.6

pRebounding Defense 1st 31.6

pRebounding Margin 2nd +2.9

pBlocked Shots 2nd 2.93

pAssists 1st 17.64

pSteals 4th 8.86

pTurnover Margin 4th +1.36

pAssist/Turnover Ratio 1st 17.6 ast.avg; 16.4 to avg, 1.08

pOffensive Rebounds 6th 10.64

pDefensive Rebounds 3rd 23.93

p3-PT Field Goals Made 1st 7.93

INDIVIDUAL

Category Place Avg/G

pScoring: Erin Thorn 2nd 18.4

pScoring: D. Cheesman 11th 11.0

pRebounding: D. Cheesman 13th 5.4

pAssists: Erin Thorn 1st 6.79

pAssists: Kestlee Nelson 7th 3.07

pSteals: Erin Thorn 3rd 2.43

pFree Throw %: Erin Thorn 1st .906, 29-32

pAssist/Turnover Ratio: K. Nelson 1st 43 A, 3.1 avg; 11T, 0.8 avg; 3.91 ratio

pAssist/Turnover Ratio: E. Thorn 2nd 95 A, 6.8 avg; 43T, 3.1 avg; 2.21 ratio

pField Goal %: Erin Thorn 6th .462 (92-199)

pField Goal %: D. Cheesman 10th .441 (64-145)

p3-PT FG%: Kestlee Nelson 1st .536 (15-28)

p3-PT FG%: Erin Thorn 4th .425 (45-106)

p3-PT FG Made: Erin Thorn 1st 3.21 (45)

p3-PT FG Made: Kestlee Nelson 12thT 1.07 (15)

pBlocked Shots: Erin Thorn 8thT 0.71 (10)

pBlocked Shots: Lisa Hansen 11thT 0.57 (8)

pOffensive Reb: D. Cheesman 10th 1.86 (26)

pDefensive Reb: D. Cheesman 15th 3.57 (50)

The Judkins file

Overall Record: 43-19, 18-10

Current Record: 19-10, 8-6

Jeff Judkins, begins his second season at the helm of the Cougar women's program. Judkins, a longtime University of Utah coach and player has a proven record of success dating back to his high school days at Highland HS in Salt Lake City.

An all-state selection in basketball, football and baseball, Judkins went on to play for Utah from 1974-78. While playing for the Utes, he helped the team win one conference championship and two berths in the NCAA Tournament. He was a second-team academic All-American and three-time first-team District VII academic selection. Judkins earned three first-team All-WAC honors and was a member of the 1977 United States World Games team that captured the gold medal.

He played five years in the NBA for the Boston Celtics, Portland Trailblazers, Detroit Pistons and the Utah Jazz. He was a second-round pick by the Celtics in 1978, the same year the Celtics selected Larry Bird with the sixth pick overall.

After his NBA career, he returned to the U of U in 1989, and remained with the men's program for 10 years. Judkins, a Salt Lake City native, graduated from Utah in 1978 with a degree in health and physical education. He is a member of the Utah Sports Hall of Fame and the Crimson Club Hall of Fame.

He and his wife Mary Kay, are the parents of five children: Jessica (21), Jordan (20), Jenna (17), Jaime (14), Jaxson (11).

traveling with the cougars at mwc tourney

Hotel: Amerisuites, 4520 Paradise Road, 702-369-3366, 702-369-0009 fax.

practice schedule

Sat. Mar. 15 - 9:00 to 9:55 a.m.., Thomas & Mack Center (Shoot-around)

2002-03 WOMEN'S BASKETBALL - NUMERICAL ROSTER

No. Name Pos. Ht. Cl. Exp. Hometown/School

01 Nancy Seljaas G/F 6-0 Fr. HS Bountiful, UT/Bountiful HS

03 Maria Chiara G 5-8 Jr 2V Hamilton, N. Zealand Casper JC

04 Kestlee Nelson G 5-8 Jr 2V Sandy, UT/Alta HS/UVSC

05 Amy Lewis G 5-6 Sr 3V Jefferson City, MT/No. Id. College

10 Marianne Miller* G 5-6 Jr HS Middleton, ID/Middleton HS

11 Erin Thorn G 5-10 Sr 3V Orem, UT/Mountain View HS

12 Angie Gatten G 5-6 Jr 2V Jefferson City, MT/No.Id. College

13 Laura Stratton* G 5-6 So HS Missoula, MT/Sentinel HS/BYU Id.

15 Jen Overdiek G 5-10 Fr HS Syracuse, UT/Clearfield HS

20 Brittany Larson F 6-0 Sr 3V Chicago, IL/New Trier HS

25 Kali Taylor G 5-11 So 1V Lyman, UT/Wayne HS

30 Melissa Brown * G 5-8 So HS University Place, WA/Curtis HS

32 Kristen Kozlowski F 6-2 So 1V Centerville, UT/Boise State

33 Ambrosia Anderson F 6-2 Fr HS Colorado Springs, CO/Doherty HS

40 Ashleigh Chamberlain C 6-4 Jr 2V Kanab, UT/UVSC

42 Angie Wallace# F 6-0 Fr HS Cleburne, TX/Cleburne HS

45 Lisa Hansen C 6-5 Sr 3V Bakersfield, CA /Centennial/UCSB

51 Danielle Cheesman F 6-2 So 1V Orem, UT/Mountain View HS

* 2002-03 WalkOn/# 2002-03 Redshirt

HEAD COACH: Jeff Judkins (2nd Year)

ASSISTANT COACHES: Alli Bills, Jonas Chatterton, Stacy Jensen

ATHLETIC TRAINER: Carolyn Billings

NICKNAME: Cougars

COLORS: Blue, White and Tan

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