Final two WCC games at home

(Photo by BYU Photo/Jaren Wilkey)

With just two weeks remaining in the 2013 West Coast Conference season, the BYU women’s basketball team is tied for second place in the latest league standings with Saint Mary’s with identical 9-3 marks. The Cougar women are 18-7 overall and look to stay undefeated at home.

On this week’s slate are two final home games beginning with a Thursday night matchup with Portland (10-16, 5-8) at 7 p.m., MST.

Then on Saturday BYU gets set to host league-leading Gonzaga (22-5, 12-1) in a 2 p.m. MST tip off. At halftime of the Bulldogs and Cougars contest, the No. 22 jersey worn by Jackie Beene McBride will be retired. At the conclusion of the game, the team will recognize its two seniors, Keilani Unga and Haley Steed. Both games air live on BYUtv.

BYU Capsule
The Cougar team has outrebounded its opponents in 16 of the 25 games played. The BYU bench has outscored the opponent’s bench 476-305. When comparing points in the paint, the Cougars have scored 640 points to 528 from opponents.

BYU has had a halftime lead in all but six games to date (vs. SD, vs. SMC, at USF, at Gonzaga, vs. Seattle and at Washington State). In only four contests (at USF, at Gonzaga, at Boston College and at Washington State) the Cougars did not record more assists than their opponents. Balanced scoring has added to the team’s success this year. To date, three players have put up double figures in points in 12 games and four players finished with double-digit scoring in four games (at PEP, vs. PEP, vs. Tulsa, vs. UCSB).

• Head coach: Jeff Judkins (Utah, ‘78), enters his 12th season
• Team’s leading scorer: #4 Kim Beeston, 10.6 ppg
• Team’s leading rebounder: #5 Jennifer Hamson, 7.9 rpg
• Team’s assists leader: #33 Haley Steed, 7.7 apg
• Team’s steals leader: #33 Steed, 2.1 spg

BYU’S PROJECTED STARTING LINEUP
#33 Haley Steed– (5-4 guard, GS.) 10.0 ppg; 3.9 rpg; 7.7 apg
#4 Kim Parker Beeston– (5-11 guard, Jr.) 10.6 ppg; 4.2 rpg; 2.3 apg
#12 Stephanie Vermunt Seaborn – (6-0 guard/forward, Jr.) 6.2 ppg; 2.6 rpg; 1.4 apg
#45 Keilani Unga– (6-2 forward, Sr.) 7.2 ppg; 4.4 rpg; 0.8 apg
#5 Jennifer Hamson– (6-7 center, Jr.) 9.1 ppg; 7.9 rpg; 0.7 apg

Portland Capsule
In the latest league standings, Portland is in sixth place with a 5-8 mark. On the season they’ve compiled a 10-16 record. They are coming off two losses to San Francisco and just a six-point set back to Saint Mary’s 49-43 in Portland on Saturday. The Pilots return eight letterwinners including three starters. Last season they finished in seventh place in the WCC race with a 4-12 record.

• Head coach: Jim Sollars is in his 26th season at Portland
• Team’s leading scorer: #23 Kari Luttinen, 12.5 ppg
• Team’s leading rebounder: #33 Amy Pupa, 8.0 rpg
• Team’s assists leader: #32 Jasmine Wooton, 3.0 apg
• Team’s steals leader: #32 Wooton, 2.2 spg

Series History
BYU leads the series 10-4

Last Meeting
During last year’s WCC race, the Cougars swept the series with the Pilots capturing a 79-53 win in Portland on Jan. 2 and then getting a 76-55 victory in Provo on Jan. 21.

In the contest in Portland, Kristen Riley and Lexi Eaton led the BYU effort with 19 and 11 points respectively, while Haley Steed tallied five assists and three steals. The Cougars shot 40 percent from the field and 82 percent from the free throw line. They also pulled down more boards, 45-36.
Natalie Day led Portland with 16 points and six rebounds. BYU held the Pilots to 30 percent shooting from the field and 67 percent from the charity stripe.

Jennifer Hamson came off the bench in the game in Provo on Jan. 21 as she collected a double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds. Lexi Eaton finished the game with 16 points with Kim Parker contributing 13 points to the winning effort. Haley Steed had 10 assists. The Cougar bench came up big in the contest outscoring the Pilot bench 34-14. BYU shot 43 percent from the field, Portland shot 33 percent. Cassandra Brown led the Pilots with 14 points with Day contributing 11.

Gonzaga Capsule
Entering the week, Gonzaga improved its record to 22-5 overall, 12-1 in WCC action with home wins over Saint Mary’s and San Francisco. They are all alone in first place in league play with their only loss coming in early January at Saint Mary’s. The Bulldogs  are at Santa Clara Thursday night before making the trip to Provo for Saturday’s game.  Gonzaga returns two starters and nine letterwinners. Last year Gonzaga advanced to the NCAA Sweet Sixteen after compiling a 28-6 overall record. They won the 2012 WCC regular season crown with a 14-2 mark.

• Head coach: Kelly Graves is in his 12th season at Gonzaga
• Team’s leading scorer: #3 Haiden Palmer, 12.4 ppg
• Team’s leading rebounder: #44 Shelby Cheslek, 5.4 rpg
• Team’s assists leader: #34 Jazmine Redmon, 3.9 apg
• Team’s steals leader: #3 Palmer, 3.0 spg

Up Next
BYU rounds out the WCC regular season race with two road games. They are at LMU Thurs., Feb. 28 and at Portland on Sat. March 2.

The following week the Cougars travel to Las Vegas to compete in the 2013 Zappos WCC Basketball Championships, March 6-11 at The Orleans Arena. The winner of the tournament receives an automatic bid into the NCAA tournament.

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