The madness of March Comes to Provo, Women Host Denver In WNIT

Cougar fans can cheer on the women's team Thursday at 7 p.m., when they host Denver in WNIT. (Photo by Jaren Wilkey/BYU Photo)

March Madness comes to Provo this week as the BYU women’s basketball team (23-8) hosts first round action in the 2011 WNIT postseason championship.

The Cougars host the Denver Pioneers (19-11) Thurs. Mar. 17 at the Marriott Center. Tip off is set for 7 p.m.

Ticket prices for Thursday’s game:

All reserved seats: $7

General Admission: $6

Students: $5

Courtside: $20

Children 5 and under are free. All-sport passes are not accepted and there are no group rates, coupons or vouchers.

2010-11 STATS SUMMARY

- Shooting from field: (.425, 806-1895)

- Shooting from three-point line: (.333, 221-663)

- Shooting from free-throw line: (.680, 295-434)

- Average points per game: 68.6

- Average rebounds per game: 38.4

- Average assists per game: 18.9

- Average steals per game: 8.5

- Average blocks per game: 4.0

- Average turnovers per game: 14.0

ABOUT BYU

-The Cougars are led in scoring by senior guard Mindy Bonham who averages 12.5 points and 3.5 rebounds per game. Senior forward Coriann Fraughton follows averaging 11.5 points and a team high 7.4 rebounds per contest.

-Bonham also tops the list in assists with a total of 160. She also has the team’s best free throw percentage at .778, 49-63.

-Haley Hall has the most steals on the team with 59.

-Freshman center Jennifer Hamson is tops in the field goal percentage category at .556, 79-142. She also has the most blocks on the team with 43.

-The BYU bench has outscored its opponents 671 to 399 as of 3/12/11. The most points scored by the Cougar bench to date are 44 in the win over BYU-Hawaii on 12/3/10. The most bench points from an opponent on the year are 31 recorded by BYU-Hawaii.

-BYU’s reserves are outrebounding their opponents 418 to 299 as of 3/12/11. The most rebounds by the Cougar bench are 28 vs. Utah State on 11/23/10. The most boards by the opponent bench are Utah State with 24.

COUGARS IN THE POSTSEASON 2011 WNIT

This will be the sixth time and second straight that the BYU women’s basketball

team has been selected to compete in the 64-team single elimination WNIT. In the postseason tournament, the Cougars have compiled a 6-5 record in five appearances.

Last season the Cougars competed in the postseason WNIT where they advanced to the Quarterfinals before falling to eventual champion, Cal in Berkeley. In that run, the team beat Pepperdine, ASU, and Wyoming.

BYU also competed in the Preseason WNIT during the 2006-07 campaign where they advanced to the Final Four after a 73-50 home victory over Idaho State, an upset 55-52 victory over then No. 5 ranked Stanford on their home court before falling to the Baylor Bears 58-84.

ABOUT THE 2011 WNIT

The Women’s National Invitation Tournament consists of 64 Division I women’s basketball teams who 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 title game is scheduled for Saturday, April 2.

BYU along with TCU and Wyoming are the three teams from the MWC who received invitations to play in this year’s WNIT and are all hosting first round matchups. The Cougars were the automatic qualifier while the Horned Frogs and the Cowgirls received at-large berths.

WNIT FIRST ROUND OPPONENT

UNIVERSITY OF DENVER

The University of Denver enters the 2011 WNIT with a 19-11 record and an 11-5 mark in the Sun Belt Conference. They lost to Western Kentucky in the quarterfinal game of their league championship. The Pioneers have three players scoring in double figures led by junior forward Kaetlyn Murdoch who scores 16.4 points and grabs a team high 7.0 rebounds per game. She’s followed by Brianna Culberson who contributes 14.3 points and 6.9 boards a contest. Senior guard Britteni Rice rounds out the team’s double digit scoring with 13.8 points and 2.9 rebounds per game. Emiko Smith a sophomore guard has the most assists and steals on the team with a total of 174 and 50 respectively. Head coach Erik Johnson is in his third season with the Pioneers.

Series History

Overall Series Record: BYU leads 2-0

BYU Record in Provo: 1-0

BYU Record in Denver: 1-0

BYU Record in Neutral Sites: N/A

BYU Record under Jeff Judkins: 1-0

BYU Record in Overtime Games: N/A

Last Meeting

The Cougars and Pioneers played each other during the 2002-03 season with the homestanding BYU team picking up the 70-57 victory on Jan. 4.

This will be the first matchup between these teams in a postseason tournament.

What’s Next

A home win in the first round of the WNIT would advance the Cougars to the second round. Their next opponent would be announced at the conclusion of all of the first round contests from Thursday night’s games.

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