With an impressive 23-9 record and a second consecutive MWC regular season title, BYU’s women’s basketball team made its eighth NCAA tournament appearance and second straight in 2007.
The Cougars were the no. 11 seed in the tournament and played the no. 6 seed Louisville team that had a 26-7 overall record. The first round was played at the Galen Center and hosted by the University of Southern California.
MWC Co-Player of the Year Dani Wright led the Cougar effort with 12 points, but it would not be enough as the team fell to the Cardinals 80-54. Mallary Gillespie contributed with 10 points. BYU finished the season with a 23-10 record.
BYU made school history during the 2005-06 season by compiling a 26-6 overall record making it the best finish in the program’s history. They also garnered their highest ranking in the polls at no. 16 during the week of Feb. 27 by the USA Today/ESPN/WBCA Coaches Poll. The team also won its first MWC regular season crown since the 1992-93 season.
The Cougars advanced once again to the title game of the MWC Championships for the fifth time. They’ve not been in the championship game just twice in the league’s history.
Iowa: In the 2006 NCAA tournament, BYU was the no. 7 seed the highest ever for the program. In first round action at the Pepsi Center in Denver, the Cougars squeaked by a feisty Iowa team 67-62 at the hands of a well-rounded team effort and the determination of a little guard from Murray, Utah. Melinda Johnsen’s defense was All-American material. Although Iowa’s Crystal Smith posted 17 points, only a handful of those points came while Johnsen was defending her.
Oklahoma: A second-half three-point barrage was too much for No. 19 BYU as No. 2 seed Oklahoma overwhelmed the Cougars with a 16-point victory, 86-70. Despite six steals in the first half, the Cougars went into halftime with a nine-point deficit.
Oklahoma was too much to handle during the second 20 minutes of action as C. Paris turned up the heat and Sooner guards started raining threes. Oklahoma outscored BYU 6-1 in the first three minutes off three layups from C. Paris, widening Oklahoma’s lead to 14, 44-30.
Oklahoma made adjustments during the break and found a way to limit Anderson, who did not score in the second half until she hit a free throw with 5:20 remaining.
Anderson and Mallary Gillespie led the Cougars with 16 points, while Kubik added 13. Anderson also led BYU with eight boards.
The Cougars were no match for the Buffalos on March 22, who cruised by shooting 60 percent from behind the arc and 50 percent from the field on their way to an 84-45 rout over BYU. Four minutes passed in the game before Erin Thorn put BYU on the scoreboard with a jumper. The Cougars were outscored 26-10 in the first 10 minutes of the game. Colorado came out in the second half unconscious, going 3-for-3 from three-point land and 5-for-5 shooting, leaving BYU behind on the scoreboard, 21-56. The 2002-03 campaign ended with a 19-12 record.
This was the Cougars’ year. They had their best finish in school history, going to the Sweet Sixteen for the first time.
Florida: All-American Erin Thorn’s 28-point stellar performance lifted BYU to a huge 90-52 upset victory, and its first NCAA Tournament win, over No. 6 seed Florida on March 16. The Cougars offensive play and tough defense smothered the Florida team who only scored 18 points in the first half and were held to just 15 percent shooting in the first 20 minutes of play. Just five minutes into the second half, BYU had extended its lead 31, 52-21.
Iowa State: Two days later BYU overcame a 13-point deficit to pull off its second-straight upset, beating the No. 3 seed Iowa State Cyclones, 75-69, to earn its first trip to the Sweet 16. Iowa State built a 13-point lead eight minutes into the second half, but the Cougars turned up the defensive pressure to draw even with 5:12 remaining. The second half featured three ties and six lead changes, most coming in the final five minutes as the Cougars and Cyclones traded shots and free throws.
Tennessee: On March 23, the Cougars put a scare into the Tennessee Volunteers through most of the first half but couldn’t hold on as Tennessee took over to win, 68-57. BYU dominated the first half, leading by as many as nine points before the Tennessee offense came alive. The Vols went on a 15-1 run in the closing minutes of the first half to take a 35-30 lead into the break. BYU kept fighting and were within six points with 3:05 left in the game, but the Vols proved too tough, hitting six free throws in the closing minutes. BYU finished ninth in the tournament and compiled a 24-9 overall record.
Despite a strong, hard fought effort and 13 three pointers, BYU suffered a disappointing 86-81 loss to 18th ranked Oklahoma on March 18 in the first round of the tournament. Senior Cady Williams led the BYU effort with 27 points and a career-high six three pointers. The Cougars took a one-point, 33-32, lead at half time, but an early run by the Sooners at the start of second-half action gave them a 12-point lead with 13 minutes to go in the game and was the key to their victory. The loss put BYU’s record at 22-9.
After a seven-year absence from the NCAA Tournament, the Cougars went to the Big Dance in 1993, losing to UC Santa Barbara, 88-79. The March 17 loss gave BYU a 33rd-place finish in the tournament. The Cougars finished with a 24-5 record, the best in the program’s history up to that point.
BYU made its second-straight appearance to the NCAA Tournament in 1985, facing Long Beach State on March 16. Playing in front of a large 49ers crowd, the Cougars lost 112-85 and finished 17th in the tournament. BYU compiled a 19-9 record over the season.
The BYU Cougars received a bid for the first time in history during the 1983-84 season, drawing the University of Southern California in the first round. On March 16 BYU lost 97-72 and finished 17th in the tournament. The Cougars finished with an 18-8 overall record.