Wright Scores Career High, Cougars On 5-Game Win Streak

Dani Kubik Wright scored a career-high 27 points against UC Riverside Wednesday night. (Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)

PROVO -- The BYU women's basketball team beat UC Riverside at home Wednesday, 66-57, on a career night for Dani Kubik Wright in a game that coach Jeff Judkins called "the hardest game of the year", extending the team's winning streak to five games.

"I have been doing finals all day today and I thought I was going to be scatter-brained out there," Wright said after the game. "We're happy with the win, but we know we can play better."

The now 6-6 Highlanders also had a four-game winning streak coming into Wednesday night's game, but the Cougar defense proved too tough to handle as the now 9-3 Cougars fight to regain their place in the national rankings.

After scoring the first bucket of the game, BYU never looked back and never lost the lead. The Cougars came out strong on defense, forcing the Highlanders into a near shot-clock violation and no points in the paint in the first five minutes of the game. UCR stayed in the game with sharp outside shooting while on the other end of the floor the Cougars worked the ball inside and scored ten points in the paint to take a 10-7 lead.

The Highlanders were able to pull within one at 14-13 with nine minutes to go in the first half, but the Cougars took the control of the game back as Melinda Johnsen dished the ball to an open Wright under the hoop for an open layup. UCR would not back down and a shoot-out ensued as the teams traded lay-ups and three-pointers to take the game to a 24-20 BYU lead.

With 4:47 to go in the first half, the Highlanders had a chance to tie the game at 24, but were once again shut down in the paint. At the opposite end of the court Mallary Gillespie got fouled on a lay up and converted the three-point play to take a 25-22 lead.

The biggest lead of the half came when Wright hit an open lay up to give her team an 11-point lead at 33-22.

The score at the half was BYU 36, UCR 26. BYU faulted in the turnover category as they racked up 11 in the first half, contrasted to UCR's eight. UCR also had 11 points off of turnovers to BYU's seven. Wright was the bright spot for the Cougars as she took 15 points into the locker room at the half, three of those coming from a wide-open triple from the top of the arc.

The Highlanders struck first in the second half by hitting a 15-footer from the baseline, but Wright answered with another lay up to increase her point total to 17 and take the lead back to 10. On the next possession she was fouled underneath the basket and hit two free throws to increase those totals to 19 and 12, respectively. In total, Wright scored the first six points for the Cougars in the second half.

At 12:35 to go in the game, UCR's Brittany Waddell came into the game and hit her third bucket from three-point land in four attempts to cut the Cougar lead to seven at 44-37. Without breaking stride, Gillespie came back and hit a jumper to again squelch the Highlanders' hopes of shifting momentum in UCR's direction.

At 9:32 to go in the game, UCR's Jaleesa Conner completed a three-point play after making her free throw on an and-one lay up, but BYU's Shawnee Slade returned fire with an open-three pointer of her own, bringing the lead back up to 11 at 51-40. The Highlanders' Seyram Gbewonyo got into the action and answered Slade's three with one of her own, reducing the Cougar lead to eight.

Wright scored her career-high 25th point with just over five minutes to go in the game to give her team another 12-point lead. The next time down the floor she got fouled underneath and made both free throws to take the lead to fourteen and her career high to 27.

The largest lead of the game for BYU came with 3:30 to go in the game with a Jennie Keele three-pointer to give her Cougars a 15-point advantage. With 1:15 to go, UCR pulled within nine and tried to stage the come-back of their season, but it wasn't meant to be.

Wright's 27 points on the night came from 11-15 shooting, 1-1 from down town and a perfect 4-4 from the free throw line. She also had six rebounds to her statistics. Gillespie and Lauren Riley also scored in double figures with 11 and 10 points, respectively, marking the second time this season that three Cougars have scored 10 or more points in a game.

Leading the way for UCR was Tainoisouti Lott with 22 points on 7-14 from the field and a perfect mark of 8-8 from the free throw line. Her teammate Roney Friend also scored in double figures with 10 on 5-12 shooting from the field.

In total, the Cougars shot 52 percent from the field and are now 2-0 when shooting over 50 percent. They also finished the night with 22 turnovers and 34 rebounds. BYU came into the game with a 6-0 record when leading at the half and now are 7-0.

"You have to take our inside game away," Judkins said. "If you don't, you get what happened tonight. When you do, Jennie Keele can take the game into her hands... This is one of the hardest times of the year because of finals and Christmas and all that is going on. We are looking forward to the break, but I think we are on the right track. We're doing a lot better as a team and I hope we can keep it up."

With the win, the Cougars improve to 9-3 on the season and 5-0 at home. The Cougars' next game will be Dec. 30 at Oregon, rounding out their non-conference schedule. The next time BYU will be at home is Jan. 13 at 2 p.m., in the Marriott Center against Wyoming.

Official Basketball Box Score

UC RIVERSIDE vs BYU COUGARS

12-20-06 7:00 PM at MARRIOTT CTR, BYU, PROVO, UT

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VISITORS: UC RIVERSIDE 6-6

TOT-FG 3-PT REBOUNDS

## Player Name FG-FGA FG-FGA FT-FTA OF DE TOT PF TP A TO BLK S MIN

11 Friend, Roney....... f 5-12 0-0 0-0 3 2 5 2 10 2 5 1 1 34

33 Nkele, Kemie........ f 2-8 1-5 4-6 1 4 5 3 9 2 4 1 2 40

14 Glyniadaki, Katerina c 0-1 0-0 0-0 1 1 2 0 0 0 1 0 0 5

02 Gbewonyo, Seyram.... g 1-8 1-1 3-4 3 1 4 3 6 2 2 0 1 35

42 Foster, Chanel...... g 0-1 0-0 1-2 1 1 2 2 1 5 2 0 1 19

15 Waddell, Brittany... 3-8 3-6 0-0 0 1 1 3 9 0 2 0 1 21

23 Campillo, Vanessa... 0-2 0-2 0-0 0 1 1 3 0 1 0 0 0 15

31 Lott, Tainoisouti... 7-14 0-0 8-8 2 5 7 2 22 0 1 1 2 31

32 Conner, Jaleesa..... 0-1 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

TEAM................ 3 1 4

Totals.............. 18-55 5-14 16-20 14 17 31 18 57 12 17 3 8 200

TOTAL FG% 1st Half: 10-26 38.5% 2nd Half: 8-29 27.6% Game: 32.7% DEADB

3-Pt. FG% 1st Half: 3-8 37.5% 2nd Half: 2-6 33.3% Game: 35.7% REBS

F Throw % 1st Half: 3-4 75.0% 2nd Half: 13-16 81.3% Game: 80.0% 3

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HOME TEAM: BYU COUGARS 9-3

TOT-FG 3-PT REBOUNDS

## Player Name FG-FGA FG-FGA FT-FTA OF DE TOT PF TP A TO BLK S MIN

35 JOHNSEN, Melinda.... f 2-6 0-2 0-1 1 3 4 2 4 7 5 0 3 39

52 RILEY, Lauren....... f 5-6 0-0 0-1 1 3 4 4 10 1 3 0 0 21

45 WRIGHT, Dani........ c 11-15 1-1 4-4 3 3 6 4 27 1 2 1 0 32

15 KEELE, Jennie....... g 3-5 1-2 0-0 0 3 3 1 7 4 4 0 1 32

30 GILLESPIE, Mallary.. g 2-5 0-2 7-8 0 3 3 4 11 4 1 0 0 34

05 CHEESMAN, Ashley.... 0-2 0-2 0-0 0 2 2 0 0 0 2 0 0 7

32 SLADE, Shawnee...... 2-7 2-4 1-2 2 6 8 3 7 3 3 0 3 27

54 KING, Cassie........ 0-2 0-1 0-0 1 1 2 2 0 0 2 0 0 8

TEAM................ 2 2

Totals.............. 25-48 4-14 12-16 10 24 34 20 66 20 22 1 7 200

TOTAL FG% 1st Half: 15-27 55.6% 2nd Half: 10-21 47.6% Game: 52.1% DEADB

3-Pt. FG% 1st Half: 2-6 33.3% 2nd Half: 2-8 25.0% Game: 28.6% REBS

F Throw % 1st Half: 4-6 66.7% 2nd Half: 8-10 80.0% Game: 75.0% 0

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Officials: DARLA FOUTZ, ERIC LARSON, TONY TIMMONS

Technical fouls: UC RIVERSIDE-None. BYU COUGARS-None.

Attendance: 374

Score by Periods 1st 2nd Total

UC RIVERSIDE.................. 26 31 - 57

BYU COUGARS................... 36 30 - 66

OFFICIAL FINAL

Tags: Results