Starting catcher Shelbi Everett and the Cougars look to win the WAC Tournament this weekend. (Photo by Jonathan Hardy/BYU Photo)
LAS CRUCES, N.M. - The No. 2-seeded BYU softball team will compete in the Western Athletic Conference Tournament starting Thursday.
After a first-round bye, the Cougars will play the winner of Fresno State and Louisiana Tech on Thursday at 2 p.m. MT. The game will be broadcast live by BYU Radio with a live stat tracker also available.
BYU has not competed in a conference tournament since the Mountain West stopped holding one following the 2006 edition, which BYU won.
Wednesday, May 9
Game 1 - #4 San Jose State vs. #5 Nevada, 4:30 p.m. MT
Game 2 - #3 Fresno State vs. #6 Louisiana Tech, 7 p.m. MT
Thursday, May 10
Game 3 - #1 Hawaii vs. SJSU/Nevada winner, 11:30 a.m. MT
Game 4 - #2 BYU vs. Fresno State/LA Tech winner, 2 p.m. MT
Game 5 - FSU/LA Tech loser vs. Game 3 loser, 4:30 p.m. MT
Game 6 - SJSU/Nevada loser vs. Game 4 loser, 7 p.m. MT
Friday, May 11
Game 7 - Game 3 winner vs. Game 4 winner, 2 p.m. MT
Game 8 - Game 5 winner vs. Game 6 winner, 4:30 p.m. MT
Game 9 - Game 8 winner vs. Game 7 loser, 7 p.m. MT
Saturday, May 12
Game 10 - Game 7 winner vs. Game 9 winner, 2 p.m. MT
Game 11 - If necessary, 5 p.m. MT
COUGAR QUICK HITS
— BYU is playing in its first-ever WAC Tournament and first conference tournament since playing in the MWC Tournament in 2006. The Cougars were the two-seed in that tournament, also.
— Senior outfielder Delaney Willard was voted the WAC Player of the Year and All-WAC First Team by league coaches. Senior Jessica Dugas and junior JC Clayton were also named to the First Team while sophomores Tori Almond and Katie Manuma were among the Second Team honorees.
— Delaney Willard currently has 83 RBI, a new WAC single-season record and seven away from the BYU record of 90 set by Angie Quiocho in 2010.
Willard has emerged as an All-America candidate and is currently ranked in the NCAA top-25 in eight different categories, including total RBI, (2nd, 83) RBI per game (2nd, 1.57), slugging percentage (6th, .904), hits (12th, 68), home runs (13th, 18), batting average (15th, .436), home runs per game (17th, 0.34) and on base percentage (24th, .521).
— Senior Stacie Toney was named Academic All-District 8 last week. One of four infielders selected to the first team, Toney is an elementary education major with a 3.77 GPA. Toney ranks in the WAC in RBI and is ranked in the top-10 in multiple categories, including batting average.
— Ranked 23rd in the nation with a .427 batting average, junior shortstop JC Clayton is on an 11-game hit streak, collecting 25 hits in the process, with five games of three hits or more.
Under Coach Gordon Eakin, the Cougars are 8-5 in conference tournaments. BYU had a 12-10 record in the seven-year history of the MWC Tournament, winning in 2001 and 2005.
1st (2) - 2001, 2005
3rd (2) - 2003, 2006
4th (1) - 2002
5th (2) - 2000, 2004
FIVE COUGARS ALL-WAC, WILLARD PLAYER OF THE YEAR
LAS CRUCES, N.M. – Brigham Young’s Delaney Willard was named Western Athletic Conference Player of the Year and five Cougars were named all-WAC as selected by the league’s head coaches the conference announced on Wednesday.
Senior centerfielder Jessica Dugas and junior shortstop JC Clayton joined Willard on the First Team while sophomore pitcher Tori Almond and sophomore first baseman Katie Manuma were selected to the Second Team.
Hawai’i swept the three other major awards, with Stephanie Ricketts as Pitcher of the Year, Leisha Li’ili’i named Freshman of the Year and Bob Coolen the Coach of the Year.
Willard, a senior rightfielder from Camarillo, Calif. (Adolfo Camarillo), earns WAC Player of the Year after leading all players in WAC games with 33 RBI, 51 total bases and a .911 slugging percentage. She also ranked second in batting average (.429), home runs (7) and on-base percentage (.514), and fourth in doubles (6). Willard also broke the WAC single-season record and currently ranks second nationally with 83 RBI.
Willard is the sixth player in BYU history to earn a conference play of the year award. A Cougar has won the league’s top honor every year but two over the last 10 seasons.
Dugas batted .349 in conference play and scored 16 runs to earn all-conference honors for the second-straight year. Clayton, an all-conference selection as a freshman in 2010, led all players with 30 hits in WAC play in addition to leading the conference in triples (3) and placing second in total runs scored (18).
Almond and Manuma each earned their first all-conference awards. Almond had the second-most wins (10) and the second-best ERA (1.31) in conference competition. Batting .352 in WAC games, Manuma had 19 hits, 18 RBI, seven runs and three homers for the Cougars.