Down 17 points in the second half, the BYU women's basketball team went on an 18-0 run to regain the lead and clinch a 58-53 win over Southern Utah, Wednesday.
The win improves the Cougars' record at 9-3 on the year and they remain undefeated at home. Southern Utah fell to 5-7.
BYU only trailed by three at half time 27-24, but the Cougars failed to score for the first three minutes of the second half as the Thunderbirds pulled away to an 11point lead, 35-24 at the 12 minute mark. SUU's highest lead was 17 points with nine minutes to play. But the Cougar defense didn't allow them to score again for five and a half minutes. And that's when BYU came alive, penetrating aggressively to the basket and creating numerous three-point play opportunities.
"It was our defense that brought us back into the game," said BYU head coach Trent Shippen. It gave us confidence and we began to play with intensity, attacking the basket and being more aggressive."
Four Cougar players scored in double figures with freshman Jennifer Leitner coming off the bench to lead all players with 15 points. Lori Cuff and Stacy Jensen each put 11 points on the board, followed by Erin Thorn's 10 on the night.
Megan Lofthouse led the Thunderbirds with 13 points and three rebounds. Sally Johnson and Melissa Hines also scored in double figures.
The Cougars are back in action on Friday in a 2 p.m. game in Ogden against Weber State.
On their final out of state trip of the year, the Cougar women's team picked up two huge road wins defeating both Montana and Montana State. The victory over the Lady Griz was the first for the Cougars in Missoula.
After the Christmas holiday, the BYU team gets back to business as it hosts Southern Utah on Dec. 29 at 7 p.m. Then the Cougars travel to Ogden for a New Year's Eve game against Weber State at 2 p.m.
BYU Probable Starters
l 32 Lori Cuff - 6-1 F, Sr (4.6ppg, 4.8 rpg)
l 35 Cady Williams - 5-11 F, Sr (13.0 ppg, 3.5 rpg)
l 33 Jill Adams - 6-3 C, Jr (15.6 ppg, 8.3 rpg)
l 11 Erin Thorn - 5-10 G, Fr (13.3 ppg, 3.7 rpg)
l 22 Stacy Jensen - 5-6 G, So (2.6 ppg, 1.2 rpg)
Players Off The Bench
l 05 Alisha Griffeth - 6-0 F, Sr (5.6 ppg, 1.8 rpg)
l 04 Renae Hansen - 5-11 G, Sr (2.2 ppg, 1.0 rpg)
l 00 April Hayes - 6-3 C, Jr (2.8 ppg, 2.2 rpg)
l 44 Caroline Beus - 6-1 C, Jr (2.8 ppg, 1.7 rpg)
l 21 Jennifer Leitner - 6-1 F, Fr (5.2 ppg, 5.5 rpg)
'99-00 Cougar Highlights
l In their 81-57 victory over Nebraska on December 9, BYU handed the Huskers their worst loss in the past three and a half years.
l The Cougars are led in scoring by senior Jill Adams who is getting 15.6 points per game and grabbing 8.3 rebounds. Teammate Erin Thorn and Cady Williams follow in scoring with 13.3 ppg for Thorn and 13.0 for Williams.
l Freshman guard Erin Thorn from Orem, Utah was named Mountain West Conference Player of the Week on Dec. 6 after she scored 25 points against Idaho State on Dec. 1. Her season and career high points included seven three pointers which puts her in second place in the all-time BYU record for three-pointers in a single game. Former Cougar standout Kari Gallup holds the record with eight in a game against Air Force back in 1998. Thorn was also voted the pre-season Freshman of the Year by the Women's Basketball Writers Association.
l Senior forward Lori Cuff is back in the Cougars' line up after injuring her knee earlier this year.
l Starting guard, sophomore Stacy Jensen is also back in the BYU guard lineup after nursing a sprained ankle suffered in the Idaho State game.
l The Cougar team is on a four-game winning streak the longest of the 1999-2000 season.
Cougar Quickie Stats
l Shooting from the field - .463 (279-602)
l Shooting from the free-throw line - .724 (123-170)
l Shooting from the three-point arc - .380 (87-229)
l Averaging 69.8 points per game
BYU vs Southern Utah Notes
Southern Utah will be coming into the Marriott Center with a 5-6 record after a home win 64-52 against Western State College. The Thunderbirds are led in scoring by Megan Lofthouse who is averaging 14.1 points per game and 6.3 rebounds. Orem native Sarah Pratt is also scoring in double figures averaging 12.2 per game and is the team's leading rebounder with 11 a game. Southern Utah is averaging 65.1 points per game and allowing opponents 64.9 points.
Southern Utah Probable Starters
l 20 Ali Gressman - 5-9 G, Jr (5.8 ppg, 4.1 rpg)
l 31 Sarah Pratt - 6-4 F , Jr (12.2 ppg, 11.0 rpg)
l 32 Melissa Hines - 6-2 C, Sr (7.7 ppg, 5.9 rpg)
l 11 Megan Lofthouse - 5-9 G , So (14.1 ppg, 6.3 rpg)
l 12 Sally Johnson - 5-7 G, So (9.0 ppg, 3.1 rpg)
Series Against Southern Utah
BYU vs Southern Utah: 10-2 in favor of the Cougars. Last year. the two teams met at the Centrum in Cedar City with BYU stealing a seven-point 87-80 win.
BYU vs Weber State Notes
The Wildcats from Ogden have a 2-7 record to date after losing their last five games. Their two wins were over Nevada-Las Vegas and Montana Tech. Senior guard Shelley Olson leads the scoring charge for Weber State. Olson is averaging 13.0 points and 2.2 rebounds per game. Roy resident freshman Crystal Howe is also in double digits for the Wildcats with 11.2 points and 6.2 rebounds. Weber State is averaging 59.6 points per game while their opponents are picking up 66.4 points.
Weber State Probable Starters
l 21 Jaynee Paskins - 6-0 P , Sr (3.8 ppg, 4.1 rpg)
l 23 Meghan Geddes - 5-11 P, Jr (8.7 ppg, 4.2 rpg)
l 44 Sarah Sonveau - 6-2 P, So (4.8 ppg, 2.9 rpg)
l 03 Amber Whiting - 5-7 G, Jr (5.6 ppg, 2.8 rpg)
l 14 Shelley Olson - 5-7 G, Sr (13.0 ppg, 2.2 rpg)
BYU vs Weber State Series
The series stands at 28-8 in favor of the Cougars. Their last meeting took place in Provo with BYU picking up the 73-54 win.
Coach Trent Shippen Quotes
(On the Cougars) Getting the two road wins against Montana and Montana State were very important for us. We played extremely well in both games and everyone got some playing time especially against Montana State. We will have a short break for the Christmas holidays and then we'll need to get right back to work.
(On opponents) We haven't played at home since early December so the team is very excited about playing at home in front of our fans. Southern Utah is playing well right now and they're having a good season. We played them on their home court last year and beat them, so there will a revenge factor for them and they always gear up for our games. We have to play well and take care of the ball. Weber State has had a tough schedule early on in the year playing both CSU and Utah on the road. The Wildcats are a good team and playing them on their home court is no easy task for us. We'll need to be at our best on both offense and defense.
Up Next For The Cougars
The BYU team begins play in the first-ever Mountain West Conference women's basketball season in January on the road with games against UNLV and San Diego State on January 13 and 15. Their first home conference game is scheduled for January 20th against Colorado State University.
BYU Media Information/Home Practice Schedule
At home, the Cougars practice at the Marriott Center. Practice schedule is Mon-Wed-Fri from 1 to 3:30 p.m., and from 3:30 to 5 p.m., on Tu-Th. Player and/or coach Shippen interviews may be done in advance by contacting the women's basketball SID Norma Collett at 801-378-4908 or via e-mail at email@example.com There are no player interviews 24 hours prior to games.