PROVO, Utah— With a 13-5 record in the 2017 West Coast Conference regular season race, BYU women’s basketball (19-10) finished tied for second place with Saint Mary’s. Because BYU had a tiebreaking win over Gonzaga, the Cougars are the No. 2 seed in this year’s WCC Women’s Basketball Championships.
BYU will play in one of two quarterfinal games on Friday, Mar. 3, at 2 p.m. PST at the Orleans Arena. The Cougars will take on either No. 7 seed San Diego or No. 10 seed Portland. The two play on Thursday, Mar. 2.
The Cougar women picked up two of the top WCC post season honors in 2017. BYU junior guard Cassie Broadhead was named the West Coast Conference Player of the Year to mark the fourth consecutive season and fifth overall that a Cougar has earned the conference’s top award. Senior teammate Kalani Purcell earned Defensive Player of the Year accolades. The duo were also named All-WCC First Team honorees with senior Makenzi Pulsipher making the All-WCC Second Team. Brenna Chase was one of five players named to the 2017 All-Freshman Team.
BYU AT A GLANCE
Three players are scoring in double figures for the Cougars with a team- and league-best 18.3 points a game from junior guard Cassie Broadhead. Senior guard Makenzi Pulsipher is next in scoring, contributing 13.0 points to the Cougars offensive threat. The third BYU player to put up double digits in points is senior All-American Kalani Purcell. She’s averaging a double-double with 12.6 points and a team-and league-high 10.4 boards per game.
BYU finished league play ranked first in scoring margin, field goal percentage, field goal percentage defense, assists, steals, turnover margin and in assist/turnover ratio. The Cougars finished second in free throw percentage, rebounding defense, blocked shots and in defensive rebounds.
Overall, the Cougars are scoring 67.9 points per game, while shooting 42.7 percent from the field, 34.0 percent from behind the arc and 73.0 percent from the charity stripe. BYU grabs 36.3 rebounds a contest.
• Head coach: Jeff Judkins (Utah, ‘78), 16th season
• Team’s leading scorer: #20 C. Broadhead, 18.3 ppg
• Team’s leading rebounder: #32 K. Purcell, 10.4 rpg
• Team’s assists leader: #32 K. Purcell, 4.9 apg
• Team’s steals leader: #23 M. Pulsipher, 2.4 spg
• Team’s blocks leader: ##32 K. Purcell, 1.2 bpg
SAN DIEGO AT A GLANCE
San Diego finished the WCC race with a 7-11 mark and is the no. 7 seed in the WCC tournament with a 13-15 overall record. In the league race, the Toreros swept the series vs. Santa Clara and Portland. They split the series with Saint Mary’s, Pacific and LMU with each team winning on its home floor. USD lost the series vs. LMU, Pepperdine, Gonzaga and BYU.
The Toreros return 12 letterwinners and four starters from last year’s team that went 25-7, 14-4. USD advanced to the WNIT Sweet 16 last season.
Aubrey Ward-El leads the way in scoring for San Diego with a team-best 10.3 point average. Caroline Buhr pulls down a team-high 5.6 boards a game.
USD is averaging 64.6 points per game, shoots 40.9 percent from the field, 26.0 percent from 3-point land and 72.8 percent from the free-throw line, while grabbing 36.0 boards a contest.
• Head coach: Cindy Fisher (Arizona State, ‘88), 12th season
• Team’s leading scorer: #05 A. Ward-El, 10.6 ppg
• Team’s leading rebounder: #24 C. Buhr, 5.6 rpg
• Team’s assists leader: #32 C. Woodward, 4.4 apg
• Team’s steals leader: #25 K. Hamilton, 1.6 spg
• Team’s blocks leader: #44 S. Williams, 1.1 bpg
BYU leads the overall series 11-3. In this year’s league race, the Cougars swept the series for the first time since the 2012-13 season. In 2017, BYU won the first meeting in Provo, 81-63 on Jan. 14. The Cougars then traveled to San Diego and defeated the Toreros 65-47, on Feb. 16.
PORTLAND AT A GLANCE
The Portland Pilots finished the 2017 WCC race in last place with a 4-14 record. Portland swept the series over Pepperdine and split the series with Pacific with each team winning on the road. They also split the series with LMU, and in that matchup, each team won on its home court.
Portland has 10 letterwinners returning, including all five starters. Kaylie Van Loo tops the list in scoring for Portland with 11.9 points a game, while teammate Julie Spencer leads the way in the rebounds category, pulling down 7.6 boards a contest. The Pilots average 58.6 points, grab 34.8 rebounds and shoot 36.2 percent from the field. Portland also shoots 30.0 percent from behind 3-point range and 71.8 percent from the charity stripe.
• Head coach: Cheryl Sorenson (Washington, ‘03), Second season
• Team’s leading scorer: #3 K, Van Loo, 11.9 ppg
• Team’s leading rebounder: #23 J. Spencer, 7.6 rpg
• Team’s assists leader: #03 K. Van Loo, 5.1 apg
• Team’s steals leader: #03 K. Van Loo, 2.1 spg
• Team’s blocks leader: #23 J. Spencer, .72 bpg
BYU leads the series 20-4. The Cougars swept this year’s league race with the Pilots. The two played first on Feb. 4 in Portland where BYU picked up the 77-38 victory. In the second meeting between the two league foes played in Provo on Feb. 23, the Cougars recorded the 13-point, 73-60 win.
A win over the Toreros or the Pilots would send the Cougar women into one of two WCC championship semifinal games played on Monday, Mar. 6, at 2 p.m. PST at the Orleans Arena.