PROVO, Utah— Making its 13th postseason appearance and fifth in the Women’s National Invitational Tournament (WNIT), BYU women’s basketball (20-11) will host a first round game vs. Washington State (12-19), Thursday, March 16, at 7 p.m., MDT.
The Cougars vs. Cougars game will be carried live on BYUtv and simulcast on BYU Radio.
BYU is one of 32 automatic qualifiers in this year’s 64-team tournament, representing the West Coast Conference. Washington State is the automatic qualifier from the Pac-12.
BYU AT A GLANCE
Heading into this week’s first round game, BYU has a 10-7 record when competing in the WNIT. The Cougars’ most recent appearance in the WNIT was in 2012-13 where they advanced to the third round. The team’s best finish was in the 2010-11 season when they advanced to the quarterfinal round.
In this year’s tournament field, BYU has played three of the participating teams. It beat St. Joseph’s in the UNM Thanksgiving Tournament, lost at Utah in December and went 1-2 against WCC foe Saint Mary’s.
BYU is led in scoring by WCC Player of the Year Cassie Broadhead, who averages a team-best 17.9 points per game. The junior guard’s point average is second in the WCC. Senior guard Makenzi Pulsipher is the next scoring threat for the Cougars. She puts up 13.1 points a contest. Senior All-American Kalani Purcell rounds out the scoring for BYU. She’s averaging a double-double with 12.9 points and a team-and league-high 10.6 boards per game. Purcell was named this year’s WCC Defensive Player of the Year and picked up her second-straight WCC Women’s Basketball First Team honor. Broadhead joined Purcell on the first team, with Pulsipher making the second team.
Overall, the Cougars are scoring 67.5 points per game, while shooting 42.4 percent from the field, 33.4 percent from behind the arc and 72.4 percent from the charity stripe. BYU pulls down 36.1 rebounds a contest.
• Head coach: Jeff Judkins (Utah, ‘78), 16th season
• Team’s leading scorer: #20 C. Broadhead, 17.9 ppg
• Team’s leading rebounder: #32 K. Purcell, 10.6 rpg
• Team’s assists leader: #32 K. Purcell, 4.8 apg
• Team’s steals leader: #23 M. Pulsipher, 2.5 spg
• Team’s blocks leader: #20 32 K. Purcell, 1.3 bpg
WASHINGTON STATE AT A GLANCE
Washington State enters the WNIT with a 12-19 record, finishing seventh in the Pac-12 regular season campaign.
Four players are scoring in double figures for Washington State, led by 14.7 points per game from sophomore forward Borislava Hristova. A pair of guards in Chanelle Molina and Alexys Swedlund follow in scoring with 12.8 and 10.9 points a game, respectively. Rounding out the double digit scoring for Washington State is forward Louise Brown, who puts up 10.4 points and grabs a team-best 6.9 rebounds a contest.
On the year, Washington State averaged 66.2 points a game and shot 38.6 percent from the field, 31.6 percent from behind the arc and 55.9 percent from the free-throw line.
• Head coach: June Daugherty (Ohio State, ‘78), 10th season
• Team’s leading scorer: #45 B. Hristova, 14.7 ppg
• Team’s leading rebounder: #04 L. Brown, 6.9 rpg
• Team’s assists leader: #22 P. Pavlopoulou, 2.9 apg
• Team’s steals leader: #01 C. Hailey, 1.8 spg
• Team’s blocks leader: #20 M. Kostourkova, 1.2 bpg
BYU leads the series over Washington State, 5-4. When playing in Provo, the visiting Cougars are 1-3. Head coach Jeff Judkins is 2-1 against WSU. The last time the two teams met was on Nov. 26, 2013 when the two Cougar teams played in Provo. In that matchup, the BYU Cougars won 80-73. This will be the first time the two programs have met in a postseason tournament.
A BYU win over Washington State would move the Cougars into the second round where they would play the winner of Thursday night’s Seattle at Wyoming game.