Women's Basketball 2017-18 Season Review
The 2017-18 women’s basketball team finished the season with an overall record of 16-14 and 11-7 in West Coast Conference play, tied for third place with LMU.
BYU listed 12 players on its active roster to start the season, but due to injuries, relied on just nine players for the rest of the year with three seniors, three sophomores and three true freshmen.
The Cougars began their nonconference slate with a 3-3 mark in November playing at Pac-12 powerhouse Washington and hosting SEC foe Georgia, who finished the season ranked 19th in the USA Today ESPN Top 25 Coaches Poll. BYU lost both of those contests while recording wins over Southern Utah, Eastern Washington and Utah Valley University.
Against in-state rivals, the Cougars went 3-1 on the year, collecting victories over the Thunderbirds, the Wolverines, Utah and a home loss to Utah State.
BYU finished its nonconference schedule with a 5-7 mark including going 4-2 at home.
In WCC play, the Cougars went on a five-game win streak in January picking up wins over San Francisco, Pacific, Pepperdine, Santa Clara and LMU. BYU swept the league series with the Lions, the Broncos, the Waves and Portland. It split the series race with Saint Mary’s, the Dons and the Tigers and was swept by Gonzaga and for the first time since BYU joined the WCC, by San Diego.
The Cougars had a strong showing in league play finishing tied for third-place, including a 7-2 record at home. BYU led the WCC in blocked shots and field goal percentage defense, ranked second in 3-point field goals made, 3-point field goal percentage and attendance. It placed third in defensive rebounds, fourth in scoring defense, scoring margin and 3-point field goal defense. The team concluded the year ranked fifth in four categories (assists, steals, turnover margin and rebounding offense). It ended the season sixth in assist/turnover ratio, seventh in rebounding margin and scoring offense, eighth in offensive rebounds, ninth in both defensive and offensive rebound percentage along with free throw percentage and 10th in rebounding defense.
Senior Cassie Broadhead Devashrayee was one of five players that played key roles in the team’s success in league play. Devashrayee led the WCC in scoring and minutes played, ranked sixth in free-throw percentage and assists, 10th in 3-point field goals made and 11th in assist/turnover ratio. She picked up her second-straight West Coast Conference First-Team honor. Devashrayee recorded double-digit points in 29 of the 30 games played, was the team’s assist leader and played the most minutes on the squad. She finished her stellar BYU career ranked 18th all-time in points with 1,316. Devashrayee ranks 13th all-time in 3-pointers made with 99, is tied in 14th place in total games played with 124 and ranks 15th all-time in assists with 345.
Sophomore Brenna Chase, was the second Cougar player to garner WCC First-Team honors while leading the league in 3-point field goals made. She concluded the season ranked third in steals, fifth in assist/turnover ratio, seventh in minutes played, 10th in scoring and 14th in assists. On the squad, Chase led the way in steals, ranked second in assists, minutes played and in scoring with a 13.5 points per game average.
Freshman Sara Hamson made a big impact in the league, playing in all games, starting in the last 16. She earned Defensive Player of the Year honors after a season that saw her lead the WCC and finish ranked No. 2 in the NCAA with her 4.3 blocks per game. She had two nine-block performances on the year and dominated the post as a freshman for the Cougars. She was the second-consecutive Cougar to win the award after Kalani Purcell also claimed the honor last season, and follows in the footsteps of her sister Jennifer Hamson who was the Defensive and Player of the Year in 2013-14 as the first student-athlete in conference history to earn both honors in the same season.
Hamson led the way in blocked shots in the league, placed sixth in rebounding and defensive rebounds, 12th in offensive rebounds and was named to the five-member 2017-18 WCC All-Freshman Team. On the squad, she topped the leaderboard in both blocks and rebounds with a 7.7 and 4.3 average, respectively. Hamson was the blocks leader in 20 games and finished her freshman campaign with the BYU all-time record for a freshman in total blocks in a season with 112.
Graduate transfer Malia Nawahine also had an impressive season in league play placing fourth in minutes played, seventh in steals, eighth in 3-point field goals made, 12th in 3-point field goal percentage, tied for 19th in rebounding and 24th in scoring. She was tied in second place in rebounding on the team with a 5.4 average and ranked third in scoring, assists and in minutes played. Nawahine recorded 15 games with double-figure points.
Sophomore forward Shalae Salmon rounded out the Cougar players who were consistently on the WCC stat sheet ending the year ranked seventh in blocked shots and tied for 19th in rebounding. On the squad she averaged 4.8 points a game and tied for second place in both rebounding average (5.4) and in blocks average (0.93).
On the year, BYU was regularly ranked nationally in three categories, finishing the season ranked fifth in blocked shots per game, eighth in blocked shots and 20th in field goal percentage defense.
Hamson and Devashrayee were also consistently in the national stats in 2017-18. Hamson not only ranked first in blocked shots per game but she also ranked second in total blocked shots. Devashrayee finished ranked 10th in minutes played per game, tied for 15th place in free throws made, 20th in free throw attempts and 45th in points per game.
Heading into the 2018-19 season, the Cougars will have a young team made up of two returning starters and five players that saw significant playing time. BYU also anticipates the return of two letterwinners back from injuries and three incoming freshmen.