2019-20 season review
PROVO, Utah – The Cougar women’s basketball team concluded the 2019-20 campaign with an 18-11, 13-5 record, tied for second place in the West Coast Conference regular-season race and entered the 2020 UCU WCC Women’s Basketball Championships as the No. 3 seed. The Cougars were anticipating extending their season, with a likely invitation to compete in the postseason WNIT but due to the Coronavirus pandemic, all tournaments were canceled.
During the season, the Cougars went on a six-game win streak, collecting wins in league play over San Diego, Pacific, St. Mary’s, San Francisco, Santa Clara and Portland. In the WCC race, they swept the series vs. LMU, Pepperdine, Pacific and St. Mary’s. When playing in the Marriott Center, the Cougars had a 10-3 record including a 7-2 mark in league play.
BYU had a tough nonconference schedule playing four games at home, four on the road and two at neutral sites. The Cougars collected wins over Texas A&M Kingsville, Fresno State, Utah State, Utah Valley University and San Jose State. BYU competed in the 2019 Maui Jim Maui Classic in Lahiana, Maui where it defeated the Spartans and battled then ranked No. 4 Oregon State. Senior guard Brenna Chase Drollinger was named to the All-Tournament Team.
When the Cougars went to play a league game in Malibu vs. Pepperdine, on Dec. 30, the 65-47 win gave head coach Jeff Judkins his 400th career game, making him the all-time winningest head coach for men or women’s basketball at BYU.
Two players on the team joined a select group of 31 BYU players who scored more than 1,000 points in their careers. Senior guard Brenna Chase Drollinger reached the milestone with eight points in the home game vs. Utah on Nov. 29. She concluded her career ranked 19th all-time in points with 1,304. Junior guard Paisley Johnson eclipsed 1,000 points with 23 in the road game at Santa Clara on February 20. She finished the season ranked 27th all-time in scoring with 1,072 career points.
The Cougars averaged 60.2 points and grabbed 39.8 rebounds per game. They held opponents to 54.5 points and 38 boards a contest. BYU finished the year with an 18-6 record when it got more blocks than its opponents, had a 16-1 mark when it led at the half, was 16-2 when it dished out more assists than opponents, was 13-7 when it had 16 turnovers or less, was 12-6 when it made at least five 3-pointers and ended the year with a 10-2 record when it pulled down more rebounds than opponents.
At the time the season ended, the Cougars were nationally ranked second in field goal percentage defense (32.2); they were third in blocked shots per game (6.7) and in blocked shots (195); 12th in scoring defense (54.8) and were 21st in defensive rebounds per game (28.7).
In the WCC, BYU concluded the year ranked first in field goal percentage defense (.322), in rebounding offense (39.8), in blocked shots (6.7) and in defensive rebounds (28.7). The team ranked second in scoring defense (54.8); it placed third in scoring margin (+5.4), and fourth in four categories: 3-point field goal percentage (.322), 3-point field goal percentage defense (.294), in assists (14.7) and in assists/turnover ratio (1.1).
Several Cougar players finished the year ranked in multiple categories in the WCC. Johnson, who led the BYU team with a 15.2 points average, placed fifth in scoring in the league. She had the team’s best free-throw percentage (.819) and was fourth in that category in the WCC. Johnson ranked second in steals (1.5) and third in assists (3.1) on the team, while her assists average ranked 10th in the league.
Drollinger averaged 12.2 points per game for second on the team and 15th in the conference. She was the team’s assists (4.3) and steals (1.8) leader. Those averages placed her in fifth and eighth place respectively in the WCC. Drollinger led the league in minutes played with a 36.6 average while ranking second in 3-point field goals made (2.2) and fifth in assist/turnover ratio (1.5).
Junior center Sara Hamson was the team’s rebounds (7.9) and blocks (4.72) leader while also leading the nation in total blocked shots (137) and in blocks per game (4.72). She led the league in blocked shots and in field goal percentage (.560) while ranking fourth in defensive rebounds (5.6) and 11th in offensive rebounds. Hamson finished her junior campaign ranked third all-time at BYU in career blocks with 336 (needing four to tie her sister Jennifer with 340 career blocks).
Junior guard Maria Albiero ended the season ranked second in assist/turnover ratio (1.7), sixth in 3-point field goal percentage (.360) and ninth in assists (3.2) in the WCC.
Despite the departure of four seniors, the BYU women’s basketball team returns a solid group of players including WCC First Teamer, Paisley Johnson, the 2019-20 WCC Defensive Player of the Year in Sara Hamson, and the 2018-19 WCC Newcomer of the Year, Shaylee Gonzales. The three will be joined by returning starter Maria Albiero, juniors Signe Glantz, Malli Perri and Babalu Ugwu. The Cougars also return sophomores Kaylee Smiler and Leilani Otuafi and redshirts Lauren Gustin and Kyra Beckman.
With an experienced-packed roster, the Cougar team has nothing but high hopes for another successful winning season, a return to the NCAA Championships and advancing in the postseason tournament.
2020 West Coast Conference Women’s Basketball Defensive Player of the Year: Sara Hamson
2020 West Coast Conference Women’s Basketball First Team: Brenna Chase Drollinger
2020 West Coast Conference Women’s Basketball First Team: Paisley Johnson
2020 West Coast Conference Women’s Basketball Second Team: Sara Hamson
2020 Naismith Women’s Basketball Defensive Player of the Year Semifinalist: Sara Hamson
2019-20 WCC Women’s Basketball All-Academic Team: Sara Hamson
2019-20 WCC Women’s Basketball All-Academic Honorable Mention: Maria Albiero
2019 All-Tournament Team at Maui Jim Maui Classic: Brenna Chase Drollinger
2019-20 Preseason All-WCC Team: Brenna Chase Drollinger
2019-20 Preseason All-WCC Team: Paisley Johnson
2019-20 Preseason All-WCC Team: Sara Hamson