By Hillary Wallace
The BYU basketball program has one final chance to defeat instate rival Utah when the women”s team face the Utes Saturday Mar. 1 at the Huntsman Center.
“This a big game for us,” sophomore forward Danielle Cheesman said. “Especially at Utah and coming down to the end of the season, we really need to win these games.”
In second place in the Mountain West standings, BYU hopes to bring confidence from last week”s wins against UNLV and San Diego State to the road.
“We feel like we had a good weekend last week,” coach Jeff Judkins said. “A lot of players are playing as good as they have played all year.”
In the last match up in Provo, the Cougars came up short, 67-50, in their only home loss of the season. Judkins said BYU was struggling with team issues relating to the suspension of all-conference senior forward Jennifer Leitner and didn”t play as well.
“We”re pretty good at adjusting this year,” Cheesman said. “Right now, we”re playing together as a team and putting a 40-minute game together.”
BYU might have to make more adjustments Saturday as freshman guard Jennie Overdiek suffered a broken nose in practice earlier this week. A doctor”s appointment today will determine her status.
“I was jumping up, and Danielle [Cheesman] was coming down and her elbow hit me,” Overdiek said.
No. 25 Utah entered the USA Today/ESPN Top 25 for the first time all year after wins last week over San Diego State and UNLV. With a 10-1 conference record, the Utes rank in first place and have secured at least a tie for the regular-season championship in the MWC.
Judkins said Utah is going to give BYU players open shots with their defense, and those players will need to hit big shots and play their best games.
“Both teams are equal and match up well,” coach Jeff Judkins said. “It just depends on who wants it the most and which players will step up.”
For the Cougars, a chance to go to the NCAA tournament means every win counts, even against No. 1 Utah.
“A win like this would look good on our resume,” Judkins said. “We have more to lose and hopefully we”ll be ready to play and play hard.”