Women’s b-ball opens at Weber

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    By Courtney Carlston

    After an undefeated preseason, the BYU women”s basketball team is eager to take on back-to-back Big Sky Champions Weber State in the first regular-season game tonight, Nov. 21, in Ogden.

    “The keys for this game for us is to take them out of their stuff defensively and then not give them second and third shots,” said BYU assistant coach Alli Bills. “We have a lot of depth, so we feel like that is to our advantage.”

    The Cougars face a team with nine returning players, including 2003 Big Sky Co-MVP and First Team All-Big Sky pick Julie Gjersten (5-foot-10 junior guard). The Wildcats also have the talent of 2003 Freshman of the Year and Big Sky Tournament MVP Sheila Robertson (5-foot-6 sophomore guard).

    One of BYU”s key players is junior Julie Sullivan, who recently suffered a torn ligament in her knee. Sullivan started in 13 of 14 games last season, and will be playing her first game of the season tonight.

    “She [Sullivan] is our best penetrating guard,” Bills said. “She has ability to get to the middle of the key to draw and kick and really open up a lot of things for us. She”ll be the one to watch. She”ll open up a whole other demonstration for us.”

    The Cougars” size will be another advantage for BYU. Senior Ashleigh Chamberlain provides strength and height in the center position and will help junior Danielle Cheesman pull down the boards.

    With experience from returning players combined with the fast adaptation of younger players in exhibition games, the Cougars feel prepared for the competition ahead.

    “We”re really clicking,” Cheesman said. “We learned a lot from our last couple of games. We kind of need to calm down on offensive, but we have played really well defensively. So we just need to keep that up.”

    Even with a 10-point defeat in last year”s game against the Cougars, the Wildcats look forward to a second try for a victory against their in-state rivals.

    “Every year is a new challenge, and anything can happen,” said Weber State head coach Carla Taylor in a release. “I would have to say, don”t count us out.”

    After tonight”s competition, the Cougars are off to the prestigious Great Alaska Shootout on Tuesday and Wednesday. The Cougars return home during the Thanksgiving holiday to host Texas Christian University on Nov. 29.

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