Women’s Basketball Battles for 3rd Place in MWC

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    By Brittany Piepgrass

    A competitive battle for third place in the Mountain West Conference will tip off Tuesday at 6 p.m. as BYU women”s basketball looks to knock off TCU in Fort Worth, Texas.

    The Cougars (11-8) and the Frogs (12-9) are both tied for third place with a 5-2 record. No. 20 Utah leads the conference with a perfect 7-0 record and No. 22 Wyoming follows closely behind in second. TCU”s two losses in the conference came from a tough home defeat to Utah, 60-50, and at Wyoming, 62-45. BYU lost two games in a row to the Utah, in Provo, 80-49, and at San Diego State, 62-39.

    BYU is coming off a huge upset at home Saturday night against then No. 15 Wyoming, winning 56-42. Senior Mallary Gillespie-Carling led the Cougars with 20 points, her 14th double-figure scoring effort this season. On Monday, Gillespie-Carling was named MWC Co-Player of the Week after shooting an impressive 60.7 percent from the field and 8-of-12 from three-point range. Freshman guard Mindy Nielson allowed the Cougar offense to shine, supplying 13 points and five assists.

    “We just have to play our game, most importantly,” Nielson said. “Ultimately we have to play hard.”

    TCU won its third straight game on the road against Air Force Saturday, 67-49. TCU is 9-3 at home this season with the help of leading scorer Adrianne Ross, who contributes 13.8 points per game. Ross leads her team with 68 assists and 51 steals and was the second player in TCU”s history to be named MWC Player of the Year last season. Senior Lori Butler-Rayford adds 10.8 ppg and leads her team in rebounds, averaging 7.2.

    Both teams are evenly stacked defensively and offensively, averaging about 39 boards and 39 percent shooting from the field. BYU leads the series against TCU, 7-3.

    Last season the Cougars and the Frogs each claimed a victory on their home court.

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