Women’s basketball scrimmages prep team for season

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The BYU women’s basketball team got its first taste of competition Friday evening at the Marriott Center, where the team participated in five, intrasquad, 10-minute long scrimmages.

Assistant coach Melinda Bendall, who played under head coach Jeff Judkins in 2003-2007, said the players did a great job despite the game being the first performance in front of fans. Up until Friday, the team had only participated in three weeks worth of practice.

“It was a little rough at first, but I thought they worked through it,” Bendall said. “It’s hard when the same teams know the same plays, and they’re competing with each other, but … they have great chemistry on the court.”

The veteran players stepped forward, particularly seniors Kristen Riley and Haley Steed, who contributed significantly both offensively and defensively.

For the new freshmen, this scrimmage was their first taste of the competitive atmosphere that is college basketball.

“What’s so exciting is that you can tell we have some freshmen that have a lot of talent,” Bendall said. “Between [Xojian] Harry, [Ashley] Garfield and [Lexi] Eaton — awesome talent coming, and that’s exciting just to watch and see them get better every single day. They’ve got a lot to learn, but their athleticism is crazy.”

What may have started off roughly according to Bendall, resulted in the returning players showing their endurance.

“From the last game, I think you see your veteran players who are used to playing a lot of minutes and, when they’re tired, being able to still perform,” Bendall said. “And I think the freshmen got a nice  feel for what a game might be like.”

Bendall also said the consistency in leadership from the returning players should hopefully inspire the younger players to get on board, and that will result in a “fabulous team.”

Up next for the Cougars is a pair of exhibition games on Nov. 3 and 4 in the Marriott Center.

From tonight’s scrimmages, the coaches have seen who and what works well together for this year’s team and will put those into practice before next week’s games.

“These game do [give us a feel for who’s starting],” Bendall said. “Is it set in stone? No. And it won’t be until the day of the game, but we have a good idea of where we’ll go because of what we’ve seen out here.”

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