Familiarity during challenging situations is said to help one succeed. In this case, the BYU’s women’s basketball team looks to play in BYU-Hawaii’s Cannon Event Center for the third time this week on Saturday, when the Cougars take on Syracuse University in the team’s final match-up of the Hukilau Invitational.
Though the competition will be tough, BYU head coach Jeff Judkins said he looks forward to formidable competition.
“We’re going to play [a] really good team; that’s why we did [this invitational],” Judkins said. “We do play well here. We seem to have the energy, shoot the ball pretty well, so hopefully we can continue. It’s a nice place to play.”
BYU starting guard Kim Parker said court familiarity can really help during a game — to know the feel of the court and the hoops and that it should make a difference during Saturday’s game.
Parker contributed 17 points in 16 minutes during Tuesday’s game against BYU-Hawaii, including five rebounds, four steals, three assists and a perfect record at the charity stripe.
With the recent successful contributions from BYU’s bench, Judkins said he’s proud of them and hopes their contribution will continue.
Freshman Xojian Harry said the key to winning against an undefeated team like Syracuse is keeping a cool and consistent head.
“[We need] to just play our game — not play in the hands of the other team,” Harry said. “Do what we need to do to execute our offense, play good defense and we can beat anyone we face.”
Parker paralleled Harry’s statement.
“I think constantly pushing the ball and being able to execute our plays [is key],” Parker said. “That’s something that we’ve struggled on a little bit, because we kind of crumbled under pressure. I think that [the BYU-Hawaii] game will help in that way because we have been able to practice our plays on this court against a different team.”
Syracuse presents a diverse spread of players: four players average double-digit scoring, including Kayla Alexander with a daunting 20.8 point average. The Orange also total 332 rebounds to their opponents’ 203.
After the Cougars finish up with the Hukilau Invitational, they’ll head back to Utah for three in-state games in a row: Southern Utah University, University of Utah and Utah State University.
The game against Syracuse begins at 4 p.m. MST.