And the winner is … BYU women’s basketball. The home court win against then-ranked Gonzaga last Thursday brought some deserved attention to the team.
Sophomore Jennifer Hamson was named College Sports Madness West Coast Women’s Basketball Player of the Week. The site names the most valuable players in the nation from each conference. Against Gonzaga, she put 14 points on the board, grabbed nine rebounds, and had one assist, one steal and three blocks, all in a short 22 minutes.
BYU coach Jeff Judkins said the team has great leadership from the seniors and that translates to the younger players. He said he has freshmen who are willing to learn and winning is important to them, which makes coaching easier.
“It’s nice when you have [Kim] Parker who’s won it a couple times, and [Kristen] Riley’s won it a couple times, and Jen [Hamson] has won it once,” Judkins said about the players getting recognized as the West Coast Conference Player of the Week. “To have that many different players have a chance to win that award means that we have a very balanced team and deep team. I think that’s why our team’s been so successful. Every night it’s somebody else, it’s not one person.”
The sophomore Parker was named WCC Player of the Week this week. In the Gonzaga game she had a game-high 16 points and shot perfect from the free throw line. She also had five rebounds, four assists and one steal. This is the second award for Parker this season.
“Any award is nice to get, it builds confidence and I think that our team is such a team unit,” Parker said. “It’s not really about one person. It’s just great having some of the players get recognized because we work hard everyday in practice and it’s nice to be able to show that a little bit.”
[pullquote]”Any award is nice to get, it builds confidence and I think that our team is such a team unit,” Parker said. “It’s not really about one person. It’s just great having some of the players get recognized because we work hard everyday in practice and it’s nice to be able to show that a little bit.”[/pullquote]
The team will face off against both San Francisco and San Diego this week on the Cougars’ home court. But even being on top in the WCC, the team says it will take one game at a time.
“That win puts us at a tie for first, that gives us a little bit of an edge,” freshman Lexi Eaton said. “That means teams will give their best games for us because they know we’re at the top of the conference now, so we expect that. We expect that target on our back so we have to come out and not take any game lightly because every game matters from here on out.”
The Dons will take on the Cougars today at 7 p.m. On Saturday, BYU and the Toreros will face off at 1 p.m.
With other teams aiming to beat BYU, the Cougars will have to stay focused and keep humble to not let the conference title be stolen out from underneath them.
“I think we’ve stubbed our toe a couple times this year. The last one was Pepperdine,” Judkins said. “I think that really helped the team realize that every team is going to give their best shot and that every game counts. People are going to come here and really give us a great game so we just really have to focus on that and realize that it is in our own hands. We’ve got to come out and play our game and do the best that we can.”