The BYU women’s basketball team won both its exhibition games against Chadron State and Dixie State Thursday and Friday night.
The Cougars took the win against the Chadron Eagles with a final score of 89-51. BYU Head Coach Jeff Judkins was able to substitute in many players and get a feel for how the new players perform in game mode.
“I was looking to see what were good combinations,” Judkins said. “Sometimes I’d get some veterans with some younger kids to get them to execute and run the stuff that we wanted to. The young kids have to learn how to do the things in practice and execute them in the game while the game’s going. That’s why the second half I did more substituting with that kind of combination to try and let the veterans help them out a little bit.”
Many of the freshmen got ample playing time against Chadron to help get some of their nerves out of the way.
“I think (the freshmen) did a really good job of trying to do the things Coach Judkins asked them to do,” sophomore guard Ashley Garfield said. “So I think they’re just going to get better with time.”
Garfield was a key player in the Chadron game, coming out with a double-double for points scored and number of rebounds.
“I was really happy with Ashley’s performance tonight,” Judkins said. “It was a real positive performance. She double-doubled and I thought she was a real presence out on the court.”
Coming out again for her second year, Garfield is ready to do what it takes to play well and have a successful season.
“I just tried to come out and give energy,” Garfield said. “Not do anything special, just execute what we’ve been doing in practice and try to play hard. Coach has really asked us to go to the boards hard because we lost some good rebounders so there are a couple of us that need to be able to step up and hit those boards hard.”
In Friday night’s exhibition game Dixie State came out strong and gave BYU a run for their money.
“Definitely tonight felt like a real game because they’re an in-state school, and we knew that they wanted to beat us,” senior forward Keilani Unga said. “This was like their Super Bowl for them, and they came out prepared, hitting shots and it was a little closer than we wanted, but we came out with a win and we stuck as a team.”
BYU did take the win against Dixie State with a final score of 79-57, but it was a closer game than had been anticipated.
“Dixie State was hitting all their shots and we weren’t prepared for that,” Unga said. “I give credit to them, they were playing well and made it a very close game for us. We were expecting to play the freshmen more, and we weren’t prepared for the match-up zone they did either. We needed to move the ball more, but we didn’t.”
Judkins put a few players in for longer than he normally would to help ensure the win for BYU.
“I don’t want to play Haley (Steed) 32 minutes,” Judkins said. “But we’re not as good a team without her on the floor; it’s her leadership. Kylie (Maeda) however is going to be a good little pointer. Tonight we were up 9 or 10 points and I subbed Haley out because I wanted to see what Kylie could do. I figured if they catch us then I’ll go back with Haley, but Kylie did a good job.”
While the game against Dixie State may not have allowed the freshman to get on the court as much, it gave them a good insight into what the season will look like.
“It was good because I think a lot of the young kids will see where their role is on the team and decide what they want to do, whether they want to red-shirt this year or not, so tonight was good for that reason,” Judkins said.
With exhibition games over, the Cougars begin their regular season Friday at 3 p.m. in the Marriott Center against the Weber State Wildcats.