The BYU women’s basketball team travels to Arizona Tuesday to play the University of Arizona Wildcats.
Arizona has a 4-0 winning streak in their preseason games, while the Cougars are coming off of a back-to-back loss last week landing them a 4-2 overall, 2-2 in the West Coast Conference for the season.
After their struggle last week on the East Coast against Boston College and Harvard, the Cougars are ready to bounce back and continue their season right.
“Win, that’s the biggest thing,” senior guard Haley Steed said. “When you lose two games in a row, the best thing is just to come back to practice the next day with a vengeance, play hard and make sure we correct the mistakes we’ve been making.”
BYU Head Coach Jeff Judkins is known for having defensively sound teams, but in last week’s games the team struggled in denying shots from its opponents and turning the ball over.
“Number one thing we need to change is defense,” junior guard Kim Parker Beeston said. “We did a lot of things that aren’t characteristic of our team, things that we’ve practiced. I think we’ve been focusing too much on the offensive part of our game and not realizing that defense is what wins games.”
Last year, the Cougars and the Wildcats met at the Hukilau Invitational where BYU came out with an 82-73 win.
This year the players to watch from Arizona’s team are leading scorer Davellyn Whyte, who averages 20 points per game, and lead rebounder Cheshi Poston, who averages seven rebounds per game.
Leaders for BYU are sophomore guard Lexi Eaton, who is averaging 19.3 points per game, and sophomore forward Morgan Bailey who rebounds an average of 6.3 boards per game.
The Cougars look forward to making their presence known right from the start against the Wildcasts and heading into this game prepared.
“We always talk about coming out the first couple of minutes with aggressiveness,” Beeston said. “If your the opposite team and you see the other team coming out aggressive and ready to go, you question your confidence.”
One of the advantages the Cougars have this game is the return of junior center Jennifer Hamson, a 6′ 7″ player who has been absent the beginning of the season due to her volleyball career at BYU.
“We have to do a better job of guarding dribble penetration,” Judkins said. “Jen (Jennifer Hamson) will help tomorrow, she’ll take that away.”
Last week the team had some disappointing finishes, but hopes are still high and the team has no desire to abandon ship just yet.
“We shot well,” Judkins said. “I think we did a good job pushing the ball. We did a good job of getting to the foul line, we didn’t make them, but we got to the foul line which is a real positive thing for us. We did a good job not fouling so much, we weren’t in bonus in early stages of the game.”
The Cougars and Wildcats tipoff at 11 a.m. Tuesday in the McKale Memorial Center.