The BYU women’s basketball team begins a tough week of West Coast Conference play, starting with a visit from San Diego on Thursday evening.
“This is going to be one of the toughest weeks,” BYU head coach Jeff Judkins said. “San Diego is playing really well right now. They lost some early games with us and Gonzaga. Playing them and turning around to play St. Mary’s at their place will be hard.”
Fresh off of a victory on the road against Santa Clara, BYU (15–6) is going into this game with a 6–2 WCC record. San Diego (15–7, 7–3) won a close game in San Francisco on Saturday 63–61. Four of the Toreros scored in double figures.
These two teams have already faced each other this season. On Jan. 10 the Cougars took the Toreros into overtime in San Diego. BYU came away with a close 57–54 victory. A strong team effort helped the Cougars come away with the win. Three BYU players scored in double figures, led by Stephanie Seaborn’s 16 points.
BYU hopes home court advantage will come into play and give the team a more decisive victory against San Diego. The Cougars have not lost in the Marriott Center this season.
“I think that they feel in this building that they can beat anybody,” Judkins said. “We have girls who have won here consistently. They believe they can win here, and we kind of emphasize that this is our place and we need to take care of business.”
In their last meeting, BYU was outrebounded 47–34 by San Diego. The Cougars are hoping to improve on that aspect of their game this time around behind senior Keilani Unga’s strong presence. In the past two games, Unga is averaging 13 points and 5.5 rebounds.
“Last week was (Keilani’s) best week,” Judkins said. “I think when Keilani can play like that and give us tough inside presence, I think it makes our team a lot better.”
San Diego guard Amy Kame scored 25 points on their loss to BYU. However, the Toreros’ bench only contributed 11 points in that game. Meanwhile, the Cougars’ bench scored 23 points. BYU’s bench has outscored its opponents 412–254 this season.
“I think the role of our bench has been really important this year in what we’ve been able to do,” guard Ashley Garfield said. “My role has been to come in, know the game plan, execute that, and just play solid defense and rebound and just let the offense come where it does.”
BYU will face a vengeful San Diego on Thursday at 6 p.m. MST in the Marriott Center. Fans are encouraged to participate in the “White-Out” by wearing white.