The BYU women’s basketball team will host West Coast Conference rival St. Mary’s in the third round of the WNIT on Wednesday.
The Cougars (23–10) have played the Gaels (22–10) twice this season, winning one of the two games. That win took place in the Marriott Center, where BYU only lost one game this season. They tied for third place in WCC regular season play.
“I think we (will) be more comfortable playing with them because we’ve played them twice,” BYU coach Jeff Judkins said. “But it doesn’t really make a difference.”
BYU is fresh off of a well-balanced team win against San Diego State on Saturday. Four players scored in double figures, led by junior Kim Beeston’s 17 points.
“We know we can all score,” Beeston said. “It’s a good builder going on into the next game. It just brings confidence and helps everyone know it’s a team game and everyone can score and everyone can step up when needed.”
The first time that these two teams faced off this season, BYU came away victorious. Although both teams had three players in double figures and the Gaels grabbed more rebounds, the Cougars pulled away with a 66–58 victory. A key factor in that game was St. Mary’s 15 turnovers, which resulted in 17 of BYU’s points.
The second meeting took place in Moraga, Calif., the home of St. Mary’s. The Gaels won 64–52 after dominating the boards. One of BYU’s leading scorers, junior Jennifer Hamson, failed to score during that game, something that needs to change if BYU wants to win.
Hamson has been stellar in the postseason. In the first round of the WNIT, she scored a career high 25 points while grabbing 12 rebounds. In the Cougars’ second round victory, she grabbed 17 rebounds and scored 10 points, her second consecutive double-double.
“I think she’s believing in herself more, I think she’s feeling more comfortable,” Judkins said. “She’s a big factor. It’s good to see her play so well.”
BYU and St. Mary’s tip-off at 3 p.m. MST in the Marriott Center on Wednesday. The game will air on BYUtv.