The BYU women’s basketball team has followed up a disappointing season last year with an extremely strong start to the 2013–14 season. Seven games into their season, the Cougars boast a spotless record and feel they can make a special run.
“We have a lot of weapons this year,” said Lexi Eaton, sophomore guard. “We have great guards and great inside presence. Just that balance makes it really hard for other teams to guard us. We’re all focused on the same things this year. We’re all looking toward the big picture in making the NCAA tournament and being able to make some noise.”
With two big wins over Washington State and Boston College, the Cougars are proving they can hang with marquee programs.
“It’s been a great start. It’s what we needed to do,” said junior guard Ashley Garfield. “We needed to take care of business in these early games. I think the cool thing about this team is we realize how special we can be and so we’re not satisfied with where we’re at.”
The Cougars are currently unranked in the polls. However, that doesn’t mean other teams aren’t noticing what they’re doing. In Monday’s AP poll, the Cougars received several votes. If the team remains undefeated, it will likely be moving into the Top 25 within a couple of weeks.
“People are starting to notice us,” said head coach Jeff Judkins. “You can tell when you go on the road. The team knows that it’s a big game and it’s not just another game. Hopefully we can keep it up. If we can go undefeated in our non-conference games then that would be a great help to our program.”
Being undefeated can bring other teams’ best game, however.
“We found out the other night that we have a bullseye on our backs,” Judkins said. “When you’re undefeated it’s a great motivation for the opposing opponent to really try and play their best.”
Senior captain Jennifer Hamson has been a major contributor to the Cougars’ early success. Hamson has recorded four double-doubles in just seven contests. Earlier this year, she made the decision to focus only on playing basketball instead of splitting time with volleyball.
“At first I was really nervous about the decision ’cause it’s kind of a big commitment,” said Hamson, who is enjoying her strongest season by a wide margin. “But it’s helped out so much with basketball, and it’s been great.”