The BYU women’s basketball won two of its three games last week in Hawaii at the Tom Weston Invitational. This week the team looks to keep things moving in a winning direction. Here are five things to know for this Thursday’s game against UNLV.
1. BYU had an impressive run in Hawaii last week, while UNLV looked rough.
The Cougars have won three of their last four match ups, including big wins against Nevada and Butler. UNLV has not had the same luck, dropping three of its four against Missouri, Hawaii and South Dakota State (who beat the Cougars earlier this season). Both teams will be looking to rebound after losses and will look to start the week on a winning note.
2. BYU will need strong guard and post defense to beat the Rebels.
The Rebels have two experienced seniors in guard Danielle Miller and forward Alana Cesarz. In the post, Cesarz has averaged almost 17 points per game, pulling down seven rebounds per contest as well. BYU senior Morgan Bailey will be counted on to lock Cesarz down in the post. BYU guards Kylie Maeda and Makenzi Morrison will have their work cut out for them in guarding Miller, who is leading a tough UNLV squad with 21.3 points per game. If BYU wants to win this game, it will need to play lock-down defense at guard and at forward.
3. UNLV likes to score but doesn’t play a whole lot of defense.
The Runnin’ Rebels are averaging 74.7 points per game this season. And while UNLV knows how to put the ball in the basket, it also gives up a lot of points on the other end. Opponents are averaging 73.7 points per contest when facing off against the Rebels, just one point less than the team is scoring. BYU will need to run and gun and shoot the three at a high percentage to have a chance at a win.
4. BYU will need to up the rebound total if it wants a chance to win.
The Cougars are averaging about 36 rebounds per game through the first six games of the season. UNLV has averaged well above that in 43 per outing. BYU will need to box out on the offensive and defensive glass to win a match up against a squad that only gives up about 39 rebounds each game. BYU’s Bailey has been playing at a high level of intensity and will need to continue that intensity on the glass with the help of Xojian Harry, Lexi Eaton and Ashley Garfield, two scrappy players who always find a way to get boards on both ends.
5. Thursday’s game will take place in the Smith Fieldhouse
Due to “Christmas Around the World” being held in the Marriott Center, the Cougars will play in the Smith Fieldhouse on Thursday. The game starts at 7 p.m. and will be broadcast on BYUtv and BYU Radio. Fans should get to the Fieldhouse early and expect a packed house.