BYU women’s basketball team gears up for great season with an exhibition win

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Natalie Bothwell
Makenzi Morrison Pulsipher drives to the hoop during the exhibition game against Fort Lewis College. Pulsipher is the third leading scorer for this BYU women’s basketball team. (Natalie Bothwell)

The BYU women’s basketball team played their first and only exhibition game tonight to beat Fort Lewis College 77-67 , but more importantly they got the cobwebs out.

Tonight was the Cougars first game playing with the new rules set up by the NCAA for women’s basketball last year. One of the new rules was a change from two 20 minute halfs to four 10 minute quartes. This change is good and breaks up the pace of the game which allows the players to avoid mid-period ruts according to junior guard Makenzie Morrison Pulsipher.

The NCAA also added three new defensive limitations to the rule book that greatly affected the flow of tonight’s game. The new rules state that a defender can no longer keep a hand or forearm on their opponent,  a defender cannot use an arm to impede an opponent’s progress and a defender cannot place two hands on an opponent. The Cougars racked up a total of 25 personal fouls and the Skyhawks weren’t far behind with 18 because of the newness of these limitations.

“They looked like they’d never been coached there for awhile, but I guess thats normal,” head coach Jeff Judkins said.

The game started of very rough for the Cougars and neither team had anything more than a four point lead the entire fist half, but thats what an exhibition game is for according to Judkins. The Cougars looked much more comfortable in the second half and they came out much more aggressive and confident to keep a steady lead over the Skyhawks.

“That’s what those first games are for, you know, we are used to playing against eachother, but now we have to play with each other,” Pulsipher said.

The exhibition game is a chance for the girls to get an actual game under the lights and the Cougars worked well together moving the ball and creating open shots in the second half.  Every single BYU player stepped on the court in during game and it was a great learning opportunity for the girls because Judkins lets them try to figure things out themselves without interfering.

“Of course I would have called some time-outs and I would have called some plays and I would have dictated a lot of that, but In these games you just kind of let them try to figure it out themselves,” Judkins said. “Try and let them go at it and that is what’s the learning part.”

This years team is shaping up to be very different from the team that took the court last season and the main difference is the absence of 6-feet-2-inch forward Morgan Bailey which was felt tonight. The Cougars are now much more of a driving team according to Judkins and the points are going to come from dribbling the ball and not from passing it in. Pulsipher took the opportunity to drive to the hoop many times and almost every time drew a foul call. She shot 10 for 10 from the free throw line and scored 19 points for the Cougars.

“I think this will be a good learning tool for us. This team is a different team. Our personel is a little bit different that last year, we have more depth, but we don’t have a horse in the middle like we had last year,”Judkins said.

The teams goals for the upcoming season are to win the conference title and go deep in the NCAA. Tonight’s exhibition game was a great way to see what areas need improvement and to watch the girls play together to see who clicked. The Cougars will play their first pre-season game against Utah Valley University on Friday, Nov. 13 at the Marriott Center. Don’t miss tip off at 3 p.m. MST.

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