The BYU women’s basketball team held its Blue and White Scrimmage on Oct. 17. Even though the season is still a few weeks away, the players gave fans several reasons to be excited about the new year.
“We have a lot of freshmen, a lot of new people,” said Cassie Broadhead Devashrayee, last year’s West Coast Conference Player of the Year. “Of course it’s going to take time to mesh, but what I really loved is everyone competed really hard.”
With six freshmen and only two seniors, the words “new” and “young” accurately describe this year’s squad.
Coach Jeff Judkins was quick to praise the new players, as well as share his excitement over some of the additions.
“I saw a lot of good things with some of my young kids,” Judkins said after the scrimmage. “I have a lot of good shooters, and I can really push the ball with different people.”
Graduate transfer Malia Nawahine is one such shooter. She went a perfect 5-for-5 from the three-point line in the first half of the scrimmage.
“She shot the lights out tonight,” Judkins said. “I think with her and Cassie, those two are so smart and understand what’s going on.”
Judkins mentioned that guard Brenna Chase was a pleasant surprise in the scrimmage. She played nearly the entire game, switching teams, and running the offense on both.
Freshman Sara Hamson, a 6-foot-7-inch center from Pleasant Grove High School, will take much of the interior and rebounding load, after losing star forward Kalani Purcell last year.
“I think it’s going to be done more by committee than by one person,” Judkins said. “I think Sara did a good job rebounding today and so did a couple other of my bigs.”
Devashrayee said everyone competes, even if they don’t know everything about Judkins’ system.
“I think that’s a really good sign, especially when we go through the season,” Devashrayee said. “We have hard times, but no one’s going to give up.”
Both Judkins and Devashrayee expressed excitement over the deep roster — something that will help them in conference and tournament play.
“We want to win the tournament, and we want to win the conference,” Devashrayee said. “Those are our two main goals because we believe we’re good enough.”
Judkins echoed the belief that his team can compete with the best in the conference, namely Gonzaga and Saint Mary’s — teams he believes his Cougars will “match up very well with.”
“Last year was definitely a disappointment, so we’re trying to build and improve and get to the NCAA tournament,” Devashrayee said.
Besting their conference rivals and winning the WCC tournament will be the Cougars’ first test. If they succeed, they will come up against the best in the nation come March.
BYU looks to prove themselves early on with an exhibition game on Nov. 2 at 7 p.m. MDT in the Marriott Center against Colorado Mesa University.
The Cougars start their 2017-2018 season on Nov. 10 against Southern Utah University at 7 p.m MDT, also in the Marriott Center.