BYU looking to make magic in the Big 12 tournament

At the start of the season, BYU women’s basketball was picked to finish 11th out of 14 in the Big 12. To say the Cougars entered the season with a chip on their shoulder would be an understatement.

“After we played a pretty bad game, I came into the locker room and I wrote ’11’ on the board,” recalled head coach, Amber Whiting. “That’s where you were picked to finish.”

Ultimately, the Cougars overcame those preseason predictions and were able to finish 10th in the conference as a first-year member, finishing above Texas Tech, Houston, Cincinnati, and UCF.

However, the Cougars aren’t done yet.

Big 12 tournament outlook

The first round of the Big 12 tournament pits BYU against the Kansas Jayhawks, who have already taken down the Cougars twice this season, Friday at 4:30 p.m. Mountain Time.

In the first matchup between BYU and Kansas, a bat on the court delayed the matchup for a time before Kailey Woolston went to work. The impressive freshman guard put up 26 points with 6 three-pointers. Despite the heroic effort, the Cougars came up short in a 14-point defeat.

The second matchup featured a hard-fought contest that included 10 ties and 18 lead changes. Despite the loss, senior forward Lauren Gustin put up a career-high 33 points and added 18 rebounds to attribute to the all-time performance.

Eyeing an upset

Lauren Gustin fights for a rebound vs Texas

If BYU wants to move on in the Big 12 tournament and keep its NCAA tournament hopes alive, the Cougars will have to upset the seven-seeded Jayhawks and then win the rematch of their season finale setback against former Cougar Shaylee Gonzales and the second-seeded Texas Longhorns.

“We’ve got to go pull the upset. Playing with that fight in them helps them [the team] play better,” said Amber Whiting.

The Cougars are no stranger to upsets this season. While they only managed to pull off one ranked upset this season when they beat No. 18 Baylor, BYU was close to pulling off miracles against several ranked foes.

One in particular came against fourth-ranked Kansas State, which at that point in the season had only one loss to the Iowa Hawkeyes, led by world-famous Caitlin Clark. BYU fought hard to keep the game close and held a one-point lead with 37 seconds remaining. However, the Wildcats were able to get to the free-throw line six times over the last 37 seconds and came away with a two-point win over the Cougars.

Matchup with the Jayhawks

The old saying is that “Its hard to beat a team three times.”

BYU is hoping that this statement holds true for Friday’s battle with Kansas. Getting a win will be difficult for the Cougars as the Jayhawks are on a three-game win streak including two wins over ranked opponents in Kansas State and top-seed Oklahoma.

“Everybody’s got to be playing their best basketball,” said Amber Whiting when previewing the Jayhawks. “We’ve also got to play together. You have to have each other’s backs.”

The Cougars will be looking to effectively execute on both the offense and defensive ends against a Kansas team that has proven it can win big games and has hit their stride as the season has come to a close.

The battle between these two talented teams can be streamed on ESPN+.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Top Sports Stories

Life as a True Freshman in Division 1 College Football: Tre Alexander lll

Life as a True Freshman in Division 1 College Football: Tre Alexander lllChaotic. Sloppy. Intense.These are the first words that come to mind if...

A look back at BYU’s first year in the Big 12

A look back at BYU's first year in the Big 12Sept. 10, 2021, is a day that BYU fans will remember forever. The atmosphere...

Slow and steady wins the race: Lucas Bons’ climb to become one of the top milers in the country

Slow and steady wins the race: Lucas Bons’ climb to become one of the top milers in the countryKelly Clarkson famously sings, “What doesn’t...

Former BYU Cougar Daniel Schneemann shines in MLB debut

Former BYU Cougar Daniel Schneemann shines in MLB debutIt's been a long time coming for 27 year old rookie, and former BYU star, Daniel...
- Advertisement -
Print Friendly, PDF & Email