The women’s BYU Basketball team continues to exceed expectations now advancing to the Second Round on the NCAA Tournament.
16-14 with two star seniors graduating and a new class of eight freshmen coming in. That is the scenario that Coach Jeff Judkins was looking at around this point last season as his team was coming off one of the worst seasons in recent history.
365 days later and we are seeing a team that is advancing to the Second Round of the NCAA Tournament following a 73-64 win over the No. 10 seed Auburn.
The beginning of the game saw the Cougars fall behind 11-5 early in the game before a 7-0 run by the Cougars to finish out the first quarter behind good defense and hot shooting by Brenna Chase.
The second quarter saw each team make runs with neither team able to pull ahead by more than five points. A buzzer beater layup by Auburn’s Janiah McKay put the score at 28-26 in favor of the Cougars.
The third quarter was all BYU though. All season, the Cougars have come out of the locker room and this game would be no different. BYU outscored Auburn 23-14 to stretch the lead to 51-39. Despite a tough fourth quarter and pressure by the Tigers, the Cougars were able to hold off Auburn to the final score of 73-64.
Brenna Chase and Shaylee Gonzales led the Cougars offensively scoring 19 and 17 respectively. Sara Hamson continued to protect the defensive paint by pulling down eight rebounds and blocking four shots.
The player of the game however has to go to Caitlyn Alldredge who scored 14 points on 6-10 shooting including 2-3 behind the arc. Coming into the game, Alldredge was averaging only 2.2 points per game. Not only did she score a career high, most of her points came following short runs by Auburn.
The Cougars will face the winner of 2-seed Stanford and 15-seed UC Davis. Stanford beat UC Davis 71-43 early in the season suggesting that it is likely the Cougars will play Stanford in the Second Round. The game will be a home game for the Cardinal and on the season they are 28-4 with losses only Gonzaga, Utah, California and Oregon.
Not only has BYU Basketball surpass expectations, they have shown to in the group of the best teams in the nation. Regardless of what happens in the next round however, this season has been incredible and has shown what great coaching can do with youth and limited experience.