#32 Brigham Young Women's Basketball 2014-2015 Preview

Brigham Young Cougars

Overall Rank: #32
Conference Rank: #2 West Coast Conference
#32 BYU Women's Basketball 2014-2015 Preview

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Brigham Young took the women’s college basketball world by storm in the NCAA Tournament last spring, making it all the way to the Sweet 16 as a number 12 seed. They also may have made an even bigger statement about their program in the game that they lost to Connecticut in the Sweet 16 as they gave the Huskies a great battle into the second half before falling short. The key now for the Cougars will be to capitalize on this momentum and push Gonzaga in the West Coast Conference.

2013-14 Record: 28-7, 14-4
2013-14 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Jeff Judkins
Coach Record: 282-133 at Brigham Young,  282-133 overall

Brigham Young was a very balanced offensive team last season that had four players average in double figures scoring wise per game. Junior guard Lexi Eaton is the leading returning scorer at 16.8 points per game and she will be the leader right out of the gate to carry the Cougars offensively. Eaton has a knack for getting to the foul line and be efficient once there, shooting nearly 84 percent from the foul line last season. Morgan Bailey, who is the uncle of Utah Jazz legend Thurl Bailey, averaged just under 11 points per game last season and shot nearly 48 percent from the floor. Bailey also adds the dimension of being able to hit the occasional three point shot as well. In addition, junior guard Kylie Maeda is going to step into even more of a distributor of the basketball as Brigham Young needs to replace 143 assists from the graduated Kim Beeston. Maeda had 112 assists last season and, with increased playing time, should be able to potentially double her assists totals from last season.

It is going to be a bit of a challenge to replace the outstanding shot blocking prowess of Jennifer Hamson and her ability to dominate the paint. The next person up with a shot to take over Hamson is incoming freshman center Savannah Irwin who averaged nearly four blocks per game in her senior year of high school. Also, look for Morgan Bailey to pick up more of the rebounding slack and get her rebounding numbers up over ten per contest. Ashley Garfield will be counted on as well on the glass.The other big point of emphasis will be taking care of the basketball as the Cougars turned the ball over nearly 17 times per game last season. If they can drop number down closer to 13 per game then they will be in great shape.

Final Projection:
The schedule early on should set up nicely for the Cougars to get off to a fast start as the toughest game is on November 29th against Oregon State on a neutral floor in Hawaii. A trip to Salt Lake City to play Colorado State at Energy Solutions Arena could be interesting as well. The West Coast Conference schedule will be highlighted by the home and home with Gonzaga and matchups with St. Mary’s. Brigham Young made a big statement last season by beating the Bulldogs at home 62-52. That win showed that the Cougars were closing the gap a bit on Gonzaga. Overall, this program took a significant step forward in the 2013-14 season and is more than ready to take a run at the Bulldogs in a battle for taking the West Coast Conference title out of Gonzaga’s stranglehold. It won’t be easy, but with three starters back for Coach Jeff Judkins the timing is lining up perfectly for them to do so thisseason.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           
Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA Tournament

Projected Starting Five:
Lexi Eaton, Junior, Guard, 16.8 points per game
Kylie Maeda, Junior, Guard, 4.8 points per game
Ashley Garfield, Senior, Guard, 4.0 points per game
Morgan Bailey, Senior, Forward, 10.7 points per game
Savannah Irwin, Freshman, Center, DNP last season

By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 72.0 (78th in nation, 4th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 64.2 (101, 3)
Field-Goal Percentage: 43.6 (42, 1)
Field-Goal Defense: 35.3 (10, 1)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 6.3 (92, 3)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 35.8 (31, 2)
Free-Throw Percentage: 72.6 (74, 4)
Rebound Margin: 6.0 (38, 4)
Assists Per Game: 16.7 (18, 1)
Turnovers Per Game: 16.4 (212, 8)


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