The No. 19 BYU women’s basketball team won its regular-season finale over Pacific 82-52 to claim the West Coast Conference regular-season championship on Saturday afternoon.
“I knew this team had a chance to be one of the best we’ve had at BYU,” head coach Jeff Judkins said. “A lot of players have sacrificed to get here and now they have the chance to do something special. We still have a lot of work to do, but I couldn’t be more proud of the hard work they’ve put in this year. .
The victory marked BYU’s second WCC championship (25-2, 15-1) and his fifth championship title under Judkins. The Cougars finished first in the WCC in 2015-16.
BYU will also be the No. 1 seed at next week’s WCC tournament in Las Vegas and will play in the semifinals on Monday.
Four players scored in double figures, led by Shaylee Gonzales’ 18 points. Paisley Harding scored 14 points, Tegan Graham made four 3-pointers for 12 points and Lauren Gustin added her 14th double-double of the season with 11 points and 13 rebounds.
Gonzales added eight rebounds, four steals and three assists while Graham led the Cougars with five assists and Maria Albiero added four.
BYU opened the game on an 11-0 run and never really looked back. The Cougars had five steals and cashed in throughout the first quarter with quick buckets, ending the quarter with a Graham three-pointer for a 23-9 lead after the first 10 minutes.
The second quarter began similarly to the first, with an 11-0 BYU run before Pacific broke the run with a triple. BYU responded with its own trey from Graham and a jumper from Gonzales to stay ahead 39-14 with three minutes left before halftime.
Arielle Mackey-Williams got some first-half action off the bench and knocked down a three-pointer and a transition layup and another runner at the buzzer for seven points and a 50-20 halftime lead .
BYU kept running in the second half but the Tigers kept the pace after six minutes. Gonzales sank two more giveaways and Lauren Gustin released for an easy layup to make it 65-30 with less than four minutes to go until the fourth.
In control, the Cougars got the future of the program plenty of minutes in the fourth quarter with Rose Bubakar, Emma Calvert, Kate Vorwaller, Devry Millett and Mackey-Williams all getting extended minutes.
BYU will be awaiting its game for the West Coast Conference Tournament next week. The Cougars will be the No. 1 seed overall and will play Monday after a double bye to the semifinals.
BYU baseball sweeps the state of Arizona
After coming from behind to win the first two games of the ASU series, BYU scored early and often on Saturday for a 19-3 victory and a series sweep at Phoenix Municipal Stadium.
“What I liked the most today was that we were ready to play,” BYU head coach Mike Littlewood said. “We had great hits throughout the game and chained up a lot of hits. On the pitching side, Nate Dahle gave us three great innings and Ryan Brady came in and did an amazing job for over three innings. This team has great chemistry and they play for each other. It was a great team effort this week.
The Cougars improve to 5-2 this season and have won five straight, including four in a row this week against Ohio State and Arizona State. BYU has also won the last six games against ASU since May 2011.
“We accomplished something historic this weekend,” said Littlewood. “We came to the state of Arizona, a national baseball powerhouse, and swept them on their home turf. It’s quite a special achievement.
The track wraps up the indoor season
BYU track and field athletes wrapped up the final push to the indoor nationals as the team’s February home meet wrapped up at Smith Fieldhouse on Saturday.
The BYU men combined to record five first-place finishes on Saturday, highlighted by thrilling finishes in the pole vault and 800m.
Caleb Witsken, returning from the All-American first team, headed into Saturday’s game hovering on the National Qualifying bubble with a tie for the 13th best clearance in the country. Witsken clearly surpassed that mark with a personal best 5.55m / 18-2.5, good for No. 3 all-time at BYU.
According to the most recent rankings from the USTFCCCCA, that clears South Dakota’s Eerik Haamer Witsken for No. 7 nationally and likely punches his ticket to Birmingham.
“Our jump group had a really good weekend,” said BYU athletics director Ed Eyestone. “Caleb is in a strong position to go score points at Nationals and it was exceptional to see Cailee (Faulkner) set that school record on Friday and put herself in a position to compete at Nationals as a rookie.”
Gymnastics wins Utah State meet
The No. 12 BYU emerged victorious in a triple encounter against No. 14 Utah State and No. 23 Towson University at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum on Friday night.
The Cougars scored a 196.575 to earn wins over the Aggies (196.225) and Tigers (195.600).
“Utah State is a great team and we’re looking forward to an incredible MRGC championship after these incredible performances,” head coach Guard Young said. “Utah State really pushed us and the girls had a great meeting with great performances.”