BYU women

BYU women's basketball makes 2014 NCAA tourney as No. 12 seed

2014-03-17T18:15:00Z 2014-03-17T20:29:48Z BYU women's basketball makes 2014 NCAA tourney as No. 12 seedJared Lloyd - Daily Herald Daily Herald
March 17, 2014 6:15 pm  • 

For the second straight day, a BYU basketball team was waiting to hear it's name called as an at-large team to the NCAA tournament.

Sunday it was the Cougar men, who found out they had been awarded a No. 10 seed and would have a rematch with Oregon in the first round.

Monday it was the BYU women's turn.

Once again, the Cougars got an invitation but the final seeding might've been lower than they expected.

BYU ended up as the No. 12 seed in the Lincoln Region, setting up a matchup against No. 5-seed North Carolina State.

"We would've liked to have been higher but we'll take it," Cougar junior guard Lexi Eaton said. "We're just happy to go Dancing."

That game will take place at 4:30 p.m. MDT in Los Angeles with the winner advancing to play the winner of the Nebraska-Fresno State game.

BYU head coach Jeff Judkins said his Cougars are glad to have a chance to show what they can do.

“We’re really excited for the opportunity to play in the NCAA tournament,” he said. “It’s hard to be in a small conference and get an at-large bid. It takes a lot of special nights and you have to be steady. I’m really proud of how our team has played.”

After finishing the year 26-6, BYU might've gotten a higher seed but ended up as one of the final teams in the field.

ESPN's Charlie Creme, who projects the women's field just like Joe Lunardi does for the men, had the Cougars as a No. 9 seed in the Stanford Region facing Georgia in Los Angeles.

“I thought we’d be higher,” Judkins said. “But it doesn’t make any difference. It’s more about who you match up with and what the style of basketball is.”

This year it didn't take long for BYU to come up on the board as their opening-round contest was one of the first announced.

“I was shocked,” Cougar senior guard Kim Beeston said. “It was nice not having to wait. I’ve been there one other time and it was really special. It’s great to be one of the top 64 teams.”

Eaton remembered being one of the final ones listed a couple of years ago and said it was very different this year.

When asked which way they preferred, forward Morgan Bailey said, "Either, just as long as we are in."

The selection came up so quickly that Cougar senior center Jennifer Hamson didn't get a chance to be there for it, since she had a class.

Still, she said this is where she wanted to be as she winds down her college basketball career.

"It means a lot to be here," Hamson said. "As a senior this year, I don't know whether I'll play any more basketball. This is my last push but this is a great to make that push with. I'm excited."

The BYU players said they haven't seen the Wolfpack play and so don't yet know what to expect, but Eaton added they are confident the coaching staff will have them ready to go.

“I’ve seen NC State play once,” Judkins said. “I’ve heard they have two good bigs inside. We’ll watch a lot of film tonight and tomorrow.”

Judkins and Beeston said they hope the location helps out the Cougars, since not only is BYU much closer to Los Angeles than North Carolina but there are a sizeable number of Cougar supporters in southern California.

“It’s not a long trip,” Judkins said. “Hopefully we’ll get a lot of BYU fans to the game. We want to come out and play our best basketball.”

Judkins emphasized that this Cougar squad is in no way satisfied to have just reached the Big Dance.

“We want to be at our best,” he said. “This is a good opponent and great matchup, but we want to come out and do what we do best.”

The BYU first round contest will be on ESPN2 at 4:30 p.m. on Saturday.

Daily Herald sports editor Jared Lloyd can be reached at 801-344-2555 or jlloyd@heraldextra.com. Twitter: @JaredrLloyd. Instagram: @JaredrLloyd.

jared-lloyd
-- Daily Herald sports editor Jared Lloyd is also the beat writer for the BYU football team, the columnist for the Cougar men’s basketball team and covers a variety of Utah Valley high school athletics. You can connect with him by email at jlloyd@heraldextra.com or by following him on Twitter at

Read more from  Jared Lloyd here.

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