Calvert ready to step into new role for BYU women’s basketball
Emma Calvert’s impressive high school pedigree created large expectations for her BYU career.
The time has come for Calvert to step forward.
“I hope to be a leader on the court this year,” Calvert said. “I just hope I can contribute the best I can. I’ve tried to get my defense better, my scoring, all of it, just working on my game. I’m the tallest player on the team this year so because I can shoot and Lauren (Gustin) can post up, she’s really amazing, hopefully we can draw out the defense.”
The 6-foot-4 sophomore was one of the most decorated Utah prep basketball players of the past decade. Calvert was rated a four-star recruit by ESPN and named the 2021 Utah Gatorade Player of the Year. As a four-year starter, she helped lead Fremont High School to 6A state titles in 2018 and 2021. In her junior year, Calvert set a state record by making 66 percent of her field goals. She scored more than 1,600 points in her career before committing to Jeff Judkins and the BYU women’s basketball program.
Playing on a roster dominated by upperclassmen as a freshman in 2021-22, Calvert played just under ten minutes a game for a team that finished 26-4 and earned an NCAA Tournament berth. She averaged 4.6 points per game while shooting nearly 50 percent from the field, with a high of 13 points against Santa Clara in February.
“Emma is huge for us as a knock-down shooter as far as three points go,” new BYU coach Amber Whiting said. “She’ll be able to stretch the floor with pick and pops. I think her and Lauren together playing off each other, that’ll be really nice. And being a guard, having her behind you, other teams can’t sit in the paint and that will open up driving lanes, the whole nine yards. I think she’s done a really, really good job of that. We just need to keep her healthy.”
Judkins’ unexpected retirement last spring was a big adjustment for the players still in the program. Whiting coached Calvert during her AAU days, so that made the transition a bit smoother.
“I just know how Amber coaches and I love her as a person,” Calvert said. “I know her philosophies and her knowledge of the game is just so great. Even when she’s critiquing you or telling you how to do a different drill or something like that, you can just tell she knows what’s going on. She has a vision for how we’re supposed to be playing.”
Calvert said she is benefiting from working with new assistant coach Morgan Bailey, a former WCC Player of the Year during her career at BYU.
“It’s been really awesome,” Calvert said. “I’ve been doing individuals with her. Just having her be a mentor and showing me some new things has been great. She showed me a couple of new moves. So I’ve been working with her and just getting better at my moves.”
The Cougars lost four seniors from last year’s team and junior Shaylee Gonzalez transferred to Texas, so Whiting takes over a team with a lot of new parts.
“I think all the girls are 100 percent bought in,” Calvert said. “We all made goals a little while ago as a team and we all had kind of the same vision for what we wanted for the year. I think everyone’s ready to work hard and ready to give it everything.
“We have a lot of room to grow. I think a lot of teams will underestimate what we can do which also might be a plus because we can just come into it fired up and if they’re not ready, then that’s too bad.”
The Cougars have Midnight Madness on Thursday night at the Marriott Center then open with a home exhibition game against Westminster on October 27. The season opener is on the road at Colorado State on Nov. 8.