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BYU Women Will Make Big 12 Tournament Debut Against Kansas

Mar 7, 2024, 8:01 PM

BYU women’s basketball is the highest-rated newcomer in the Big 12 this season. The only problem is that the three other newcomers finished in the bottom four of the league.

BYU finished in 10th place in the league standings with a 6-12 record.

BYU women’s basketball takes on Kansas in the Big 12 Tournament

But all of that goes out the door in postseason play.

“I told the girls, 0-0,” said BYU head coach Amber Whiting. “This is what March Madness is for; this is why we build and play and do this all year long.”

BYU, who is 16-15 overall, needs to win the automatic bid from the Big 12 Tournament to earn a spot in the 2024 Women’s NCAA Tournament. Unless the WBIT or WNIT come calling, it’s a win-or-go-home spot for the Cougars at the T-Mobile Center in Kansas City.

BYU’s first opponent in their debut Big 12 Tournament appearance is against the hometown 7-seed Kansas. The Cougars have faced the Jayhawks two previous times this season. Kansas won both games.

Is the third time the charm for BYU?

“We have to go in having a game plan,” Whiting said. “We can’t just think, ‘Oh, they beat us twice. Now it’s our turn.’ That doesn’t work and that’s not how it always goes. So, just game plan-wise, we need to make sure we’re executing. Then also, across the board, taking pride in one-on-one defense so that we can handle what’s going to be thrown at us by them.”

Pair of First-Team All-Big 12 players in this matchup

BYU will look to slow down heralded Kansas freshman S’Mya Nichols. The former five-star recruit earned First Team All-Big 12 honors this season. In Kansas’ win over BYU in Lawrence on January 31, Nichols had 17 points, four rebounds, and two assists.

But in the matchup in Provo, Nichols was held to a season-low five points against BYU.

 

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BYU’s squad also boasts a first-team All-Big 12 player: forward Lauren Gustin. The 6-foot-1 post player leads the country in rebounding.

Amber Whiting would love for BYU to make a postseason run for Gustin and fellow senior Kaylee Smiler as they near the finish line of their college careers.

“It would mean everything,” Whiting said. “The senior night we had here, the girls played really hard for them because they wanted it. They want their first Big 12 Tourney win. That’s where we want to come together to do that.”

BYU women’s basketball vs. Kansas

2024 Big 12 Women’s Basketball Tournament Second Round

Date: Friday, March 8, 2024

Location: T-Mobile Center (Kansas City, Missouri)

Tip: 4:30 p.m. (MT)/5:30 p.m. (CT)

TV: Big 12 Now on ESPN+

Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for KSLsports.com and hosts the Cougar Tracks Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and Cougar Sports Saturday (12–3 p.m.) on KSL Newsradio. Follow Mitch’s coverage of BYU in the Big 12 Conference on X: @Mitch_Harper.

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BYU Women Will Make Big 12 Tournament Debut Against Kansas