SALT LAKE CITY — Women’s college basketball is thriving in the beehive state as both BYU and Utah are set to compete in the 2022 NCAA Women’s Division I Basketball Tournament.
Selected as a No. 7 seed, the Utes (20-11) are coming off an impressive run in the Pac-12 Tournament, losing only to the No. 2 ranked team in the country, the Stanford Cardinal in the Conference finals.
“I’m incredibly proud of this team, and this game doesn’t define our season,” Utah head coach Lynne Roberts said. “I’m disappointed we lost, but our season’s not over.”
While Utah certainly has some talented veteran players, it was freshmen Gianna Kneepkens and Jenna Johnson who led the red-hot Utes to the programs first-ever Pac-12 Championship appearance. The two were consistent sources of offense and together, averaged 27 points per game(40% of the teams points per game average of 66).
The Utes will face the No. 10 Arkansas Razorbacks (18-13) in Austin, Texas, in the first round of the 2022 NCAA tournament on Friday, March 18.
The game is set to tip at 3:30 p.m. MT and will be aired on ESPNews.
Selected as a No. 6 seed, the Cougars (26-3) experienced a surprising upset against No. 2 seed Gonzaga in the West Coast Conference Tournament final, losing 71-59. However, with notable victories against several other tournament teams, including Florida State, Utah, Washington State and Gonzaga earlier in the year, BYU is one of the most dangerous teams in the tournament.
The Cougars also have the WCC player of the year in guard Shaylee Gonzalez, who averaged 18.7 PPG, 5.9 RPG and 4.3 APG. With an ability to create havoc all over the court, Gonzalez poses as a major threat to any opponent who steps on the floor.
BYU will face No. 11 Villanova (23-8) in Ann Arbor, Michigan, in the first round of the 2022 NCAA tournament on Saturday, March 19.
“When you get into the tournament it’s not really so much about where you are seeded but the matchup,” BYU head coach Jeff Judkins said. “I know a little bit about Villanova and they are a good team that controls the ball and really works at it. It will be a big challenge for us but I am excited. I think we are in a bracket where we can do some damage if we play our game.”
The game is set to tip at 11:00 a.m MT and will be aired on ESPNews.