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BYU women's basketball: Play host to Pepperdine in WNIT

PROVO — March Madness is on its way to Provo via the WNIT. The BYU Cougars' second-place finish in the Mountain West Conference landed them a berth into the postseason tournament and a chance to host the first-round game with Pepperdine tonight at 7 p.m. at the Marriott Center.

The Cougars stand at 20-9 this season, and they're taking on the Waves, who have compiled a 20-11 record overall and an 8-6 record on the road. The Cougars are looking forward to playing against another up-tempo team as both schools like to press and run.

BYU coach Jeff Judkins believes the game will be closely matched and fun to watch, but his team hasn't actually played the Waves for almost 27 years since winning by 20 points in 1983.

The Cougars do have a bit of an inside track into figuring out the Waves, however, as BYU guard Mindy Bonham played with Pepperdine's T'Keyah Shealy at Regis Jesuit High School in Denver for two years.

The all-time series stands 1-1, so not only will this be a single-elimination game for chance at the second round of the WNIT, it's also the rubber match between the two schools.

Both teams have played and defeated both San Diego State and Utah State. BYU defeated Utah State in their only meeting and holds a 1-2 record against the Aztecs.

Post player Miranda Ayim leads the Waves in scoring with 14.8 points per game, and Bonham leads a balanced Cougar team with 11.3 points per game.

The Waves finished third in the WCC and lost to first-place Gonzaga in the WCC tournament.

The Cougars last competed in the postseason WNIT in 2005, when they lost to Gonzaga in the first round. This is the fifth time they've been invited to the WNIT, and they have compiled a 3-4 record in their four previous appearances.

e-mail: jolsen@desnews.com