PROVO — BYU women’s basketball coach Jeff Judkins is happy that the NCAA has announced a Nov. 25 tipoff date for the start of the season.

“It’s about time,” Judkins said. “We’ve been hearing about this the whole summer and it’s been difficult. What’s going to happen? When’s the season going to start?” 

The Cougars will play only seven preseason games, including a Thanksgiving tournament in Irvine, California. BYU has lost three preseason games from its schedule already. 

“When we heard that the Pac-12 was not going to do anything until Jan. 1, we have three games scheduled with Pac-12 opponents and that concerned us,” Judkins said. “Now, I still don’t know. We talked to Utah today and they don’t know what they’re going to be doing. Hopefully we’ll get some answers with that. It gives us a good start of what we need to do and where we need to be.”

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Judkins said his team is in a strong position because of the Marriott Center Annex, which the players have been using for months for practice and training. 

“For us, we’ve been really fortunate because we have this annex. We can lock it down and kind of be in a bubble. We have good opportunities to do more things than other programs probably.” — BYU coach Jeff Judkins

“For us, we’ve been really fortunate because we have this annex,” he said. “We can lock it down and kind of be in a bubble. We have good opportunities to do more things than other programs probably.”

Judkins has assembled an impressive roster, including returning players like center Sara Hamson and guards Paisley Johnson Harding and Shaylee Gonzales. Gonzales was the West Coast Conference Newcomer of the Year in 2018-19. 

More than a year ago, Gonzales suffered a knee injury that sidelined her for the 2019-20 campaign. 

“Losing Shaylee would be like the Utah Jazz losing Donovan Mitchell,” Judkins said. “We’re a totally different team when she’s on the floor. She can do so many things to help everybody else.”