PROVO — Led by three Cougars in double figures, the BYU women’s basketball team defeated Western Oregon 90-61 in an exhibition game Thursday night at the Marriott Center.
“We came out in the second half and executed a lot better,” BYU head coach Judd Judkins said. “We did what we’ve been practicing the last couples of weeks. We let it come to us better. “
Freshman guard Lexi Eaton, who hails from Springville, led all Cougar scorers with 14 points and two assists. Veterans senior Haley Hall Steed and sophomore Kim Parker each contributed 11 in the win. Steed and Parker dished out six and five assists, respectively.
In her first appearance since Feb. 2, 2010, junior forward Alexis Kaufusi, who has battled Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, scored down nine points.
“I do have some really talented freshmen and I think they’re going to do good,” Judkins said.
Five Utah standouts join the BYU program in the 2011-12 campaign, all of whom displayed their talent in the Marriot Center Thursday.
“It was nice to get everyone in the game,” Judkins said. “We didn’t play our best tonight, but we played good enough to win. Defensively it was hard because they didn’t have any bigs to post up. Our two bigs had a hard time adjusting to that because they aren’t use to it. That’s why we play these games, to get used to different things.“
BYU kicked off play with back-to-back baskets by senior forward Dani Peterson and Eaton to take an early 4-0 lead. Not to be outdone, Western Oregon answered with five straight points of its own, taking a 5-4 lead.
After exchanging back-and-forth baskets, the Cougars put up three baskets to take secure a 20-15 advantage. Freshman guard Stephanie Rovetti’s basket would be the last for over two minutes of play until Western Oregon’s Elise Miller drained a 3-pointer to bring the margin to two.
Eaton fueled a 12-4 run for the Cougars, capped off by a last-second basket by Parker to stretch BYU’s lead to 11, the biggest lead of the half. BYU entered halftime up 40-29.
BYU took off after halftime, going on a 14-5 run that was kicked off by a Parker basket.
Western Oregon brought the score within eight in the initial minutes of the second half but was unable to close the gap on the Cougars.
A free throw by Peterson led way to a 13-0 run to give BYU a 31-point advantage with 10:21 remaining. Kaufusi contributed seven points to the run.
The Cougars next gear up for their final exhibition game against Dixie State today at 4 p.m.. The game will be broadcast live on BYUtv.
The 2011-12 season officially gets under way next Friday when the Cougars host ACC powerhouse Duke in a 7 p.m. tip off.
Whitney Brooks works in BYU Athletic Communications as the tennis sports information director. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.