BYU women's basketball holds on against Arizona, 82-73

By Rachel Hawks

For the Deseret News

Published: Friday, Dec. 2 2011 11:00 a.m. MST

LAIE, Hawai — Senior Kristen Riley and redshirt sophomore Kim Parker led the BYU women’s basketball team to a 82-73 victory over Arizona Thursday at the Hukilau Invitational.

The Cougars (6-2) look to continue their undefeated history in the Hukilau Invitational Saturday as they take on Syracuse.

“Arizona is a very, very good team,” BYU head coachJeff Judkins said. “They’re very athletic and I think they have a pro on that team in Davellyn Whyte. In the last four minutes she brought them back into the game. I think Parker had the game of her life. Her experience helped with all that pressure. Our bigs were very physical tonight and I think our bench came in and gave us a good lift.”

With the win, Judkins is now 12-7 against Pac-12 teams.

Parker led the game with a career-high 25 points and Riley backed her up with 15 points. Riley picked up her first double-double of the season and the fifth of her career with 12 rebounds. She and Parker also dished out six assists to lead the Cougars. Jennifer Hamson reached double figures with 12 points, her third of the season, and Haley Steed was the fourth Cougar in double figures with 10.

Parker and Riley stayed hot from behind the arc throughout the game with Parker totaling a career-high four 3-pointers and Riley setting a new career-high with three.

BYU shot 48 percent from the field and 52.4 percent from the three-point line in hitting 11 threes. The team had 27 assists, a season-high, and held strong on defense, forcing 21 turnovers and recording in nine steals.

“It was a great team win,” Parker said. “Everyone stepped up. Against Syracuse, I think we need to execute and play great team ball like tonight. This game was huge for us, a confidence builder and team builder. If we work on those two things, I think we’ll be successful Saturday.”

Arizona (5-1) took the lead on a three-pointer to start the game. Dani Peterson kicked the Cougars into gear with two jumpers for BYU’s first four points. Parker tied the game at 7-7 with the team’s first three-pointer and kept the score tied on another jump shot with 14 minutes left on the clock.

Hamson grabbed a 10-9 lead for the Cougars on free throws and a Steed trey put the Cougars ahead 13-9. Freshman Lexi Eaton’s lay-up gave BYU a 19-13 lead, the largest lead to that point.

The Cougars and Wildcats exchanged quick baskets before a 7-0 Arizona run, including buckets from Erica Barnes and Layana White, cut the deficit to 25-24.

Riley pushed BYU ahead on back-to-back three-pointers as they sped toward halftime, draining her second three-pointer to keep the seven-point BYU lead.

In the final minute of the first half, free throws put Arizona within two points of BYU, but yet another Cougar three-pointer, this time from Peterson, gave BYU a 38-33 going into the locker room.

Thirty seconds after a Parker three, Riley hit her third three-pointer of the game to take the score to 44-37 before a quick layup in transition by Barnes pushed Arizona within three points.

Candice Warthen forced a turnover on Steed and drew the foul as she went in for the layup, resulting in two foul shots to again bring the Wildcats within one at 46-45 with 15:50 remaining. Steed took the lead back to six points on her second three of the game for a score of 51-45.

BYU kept the lead despite a few close calls, with Stephanie Vermunt securing the largest lead of the game, 66-56, on a three-point bucket. After passing the four-minute mark, Parker launched another three-pointer for a 12-point lead

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