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BYU basketball: Cougars host Utah State on Saturday

By Royce Hinton

For the Deseret News

Published: Wednesday, Dec. 18 2013 12:47 p.m. MST

BYU women’s basketball dropped its first game of the season, 74-82, in double overtime against Utah. The loss leaves the Cougars tied for their best start in program history at 9-1.

BYU returns to the Marriott Center to play the last of its three in-state rivals. The Cougars host the Utah State Aggies on Saturday, Dec. 21 at 2 p.m. MST. The game will air live on BYUtv.

BYU has three players scoring in double figures, led by Jennifer Hamson who is scoring 18.0 points per game and has scored in double digits in all but one game played. Lexi Eaton follows with 16.9 points per game, and Kim Beeston contributes 11.6 points.

As a team, the Cougar women are averaging 73.3 points per game and holding opponents to 66 points. BYU has recorded more blocks than opponents in all games and has dished out more assists in nine of the 10 games played to date. The Cougars have also recorded more rebounds in seven of their contests.

In the coaches’ preseason poll, BYU was picked to finish fourth in the WCC regular season race behind San Diego, Saint Mary’s and league-favorite Gonzaga. Senior center Hamson was named to the preseason all-conference team, her second such honor.

About Utah State

The Aggies are 5-3 on the season and have played their last three games on the road. They are at UC Santa Barbara before traveling to Provo for Saturday’s matchup.

Three players are scoring in double digits for Utah State, and as a team it's scoring 83.4 points per game and holding opponents to 71.5 points. The team returns six letterwinners including three starters.

Last year, Utah State compiled an 18-14 record, finishing second in the Western Athletic Conference before competing in the Women’s Basketball Invitational.

The Aggies, who are entering their first season in the Mountain West Conference, were picked to finish sixth in the MWC Women’s Basketball Preseason Poll.

These two in-state foes played last season in Provo on Dec. 4, 2012. In that contest, Haley Steed recorded her first double-double of the season, scoring a season-high 22 points and tying a season high with 12 assists to lead the Cougars to an 81-77 victory. The Cougars rode a hot-shooting night from 3-point land to build a large lead in the second half and then held on for the win.

BYU outrebounded Utah State, 40-28, but the Aggies recorded more steals, 15-7. The Cougars also shot 44 percent from the field compared with 48 percent for USU.

BYU leads the series with Utah State, 31-3. When playing in Provo, the Aggies are 1-15.

Up next

BYU stays at home to start conference games, playing its first four WCC games in the Marriott Center. The Cougars will first take on Loyola Marymount on Saturday, Dec. 28 at 2 p.m. MST. They will then face Pepperdine two days later on Monday, Dec. 30 at 5 p.m. MST.

The following week BYU will play host to league newcomer Pacific on Thursday, Jan. 2, and then rival Saint Mary’s on Saturday, Jan. 4.

Royce Hinton is the women's volleyball sports information director for BYU Athletic Communications.

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