BYU basketball: Hamson leads Cougars past Pilots

By Royce Hinton

For the Deseret News

Published: Saturday, Jan. 11 2014 5:47 p.m. MST

Senior Jennifer Hamson led BYU women’s basketball to a 75-68 win over Portland on Saturday on the road at the Chiles Center.

“In the first half we did a really good job of moving the ball,” BYU head coach Jeff Judkins said. “We only had six turnovers in the first half. In the second half we came out and had some really good looks, but then we started forcing shots up, getting turnovers and letting them back in the game. Overall, though, I'm proud of this team for digging out a win today.”

Hamson gave the Cougars her 11th double-double of the year from 21 points and 11 rebounds. Morgan Bailey was close to a double-double, getting 17 points and nine rebounds. Kylie Maeda led the team in assists by tying her career-high seven. Kim Beeston had 15 points for BYU, all coming in the first half from 3-pointers.

BYU (14-3, 4-2) finished the game shooting 48 percent from the field compared to 44 for Portland (9-7, 2-3). The Cougars outrebounded the Pilots, 37-27, and had more assists, 18-14.

Bailey gave the Cougars their first four points of the game after a bucket and a pair of free throws. Hamson followed with six points of her own to give BYU a 10-8 advantage. Bailey and Hamson combined to give the Cougars their first 14 points of the game.

The Pilots struggled with turnovers early in the game, getting four within the first three minutes of play.

BYU shot 6-of-8 from the 3-point line early on in the first half to give the Cougars a 36-27 lead. Portland also shot well from 3-point land in the first 20 minutes, hitting 4-of-4 from beyond the arc.

Kim Beeston gave BYU its largest lead of the half at 43-29 from her fifth 3-pointer to lead all scorers with 15 at halftime.

Hamson started the second half with two blocks, a layup and a pair of free throws to put the Cougars ahead by 18 at 47-29.

The Pilots followed Hamson’s outing with a 14-2 run of their own to cut BYU’s lead to six at 49-43. Following that sequence, Portland hit two consecutive 3-pointers to cut it's deficit to just two at 56-54 and force a BYU timeout.

Lexi Eaton helped the Cougars claw back to a double-digit lead by getting her first points from a 3-pointer as the shot clock expired, capping off an 8-0 BYU run at 64-54.

Both teams played hard in the closing minutes of the game, but it was the Cougars who came out on top, 75-68.

BYU stays on the road next week as it travels to San Diego on Saturday to face the Toreros. The game begins at 2 p.m. PST. Links to live stats can be found on the BYU women’s basketball schedule page.

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

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