BYU basketball: Hamson's 27 points helps Cougars beat Portland

By Royce Hinton

For the Deseret News

Published: Thursday, Feb. 13 2014 11:36 p.m. MST

Riding Jennifer Hamson’s fifth straight double-double, BYU women’s basketball overcame a slow start to dominate Portland, 67-43, in West Coast Conference action Thursday at the Marriott Center.

The Cougars (20-5, 10-4 WCC) overcame cold shooting start to take control of the game, outscoring the Pilots (14-11, 7-7 WCC), 41-20, in the second half.

"I'm happy with tonight's win even though we didn't play our best offensive game,” BYU head coach Jeff Judkins said. “We didn't shoot the ball very well, especially in the first half. But when you have a player like Jen, who can score for you, it really made a big difference tonight. Both she and Lexi (Eaton) really stepped it up again. That's three or four games they've really looked to score for us."

Hamson led all scorers with 27 points on 9-of-14 shooting while cleaning up the boards with 13 rebounds. Sophomore Lexi Eaton helped BYU take over the game with 22 points and five rebounds of her own.

Morgan Bailey and Ashley Garfield also added 10 and seven boards, respectively, as the Cougars out-rebounded their opponents, 48-37.

Three minutes into the game, Hamson broke open the scoring, sinking a short jumper and then a right hook off the glass.

At 7:41 left in the half, Portland led 11-8 with both teams shooting under 20 percent from the field.

BYU then turned up the offensive production with the inside play of Hamson and the guard play of Eaton. With the Pilots leading 16-14, Hamson had 10 of BYU’s points. Eaton then scored the next eight of the following 12 points for BYU to end the half with the lead, 26-23.

The Cougars began the second half by breaking the game open, stringing together a 24-9 run. Eaton picked up where she left off as she added 12 points, including two 3-pointers and a 3-point play. Point guard Kylie Maeda also found the bottom of the net with two consecutive layups.

With 7:41 left in the game, BYU stretched the lead to 20 over Portland on a Stephanie Rovetti layup.

The Pilots then scored seven points to cut the BYU lead to 56-41 before Hamson answered with the finish as she cut to the hoop. The Cougars maintained the double-digit lead for the remainder of the game.

BYU stays home for a showdown with first-place Gonzaga on Saturday at 2 p.m., and it will be televised on BYUtv. The Bulldogs are ranked 15th nationally.

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

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