BYU women's basketball: Cougars upset No. 15 Gonzaga

By Sugene Lee

For the Deseret News

Published: Saturday, Feb. 15 2014 5:30 p.m. MST

Jennifer Hamson's 18 second-half points led the BYU women’s basketball team to a 62-52 upset over No. 20/15 Gonzaga at the Marriott Center on Saturday.

"Great game tonight," BYU women's basketball coach Jeff Judkins said. "I’m really proud of our team and I thought they played tough tonight like they needed to win a game like this. I thought defensively it was one of our best efforts to really hold this team to 52 points. I think it really shows that these ladies can defend when they want to."

Hamson finished with 20 points, eight rebounds and seven blocks, while Lexi Eaton added a double-double of 15 points and 10 rebounds to go along with three assists.

Bailey made the first points of the game after connecting from beyond the arc for the 3-0 start. Five minutes into the half, Eaton ended Gonzaga’s (23-4, 13-2 WCC) 10-0 run at the charity stripe and got a steal to lay it up at the other end. With 12:14 remaining in the half, BYU (21-5, 11-4 WCC) went on a 6-0 run with two buckets from Bailey and a pair of free throws from Eaton to cut the deficit, 17-13.

After the Bulldogs extended their lead to 10, the Cougars went on an 11-3 run with a Beeston 3-pointer, a Hamson layup and a drive to the rim by Eaton. Stephanie Rovetti’s free throws cut the deficit to two, 29-27, with under three minutes left as part of the run. The Bulldogs led 33-27 at the break with Eaton leading all players with 10 points.

Both teams went without a point for the first 3:20 of the second half until Bailey’s layup cut BYU’s deficit, 33-29. Hamson’s feed to Bailey in the post brought BYU within two with Hamson’s free throws tying it at 36 a piece at the 14:17 mark. Gonzaga retook a six-point lead until Hamson went on a solo 6-0 run, converting on two three-point plays to tie it 44-44.

With less than eight minutes remaining, Hamson’s free throws gave BYU a 46-44 lead, its first since starting 3-0. Bailey’s jumper extended the Cougars’ lead 50-45 and capped the 12-1 run. After the Bulldogs cut BYU’s lead to two, Beeston connected on a 3-pointer to take back the 55-50 lead with 4:06 left. Hamson’s shot off the glass and free throws pushed the lead to 12 to end the game on an 8-2 run.

BYU held Gonzaga to a 15.4 shooting percentage in the second half to give up only 19 points. The Cougars also outscored them in the paint 26-16. With the win, BYU snapped Gonzaga’s 13-game winning streak.

"It was a great atmosphere tonight," Judkins said. "This was one of the first games in a long time that felt like the crowd really helped us."

The Cougars will hit the road to take on Pepperdine on Thursday at 7 p.m. PST.

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