OGDEN — Ending a tough three-game road schedule, the Cougars took down Weber State 84-67 Saturday night on the Wildcats' home court.
"We had a really great defensive effort in the first half," BYU head coach Jeff Judkins said. "When they cut into our lead, we still executed and got what we needed. Our bigs were very active inside and did a nice job for us."
Freshman Lexi Eaton and sophomore Kim Parker led the Cougars with 12 points apiece and Dani Peterson had 11. Haley Steed led the defense with nine defensive rebounds and 10 total. Steed also had five assists. Dual-sport athlete Jennifer Hamson had nine points and seven rebounds following a successful volleyball victory Saturday afternoon, where she totaled 16 kills.
The Cougars shot 48.3 percent and had 16 assists, but got into foul trouble during the game with 17 fouls. They held the Wildcats to 36.8 percent shooting and forced 14 Weber State turnovers.
Two free throws and a quick layup pushed the Cougars to a 4-2 lead to launch the game. After more than two minutes without a basket, Eaton's fast break layup kicked off a 9-2 scoring streak to push BYU's lead to 17-8. With 10:15 left in the first half, Alexis Kaufusi took it to the hoop with the help of Stephanie Rovettito more than double the Wildcats' score at 21-10. The basket was part of an 8-0 Cougar run.
Eaton and Stephanie Vermunt each scored eight points in the first half, helping BYU to a 48-28 lead going into halftime.
BYU stumbled coming out of the locker room, allowing Weber State two 6-2 runs to begin the second half. The Wildcats cut the lead to 52-40. Missed shots plagued the Cougars, allowing the Wildcats to continue chipping away at the BYU lead.
A Parker jump shot started a 10-2 to bring the Cougars back to life, giving them a 12-point lead. BYU fired off 12 points, eight of which came from free throws, to end the game 84-67.
BYU celebrates the Thanksgiving holiday hosting Wisconsin Wednesday at 5 p.m. and Eastern Washington Saturday at 2 p.m. Saturday is Family Day at the Marriott Center, when admission is $10 per family.
UTAH STATE 69, UC IRVINE 64: At Irvine, Calif., with three players scoring in double figures, the Aggies battled to a 69-64 road win against UC Irvine at the Bren Events Centers on Saturday. Senior forward Ashlee Brown led the Aggies (3-1) with 21 points.
Senior guard Brooke Jackson and senior forward Maddy Plunkett both scored 12 points for the Aggies in the win. Brown added 14 rebounds which was just one shy of her career high. Brown brought down 15 rebounds in an overtime win at Northern Arizona last season.
The Anteaters (0-4) were led by 20 points from Jazmyne White, while Methlyn Onogomuho had 11 and Jasmine Bernard added 13.
The 3-1 start is the Aggies best since starting 3-1 during the 2009-10 season.
"Ashlee Brown was great for us today. She helped us with offensive rebounds and from the foul line. She is just working really hard for us. We are just working on getting better around her," USU head coach Raegan Pebley said.
Both teams started slowly with several turnovers in the first four minutes of the game. UC Irvine would jump out to a 7-2 lead before a Brown layup cut the lead to 7-4. The senior scored the first six points of the game for the Aggies, helping cut the lead to 7-6 with 14:30 remaining in the first half.
Brown continued to lead the Aggie offense scoring the first eight points of the game until a layup by Plunkett cut the lead to 12-10 with less than 11 minutes left in the first half. Brown continued to be a one-woman show, scoring 13 of USU's first 15 points.
The Aggies took their first lead of the game on a lay up by sophomore guard Kamie Imai to take a 19-18 lead with 5:12 left in the half. Jackson scored six-straight points on an old-fashioned three-point play followed by a three to tie the score at 25-25 with less than two minutes left in the half.
Turnovers plagued Utah State in the first half with 16 compared to seven by UC Irvine. Despite the turnover problems in the first half, the Aggies would enter the locker room tied with the Anteaters 28-28. Brown would record her third double-double of the season in the first half with 14 points and 10 rebounds in the first 20 minutes. Jackson ended the first half with eight points. UC Irvine was led by eight points from Kiara Belen.
"We do need to cut down on the turnovers. It is the little things that we need to take care of. It is not just one thing. We did face a high-tempo defense with aggressive ball pressure. It is only going to make us better seeing this kind of defense at this point of the season," Pebley said.
Behind three-straight field goals by junior guard Jenna Johnson, USU pulled out to a 37-30 lead early in the second half. After taking as much as a nine-point lead, the Anteaters fought back to cut the lead to 41-40 at the 14:29 mark. Despite getting within one point, the Anteaters would never re-take the lead.
The Aggies opened up a nine-point lead, after two free throws by Imai to go up 54-45. Utah State continued to maintain at least a six-point lead until a jumper by White cut the lead to 61-58 with 2:54 remaining in the game.
Plunkett gave the Aggies a 65-60 lead with a huge basket with less than two minutes remaining in the game to help seal the win for Utah State.
For the game, USU outrebounded UCI 37-31. The Aggies shot 43.4.0 percent from the field (23-of-53) and 25.0 percent from three (1-of-4). Utah State shot 81.5 percent from the free throw line (22-of-27). The Anteaters shot 47.5 percent from the field (28-of-59) and 10.0 percent from three (1-of-10). UCI shot 43.8 from the free throw line (7-of-16). USU made six more free throws than UC Irvine attempted.
Utah State returns home for two games the week of Thanksgiving, taking on Boise State on Wednesday at 7 p.m. On Friday, the Aggies will take on UC Riverside on Friday, Nov. 25 at 7 p.m.
UVU 68, IDAHO STATE 59: At Orem, the Wolverines used a late 14-0 run in their home opener. Junior Sammie Jensen paced the Wolverines, notching her first double-double of the year, while senior Jenna Johnson chipped in 15 points.
"We had to go out and get the game on the defensive end down the stretch," said UVU head women's basketball coach Cathy Nixon. "We got the stops when we needed them and were efficient on the offensive end in that key stretch."
UVU (1-1) utilized two big runs at the tail end of each half to get the victory over the Bengals (2-2). Trailing 21-14 midway through the first half, a pair of Abbie Beutler free throws sparked a 17-7 run to close out the period for the Wolverines. UVU held the Bengals without a field goal for nearly five minutes during the rally, and got solid production from Jensen, who scored six of her eight first-half points on the way to a 31-31 deadlock at halftime. An 18-footer from Johnson even gave UVU a 30-29 lead with 1:04 to play, but a running hook shot by Idaho State's Kaela Oakes leveled the game just seconds before the buzzer.
Sophomore Kim Bell scored six of her eight points in the first half and grabbed five rebounds to keep the game in the balance for the Wolverines. Beutler added five points on 1-of-2 shooting, including a deep, NBA-range three towards the end of the period.
Play remained level out of the halftime break with both teams trading baskets to start the second half. The Wolverines took its largest lead to that point, a 41-35 advantage, after Erika Newbold got a layup off a nice entry-pass from Johnson. The lead was short-lived, though, as the Bengals clawed their way back, eventually jumping ahead 54-53 with just 4:39 to play when Ashleigh Vella put in a layup while being fouled, then converted the free throw to complete a three-point play.
With the game in the balance, UVU's aggressive defense and efficiency at the free throw line sparked a 14-0 run that would put the Wolverines up for good. UVU shot 10-12 from the charity stripe during the rally, while holding the Bengals without a field goal on its way to a 67-54 advantage with just 58 seconds to play and seal the victory.
"We really had to beat Idaho State tonight," said Nixon. "They're a good team and they're aggressive and they're not going to just hand it to you. We had those stretches where we showed the things I believe that we can do, where we got the ball where we wanted it and where the kids played within themselves."
With 19 points and 13 rebounds, Jensen notched her first double-double on the young season. Johnson scored 15 points on 5-for-13 shooting while Newbold had a nice night offensively, scoring 11 points to go along with five rebounds. The Wolverines shot 41.2% on the game while shooting 71.4% from the line.
Jessa Jeppesen, coming off a 29 point performance against Boise State on Thursday night, led the Bengals with 17 points and nine rebounds.
UVU will spend the Thanksgiving holiday on the road, as it will participate in the Hilton Garden Inn Thanksgiving Classic hosted by Northern Arizona University. The Wolverines will play two games in Flagstaff, the first on Wednesday night against host NAU, and the second on Friday against Kent State.
NO. 6 FREED-HARDEMAN 56, NO. 9 WESTMINSTER 41: At Jackson, Tenn., the Griffins were outscored 34-20 in the second half after they were down just 22-21 at halftime at the Jackson Rotary Classic. Westminster took a 23-22 lead on the first possession of the second half before FHU (6-0) used a 13-2 run over the next six minutes to take control of the game. The lead would
eventually reach 16 with the Griffins never getting closer than nine down the stretch.
Tia Pappas was the top scorer for Westminster with nine points off the bench. Pappas was 3-of-3 from the floor and hit on her lone attempt from the beyond the arc. Shelby Ellsworth added eight points and 14 rebounds while Dana Bates had eight points and 10 rebounds. Nicole Yazzie also scored eight points.
Hayley Newby led FHU with 13 points in 32 minutes off the bench. Hannah Parsley and Natalie Shumpert scored 12 points apiece with Shumpert grabbing 11 boards.
Westminster will take the next week off before returning to action on Dec. 1 when they host Holy Names (Calif.) in the Behnken Field House.
DIXIE STATE 92, NEBRASKA KEARNEY 85: At Phoenix, junior guard Erica Hayes scored 10 of her game and career high 27 points in the overtime period to lead the Red Storm at the Grand Canyon Tip-Off Classic.
With the Red Storm (3-1) trailing by three points and needing to go the length of the court in eight seconds, Hayes found freshman Kaylah Miller who hit a three-pointer at the end of regulation to force the overtime period.
Coach Angie Kristensen said, "Kaylah Miller hitting the game tying three was unbelievable for a freshman."
Enter Hayes who would hit four out five shots, two of which were from behind the arc to lead DSC to the victory.
"Eric Hayes played the game of her life. This win showed me that we can come back from adversity and win close games," continued Kristensen.
Early in the game, Nicole Harper would hit on a jumper with 9:42 left in the first half to give the Red Storm a 21-16 advantage.
The Lopers (0-3) and the Red Storm would trade baskets for most of the first half; UNK would take a 41-39 lead into the locker room.
Two Becca Thomas free throws with 9:56 left in the second half tied the game at 57-57. DSC would then go on a 9-0 run to take a 66-57 lead with 7:37 left.
Nebraska Kearney would follow with a 12-2 run to take a 69-68 lead with 4:05 left.
After trading baskets over the next three minutes, Hayes would work her magic again, nailing a three pointer with 43 seconds left to give DSC a 77-76 lead.
For UNK, a Melissa Norman jumper with 32 seconds left gave them a 78-77 lead and Vanessa Leeper Jones hit two free throws with eight seconds left to give them an 80-77 lead and set up the last second effort by the Red Storm.
Thomas had 15 points and seven rebounds and Quorreah Joice added eight points and eight rebounds off the bench. DSC shot 38.5 percent from the field and 37.5 percent from behind the arc.
Leading the Lopers was Leeper Jones's double-double with 13 rebounds and team high 24 points. Debi Johnson scored 23 points and Norman added 10 points and seven rebounds. UNK shot 43.5 percent from the field and 44.4 percent from three-point range.
The Red Storm won the rebound battle 50-44 and forced UNK to commit 30 turnovers despite giving away 25 themselves.
Kristensen concluded, "I was very proud of our team and I'm happy to be 3-1 and coming home to the Burns Arena."
Dixie State will host the Dixie State Thanksgiving Classic on Friday and Saturday at the Burns Arena. Academy of Art, Cal State Los Angeles and Western Oregon join the Red Storm in the two-day tournament. DSC will play Western Oregon on 5 p.m. on Friday and Cal State LA on Saturday at 2 p.m.