PROVO — BYU head coach Jeff Judkins became the all-time winningest coach in BYU women's basketball history, picking up his 220th career win as the Cougars defeated Pepperdine, 80-56, Thursday at the Marriott Center.
Judkins passed former BYU coach Courtney Leishman (1977-89) for the record and is now 220-111 (.665) in his 11th season as head coach of the Cougars. Leishman finished at BYU with a 219-124 (.638) record.
"This milestone means I've had great players," Judkins said. "You can't make chicken salad without chicken. I've had great assistant coaches who work hard and believe in me. It's gone by fast and winning makes me happy so I've had some good nights. I'm happy to be doing something I've wanted my whole life and to be good at it helps in having success. I'm very excited about where this program is going."
BYU, winner of 14 of its last 15 games, improved to 15-3 and 4-1 in the West Coast Conference as Pepperdine fell to 8-8, 3-2.
BYU senior Haley Steed set a career high with 14 assists, collecting her third career double-double with 11 points in addition to four steals and three rebounds.
"They're (Pepperdine) really fast and quick in every position," Judkins said. "They're really good at spreading you out and I thought we did a good job early but we got tired. We haven't zoned much but I think we probably played more zone tonight than I have in two years. I thought Haley had a stellar night. Their game was to pressure her and she still had 14 assists tonight. You can't coach that, you can't coach toughness."
Freshman guard Lexi Eaton had a team-high 15 points, to go with three steals, two blocks and a career-best seven boards.
Tied 15-15 early, an initial 9-0 run helped BYU jump out to an early 24-15 lead behind strong play by Steed. After a steal and jumper in transition, Steed assisted on two-straight 3-point baskets first by Stephanie Vermunt and then by Eaton.
The Cougars went into halftime up by 10 points, 37-27, thanks to Eaton's hot hand. The freshman netted nine of BYU's last 16 points before halftime over the final seven minutes of the first period.
The Cougars turned to center Jennifer Hamson off the bench in the second half, using the sophomore to bury the Waves with a 13-2 run to take a decisive 58-38 lead with 12:16 remaining. Hamson scored the first nine points of the run on layups and BYU held Pepperdine to a single field goal over the final nine minutes for the victory.
"I try to take the challenges he (Coach Judkins) gives me to heart and then my teammates are good and give me good passes," Hamson said. "My teammates are really good at being aggressive and they find me down low. We always try to push the advantages that we have and we had that tonight so it worked for us."
Hamson finished with 13 points and five blocks in 19 minutes of play and was joined by Vermunt's 12 points on 3-for-3 shooting from beyond the arc in giving the Cougar bench a 30-4 margin over their Pepperdine counterparts.
BYU plays San Diego at Jenny Craig Pavilion on Saturday at 3 p.m. The game will be broadcast on BYU Radio.
UTAH STATE 74, NEW MEXICO STATE 56: At Las Cruces, N.M., with four players scoring in double digits, the Aggies (10-5, 1-0) captured their fifth-straight win with a 74-56 win against New Mexico State (3-13, 0-1) in USU's Western Athletic Conference opener. USU is now 4-3 in WAC openers, winning its last three. Utah State is also now 2-1 in WAC road openers.
With 13 second-half points, senior guard Brooke Jackson led all scorers with 18 total points, while senior forward Ashlee Brown scored 15 points. Senior forward Maddy Plunkett added 13 points, while junior guard Devyn Christensen sunk 12 points. Sophomore guard Jennifer Schlott made the most of her minutes with five assists in five minutes of action. The five assists tied a career high for Schlott.
New Mexico State was led by 12 points from both Kelsie Rozendaal and Jasmine Rutledge. The Aggie defense held NMSU's leading scorer, Tabytha Wampler, to only five points. Camila Rosen registered a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds. The maroon Aggies won the battle of the board by slightly outrebounding USU 30-28.
Early on it was New Mexico State controlling the boards with an early 6-3 advantage through the first six minutes of the game. Despite the rebounding discrepancy early on, USU jumped out to a 16-13 lead. Utah State would never trail from that point on.
After Brown's first basket with 9:27 left in the first half, Utah State opened up a 20-15 lead. Plunkett's second three of the half gave the blue Aggies a 28-19 advantage with 6:44 remaining in the first stanza. Utah State took its first double-digit lead of the game, 31-19, after yet another trey by Plunkett.
A 6-0 run near the end of the half gave Utah State an 11-point lead. A three by Jackson with six seconds left in the half gave Utah State its biggest lead of the half, 40-28, which is how the half would end.
In the first 20 minutes, Plunkett led all scorers with 13 points, including going 3-for-3 from beyond the arc. Christensen added seven points with Brown scoring six. USU had eight first-half assists, including four from Schlott.
New Mexico State was led by eight points from Rozendaal. NMSU won the battle of the boards in the first stanza, out-rebounding USU 17-12.
Both teams started the second half a little turnover prone, but USU fought through taking a 47-32 lead with 15:28 left in the game.
New Mexico State used timely shooting to cut the lead to 47-37 with 12:14 remaining before a Brown old-fashioned three-point play put USU back up 50-37. New Mexico State wasn't done though, using four quick points from Rosen to cut the lead to 54-44 with 9:18 left. NMSU would get no closer from that point on as Utah State put the game away for good.
With less than three minutes remaining in the game, a three by Jackson gave USU its then-biggest led of the game 17 points, 71-54. The Aggies would top that, taking a 74-54 lead with 1:13 remaining.
USU ended the game 30-of-55 (54.5 percent) from the floor. The Aggies were 6-of-13 from three-point range (46.2 percent), while shooting 8-of-11 (72.7 percent) from the charity stripe. New Mexico State was 22-of-50 (44.0 percent) from the field, making 2-of-11 threes (18.2 percent). NMSU was 10-of-15 (66.7 percent) from the free-throw line.
Utah State concludes the road trip at Louisiana Tech on Saturday, Jan. 14 at 5 p.m.
MONTANA STATE 64, WEBER STATE 61: At Bozeman, Mont., fueled by a 19-point, nine-rebound effort from junior forward Amanda Hughes, the Wildcats staged their most complete road effort of the season against Montana State, but came up just short, falling 64-61 to the Bobcats at Worthington Arena.
Hughes hit 5-of-9 from the field and was 9-of-12 from the free throw line, and also had two steals.
"We're getting close. We are clawing our way there," Weber State coach Bethann Ord said. "This was our most complete effort on the road so far this year. We need to keep working hard and pushing, and it is inevitable that success will come."
Senior center Mikell Woodfield added 12 points and six rebounds for the Wildcats, while sophomore point guard Justine Johnson had 11 points, six rebounds, five steals and four assists as she celebrated her 20th birthday.
Junior forward Shawnte Taylor added nine points and five points for Weber State off the bench.
Trailing by 10 points, 54-44, with 10:48 remaining, the Wildcats chipped away at the deficit over the final pulling within two on a Hughes free throw with 37 seconds left.
The Bobcats hit 2-of-4 free throws to push it back to four points, but Laura Palmere's put-back with two seconds left cut it back to two points, and a missed free throw by Ashley Albert gave the Wildcats a final attempt to tie it, but they were unable to get a final shot off before the buzzer.
Weber State remains on the road, heading to Missoula, Mont., to take on the University of Montana at 2 p.m. on Saturday at Dahlberg Arena.
WESTMINSTER 60, CARROLL 52: At Salt Lake City, Cydney Tibbitts produced 24 points and 10 rebounds for her third straight double-double as the Griffins (10-6, 3-0) held off Carroll (7-8, 0-2). Amy Krommenhoek added a career-high 13 points off the bench.