Ravell Call, Deseret News
Jennifer Hamson, left, and Kim Parker Beeston of Brigham Young defend against Haiden Palmer of Gonzaga during the West Coast Conference women's basketball tournament in Las Vegas, Saturday, March 9, 2013.

BYU women’s basketball overcame a 15-point deficit behind Jennifer Hamson and Kylie Maeda to beat the Colorado Mesa University Mavericks, 70-66, on Friday at the Marriott Center in the first of two exhibition games.

“We struggled early tonight trying to get a rhythm,” head coach Jeff Judkins said. “That team runs their stuff really well. We got beat defensively by not being in the right place in the right time. In the second half we played a lot better and did a better job defensively.”

Hamson tied a career-high with 25 points, 15 in the second half, and had 13 rebounds to lead the Cougars. Maeda had 11 points, and the duo combined to score six straight buckets for the Cougars during the decisive stretch late in the second half.

Down by as many as 15 points in the first half, the Cougars took their first lead of the game at 57-55 when Hamson put back an offensive rebound with just less than seven minutes left in the game. The teams traded baskets and were tied at 63 when Maeda sank a three from the left wing with 1:54 left. On the next BYU possession, Kristine Fuller hit a 3-pointer as the shot clock ran down to extend the lead to 69-63 with 54 seconds left. A free throw by Lexi Eaton and a late three from Sharay Selsor provided the final margin.

Kim Beeston hit a three on the Cougars’ first possession of the second half, but the Mavericks immediately went on a 7-0 run to push the lead back up to 13 at 44-31, forcing a BYU timeout. The Cougars went on an 18-5 run highlighted by seven straight points from Hamson to tie the game at 49 with just over 10 minutes left.

The Cougars fell behind early, allowing the Mavericks to score the game’s first six points. BYU’s struggles continued as Colorado Mesa used a 14-2 run led by Selsor’s seven points to take a 23-11 lead midway through the first half. Ashley Garfield’s putback sparked an 8-2 run to end that half and get the Cougars back to within nine at 37-28. The Cougars shot 28 percent from the field in the half and failed to make a 3-pointer in seven attempts.

The Mavericks, coming off a 31-2 season and a Division II Elite Eight appearance, were led by Selsor’s 24 points and five rebounds. Forward Aubry Boehme had 18 points and six rebounds.

The Cougars return to action on Saturday, Nov. 2 at 3 p.m. MST, against the Westminster Griffins at the Marriott Center. The game is free to the public.

Justin Green is the sports information director over men's track and cross country for BYU Athletic Communications. He is a BYU student majoring in public relations and minoring in business and will graduate in April 2013. Email: justinjgreen8@gmail.