I thought tonight — our three bigs — that was probably their best performance together, all of them, together. I think that’s a real positive thing. —BYU head coach Jeff Judkins
PROVO — A 35-point win over anyone can lead a coach to be downright effusive with praise for his team, and such was the case of BYU women's basketball coach Jeff Judkins following his team's 78-43 blowout over Pepperdine on Thursday.
From the outset the Cougars were dialed in, with Judkins taking time to lend credit to just about everyone short of those serving refreshments or the people performing the chicken dance on the court between the third and fourth quarters.
“I thought tonight — defensively — we were really sharp tonight, especially early,” Judkins said. “...I thought tonight — our three bigs — that was probably their best performance together, all of them, together. I think that’s a real positive thing.”
Judkins was careful to heap a lot of the praise on the bench players who don't always see a lot of minutes. These pointed out included players such as Liz Eaton, who scored 10 points, Paisley Johnson, who has made solid contributions most games this season, and Shalae Salmon, who managed eight points, nine rebounds and three blocked shots in her 30 minutes of play.
Salmon was one of the three post players referred to by Judkins, along with starters Sara Hamson, who had 12 rebounds and Amanda Wayment, who not only scored 11 points, but also got the team off to a quick 10-0 lead.
"The first play we ran was for her, and she gets a layup, and then she comes back and gets another layup just by cutting to the basket," Judkins said. "She was really active tonight and I challenged her."
The challenge was based on helping shut down Pepperdine's Yasmine Robinson-Bacote, who is a tough defensive assignment, according to Judkins.
"He told me he wanted me to stop her...so I came out focused on my defense and the offense just came naturally," Wayment said. "I was more aggressive tonight."
BYU set off to a big 23-7 lead after one quarter and didn't let its foot off the gas for the rest of the game, increasing the lead to 39-17 at the half and 61-30 after three. A lot of the work was done by the bench players, who made certain not to let up when given their chance to lead the production on both sides of the court.
"I was happy for our younger girls — that they were able to get some time. But not only to get some time, but to play well and increase the lead," said BYU guard Cassie Devashrayee, who normally plays all 40 minutes, but only played 25 in the win, while scoring a game-high 19 points. "I think it's good for their confidence and it's good for gaining trust."
With the win BYU improves to 15-11 overall and 10-5 in West Coast Conference play. Next up for the Cougars are two more home games, against San Diego on Saturday and Portland the following Thursday.