By Hillary Wallace
A second half spurt helped the BYU women”s basketball team to a 61-46 win over San Diego State on Thursday Jan. 23 as BYU increases its record to 3-0 in conference play.
“We took San Diego State out of their play with our defense,” coach Jeff Judkins said.
Judkins said he was pleased with the performance of his players. He said defense in the second half was a key to stopping San Diego from getting open looks.
All-American guard Erin Thorn led BYU with 20 points, hitting 3-of-7 three-pointers and grabbing four rebounds. Thorn shot 7-of-12 from the field against San Diego State.
Freshman forward Ambrosia Anderson added a career-high 12 points for the Cougars, going 5-of-5 from the field and hitting both free throws. She added six back-to-back points, boosting BYU”s lead going into halftime.
“Ambrosia had a good game and hit some big shots for us,” Judkins said.
In a low-scoring first half, BYU made a 10-2 run with just a few minutes left before halftime, increasing the Cougars” lead to nine.
Defense for both teams played a major role in the 26-17 score at halftime.
“We played good team defense,” Thorn said. “The game plan was to shut down their scorers, and I think we did it.”
San Diego”s leading scorer, Jamey Cox, only hit 1-of-7 from the field and the rest of her points came from free throws. Cox averages 14.9 points a game, but she only had seven points against the Cougars.
“We did a good job of covering Cox, double teaming her and not letting her get open shots,” Judkins said.
In the first ten minutes of the game, BYU led 10-7 with key blocked shots from senior forwards Lisa Hansen and Jennifer Leitner.
Coming into the second half, Thorn nailed her second three-pointer of the game, adding momentum to BYU”s offensive charge.
Sophomore forward Danielle Cheesman added another shot behind the arc, and Anderson followed with two points in the key.
The Cougars then went on to a 9-0 run, increasing their lead to 20 points, the highest of the game.
San Diego applied full-court pressure to BYU”s guards, but with Leitner”s ball-handling skills, the press did not seem to have any effect.
Fouls late in the second half aided San Diego”s run, cutting the Cougars” lead to only nine with four minutes to go. Thorn then took over BYU”s offense with a set of shots inside in the arc and two free throws, adding to the final lead of the game.
BYU”s three-point percentage proved to be a factor over the Aztecs as the Cougars connected for six for the game. San Diego State, led by Veronica Shaw with 14 points, made all of its points inside the key.
BYU travels next to UNLV on Saturday and looks for another conference win.
“San Diego State put a lot of pressure on us and UNLV is a similar team,” Judkins said. “This game will help us for Saturday.”