By Alex Hoeft
If there was ever a night for the female Cougars to play a good basketball game, Thursday night was the night.
The BYU women’s basketball team pulled out a win against undefeated University of Arizona 82-73 — the second victory for the Cougars in the Hukilau Invitational taking place this week in Laie, Hawaii.
The biggest contributions came from junior Kim Parker who, according to BYU coach Jeff Judkins, had the game of her life. Parker scored a career-high 25 points, had four rebounds and six assists.
Three other Cougars scored double-digits during the Arizona game: Kristen Riley with 15, Jennifer Hamson with 12 and Haley Steed with 10. Riley also had 12 rebounds, resulting in her first double-double of the season.
By halftime, the deal was sealed for the Cougars, as they headed into the locker room with a 38-33 lead.
With 38 seconds left on the clock in the second half, Wildcat Candice Warthen hit a 3-pointer that put Arizona within three points of BYU, but three separate Wildcat fouls put BYU to the charity stripe and finished the game with a Cougar win.
Despite the win, Judkins only had respectful things to say concerning the Wildcats.
“Arizona is a very, very good team,” Judkins said. “They’re very athletic, and I think they have a pro on that team in Davellyn Whyte. In the last four minutes she brought them back into the game.”
Arizona’s Whyte lead her team with 19 points, while Shanita Arnold and Erica Barnes were not far behind, contributing 16 and 17 points respectively.
Arizona head coach Niya Butts said last night’s game was poorly played for the Wildcats.
“We didn’t do a very good job executing our game plan defensively and you have to give credit to BYU,” Butts said. “They really shot the ball well, and I think this is the best they’ve shot all season.”
Both teams totaled 35 rebounds, but BYU lead in 3-pointers, shooting 11-21 to Arizona’s 6-16, and field goals, making 48.4 percent to the Wildcats’ 45.8 percent.
Even though the Cougars have had two consecutive wins in this year’s invitational and continue their all-time winning streak in the Hukilau games, they have yet to face the undefeated Syracuse University, which takes place Saturday.
“Against Syracuse, I think we need to execute and play great team ball like tonight,” Parker said. “This game was huge for us — a confidence builder and team builder. If we work on those two things, I think we’ll be successful Saturday.”
The final invitational game against Syracuse takes place Saturday at 4 p.m. MST.