A dynamic second half led the BYU women’s basketball team to a 65–42 victory over Santa Clara on Thursday night in the Marriott Center.
With this win, the Cougars (17–7, 7–3) get back on the winning track in the West Coast Conference by completing a regular season sweep of the Broncos (13–12, 5–7).
“Well, it wasn’t a pretty game, but we got it done,” BYU coach Jeff Judkins said. “It was a good win.”
The Cougars were led by junior Jennifer Hamson who scored 12 points and grabbed a career-high 16 rebounds, eight of which were on the offensive end. This is her third double-double of the season.
“It was good to see (Hamson) a little more aggressive tonight,” Judkins said. “I thought she did a really good job. She was more active tonight. That’s what she has to be.”
Early on in the second half, Hamson had a hard fall and came out of the game for a few minutes. It turned out to just be a rolled ankle and she came back in to continue dominating on both sides of the court.
“A lot of it was at that time the team was playing tougher than I was,” Hamson said of her first half struggles. “I just needed to bring it more and be tougher and grab those rebounds… That’s where I get my aggression in offense. It’s really important to me and to my team.”
Guard Haley Steed also contributed a double-double of her own. She scored 10 points and dished out 10 assists.
Both teams started off slow in the first half. Neither team seemed to be able to get into a rhythm. BYU had 10 turnovers and Santa Clara had eight. The half ended with BYU leading 19–14. The Broncos’ 14 points is the lowest score of any of the Cougars’ opponents in the first half.
The second half was a completely different game for BYU. The Cougars scored 13 points in the first five minutes. Six points and six rebounds from Hamson sparked the Cougars into more intense defense and offense. After making only a single three-pointer in the first half, BYU drained five shots from beyond the arc in the second half.
“We got the ball inside a lot better (in the second half),” Judkins said. “I thought we did a better job of moving the ball. I think also when we had some open looks we hit them. We just seemed to be more aggressive offensively the second half, and I think that made a difference.”
Balanced scoring continues to benefit the Cougars. BYU’s bench outscored Santa Clara’s bench 26–11. Along with Hamson and Steed, Ashley Garfield also scored in double figures with 10 points coming off the bench.
BYU’s defense stifled Santa Clara’s offense. The Cougars held the Broncos to 24.6 percent shooting. BYU shot 43.9 percent. Only one Santa Clara player scored in double figures. Nici Gilday scored 10 points.
BYU sported pink socks, pink warm-ups, and pink painted nails during the game to support breast cancer. The players and coaches also wore a patch with “JM” on it, a tribute to former BYU sports broadcaster Jay Monsen who passed away on Sunday.
The Cougars play again on the road against Pepperdine on Saturday.