A strong second half and a flurry of three-pointers propelled the BYU women’s basketball team to a 67–44 road win over Pepperdine on Saturday.
“I liked our defense in the second half,” BYU coach Jeff Judkins said. “I thought our defensive intensity was better in the second half. I think we’re playing a lot better than we have been. A lot of players have stepped up.”
With this victory, BYU (18–7, 9–3) is tied for second place in the West Coast Conference with St. Mary’s. Pepperdine (4–19, 1–11) increased its losing streak to 10 in a row after this loss at home.
The first half saw the score tied four times and the lead changed once. After Pepperdine jumped to an early 6–1 lead over BYU, the Cougars stormed back. The two teams battled back and forth until BYU finally grabbed the lead. The Cougars led 25–24 at the end of the first half.
The Cougars came out in the second half firing on all cylinders despite shooting 0–10 from beyond the arc in the first half. BYU drilled eight three-pointers, including five by Kim Beeston. Beeston has been struggling to find her stroke in the past few games, but she caught fire against Pepperdine. She led all scorers with 16 points. BYU shot 60.7 percent and scored 42 points in the second half.
“This season we’ve been a second half team,” Beeston said. “He just told us to come out and play like we know how to. We were playing timid. Judd challenged us to keep shooting, and we did and ended up with a better second half.”
BYU’s defense also improved in the second half. The Cougars held the Waves to only 19.4 percent shooting in the second half (26.6 percent overall). Pepperdine forward Kelsey Brockway was the only player on her team to score in double figures with 10 points. BYU also had five blocks, three from Jennifer Hamson.
The Cougars continue to show how balanced the team is with four of the players scoring in double figures. Along with Beeston, Hamson, Keilani Unga and Morgan Bailey all scored in double figures.
The balanced effort from BYU was not only in scoring on Saturday. Unga, Beeston and Hamson all grabbed nine rebounds, almost giving all of them double-doubles. The Cougars outrebounded the Waves 49–31.
“I think we’re playing a lot better than we have been,” Judkins said. “Players have been playing more comfortably.”
The Cougars return home this week for two WCC match-ups on Thursday and Saturday at home where they are 12–0 this season.