BYU defeats Portland in last regular season game

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Balanced scoring got the BYU women’s basketball team back on track against Portland with a 73–63 victory on Saturday in the last regular season game.

The Cougars (20–10, 11–5) end their West Coast Conference regular season play with a win on the road after dropping a game to LMU on Thursday. The Pilots (10–20, 5–12) are now on a five-game losing streak after the loss at home.

Keilani Unga dribbles the ball against San Diego earlier this season. (Photo by Elliott Miller)
Keilani Unga dribbles the ball against San Diego earlier this season. (Photo by Elliott Miller)

“The first half we did well, then defensively made some mistakes,” BYU coach Jeff Judkins said. “But I like seeing four players in double figures.”

In BYU’s loss to LMU, only two players scored in double figures. On Saturday, four players scored in double figures. Kim Beeston led all scorers with 17 points. Other players scoring in double figures were Jennifer Hamson, Keilani Unga and Stephanie Seaborn.

“I thought Kim (Beeston) and Steph (Seaborn) came out and looked for their shots and hit them,” Judkins said.

Beeston and Seaborn have both been playing better recently, just in time for the WCC tournament. Against Portland, Beeston shot 50 percent from the field and from beyond the arc, making five three-pointers. Seaborn shot 57.1 percent from the field and made 3–4 treys.

The Cougars had another strong showing from their seniors on Saturday. Unga scored 12 points while grabbing eight rebounds. Haley Steed had a balanced day scoring eight points, grabbing seven rebounds and dishing out eight assists.

Jennifer Hamson scored 14 points, including four key free throws to push the Cougars’ lead in the second half, while leading all players with nine rebounds.

The first half started with BYU going on a few different runs. Portland came back firing with a few runs of their own. The Cougars led by only one point going into halftime with a 34–33 lead over the Pilots.

Portland came out firing in the second half to take the lead, setting the tone for a battle. A three-pointer by Steed sparked a BYU run to take the lead back and never look back. The Pilots came back to be within three points, but the Cougars did not let them get ahead this time. BYU’s stifling defense kept Portland from making big shots to come back, and the Cougars went on to win 73–63.

The Pilots were balanced as well with three players scoring in double figures. Portland player Cassandra Thompson led the team with 12 points.

Next week, BYU will travel to Las Vegas to participate in the WCC tournament starting on Friday in the quarterfinals. Last year, the Cougars took first place, a feat which they hope to accomplish again.

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