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Stifling defense and balanced scoring pushed the BYU women’s basketball team past San Diego State in the second round of the WNIT at the Marriott Center on Saturday by a score of 69-58.
The Cougars (23–10) played one of their most complete games on Saturday as they led the Aztecs (27–7) in rebounds, assists, blocks and shooting percentage.
“This was one of our best games of the year I thought overall, defensively (and) offensively, against a very good team,” BYU coach Jeff Judkins said. “I’ve told my players all year the key to winning games, down to the end of a game, is who makes the big plays…. Tonight seemed like those guys took it hard. They made some plays tonight that we haven’t seen in a while.”
BYU was once again able to return to the balanced scoring that was successful earlier in the season. Four players from the starting line-up scored in double figures, led by junior Kim Beeston with 17 points. BYU has not had four players score in double figures since playing against Portland on March 2.
“It gives people confidence,” Beeston said. “We know we can all score. We had good motion, and because of that I think a lot of people had a lot of opportunities to score… It just brings confidence and helps everyone know it’s a team game and everyone can score and everyone can step up when needed.”
Both teams were sluggish in the first half. Only one player had reached double figures in scoring, SDSU guard Chelsea Hopkins. However, BYU was able to pick it up in the second half, shooting 50 percent while keeping SDSU to only 30.8 percent shooting.
The Cougars made only two three-pointers in the first half, but they were able to go 6–12 in the second half. A key player from beyond the arc in this game was junior Stephanie Seaborn. She made three treys, all in the second half.
“For us, a three is a momentum builder,” Steed said. “I think that there were several times in that game where we needed one and we were able to hit those shots.”
One category that SDSU had the advantage in was turnovers. BYU turned the ball over 18 times, six more than SDSU. The Cougars had three turnovers in the last two minutes alone, resulting in the Aztecs scoring baskets and cutting a 10 point lead down to five. Turnovers also led to an SDSU run earlier in the second half.
“What got them back in the game is we had four turnovers out of five possessions,” Judkins said. “When you turn the ball over against a really athletic team, they go down to the other end and you aren’t set up on defense.”
Junior Jennifer Hamson had a huge game for the Cougars. She grabbed a career high 17 rebounds. Along with her 10 points, she earned her second consecutive double-double, her second in a row. She also tied her career high in blocks with five.
“Tonight I thought she caused a lot of problems,” Judkins said. “She got five blocks, but she changed a lot of shots in there. I thought she did a really good job of not letting them (get rebounds.)… She’s a big factor. It’s good to see her playing so well.”
With this win, BYU will move on to the third round of the WNIT. The date, time and location has yet to be released. The Cougars will play the winner of the St. Mary’s and Northern Colorado game.