After a lopsided first half the Cougars poured it on the Jackrabbits in their season opener with a final score of 81-53.
For much of the first half the game was very close between the Cougars and the Jackrabbits, but that all changed when Jen Hamson found Kim Beeston wide open for an easy three. This was the turning point in the game and propelled the Cougars into a 9-0 run, giving the team a 33-19 lead.
“In the beginning, I shot three and the first three I didn’t hit but they still felt good,” Beeston said. “Judd talked to me and said, ‘You gotta hit those,’ and just knowing that they were collapsing in a little bit in on our bigs, I knew that I would have wide open shots.”
Hamson was unstoppable in the first half, and she finished the half with 13 points, 5 rebounds and 2 blocks.
“I think that Jen started the game off really intimidating by blocking some shots,” said head coach Jeff Judkins.
The Cougars finished the half shooting 48 percent from the field and were 4-11 from behind the arch. The Jackrabbits struggled to shoot the ball well and shot 25 percent from the field. At half-time, the Cougars entered the locker room with a 41-28 lead.
In the second half, the Cougars continued to dominate South Dakota State, and with just under eight minutes left in the game, they lead by 32 points.
Beeston was a monster beyond the arch and hit a career-high six 3’s in the game. She ended the night with 18 points, 5 assists and 3 steals.
Four players for the team finished with double digits. Lexi Eaton and Beeston had 18 points each, and Hamson and Morgan Bailey finished with 13.
The Cougars are proving that they are going to be a very tough team to play against this season.
“This was one of the best games I’ve seen one of my teams play in a long time,” said Judkins. “I thought the defensive effort was great tonight, and I really thought offensively we got excellent balance with outside shots to inside presence, to getting to the foul line. If our team plays like this, we’re hard to stop.”
The Cougars next game will be on the road when they will play UNLV at 4:00 p.m. on Nov. 12.