BYU women survive late run by Portland, hold on to win 75-68

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What was beginning to look like a blowout quickly turned into a nail-biter. However, the Cougars were able to withstand the Pilots’ comeback and secure a 75-68 win.

“In the first half we did a really good job of moving the ball,” BYU women’s basketball head coach Jeff Judkins said. ““We only had six turnovers in the first half. In the second half we came out and had some really good looks, but then we started forcing shots up, getting turnovers and letting them back in the game. Overall, though, I’m proud of this team for digging out a win today.”

Jennifer Hamson cuts through the defense. Photo by Whitnie Soelberg
Jennifer Hamson cuts through the defense. (Photo by Whitnie Soelberg)

The Cougars (14-3, 4-2) rebounded from a tough loss at Gonzaga two days before to come in with guns blazing at the Chiles Center in Portland, Ore. They shot a sizzling 70 percent from beyond the arc in the first half, led by Kim Beeston’s 15 points on 5-8 shooting in the first 20 minutes to push their lead to 43-29 at halftime.

It was senior Jennifer Hamson, though, who was a dominating force for BYU. Hamson recorded her 11th double-double of the season with 21 points and 11 rebounds.

Coming out of the break, Hamson had a layup and made two free throws, which pushed BYU’s lead to a comfortable 18 points. However, Portland then came alive and went on a 14-2 run to make the score 49-43. Minutes later, Portland had cut the deficit to two points, at 56-54.

After both teams fought hard for the last few minutes, sophomore guard Lexi Eaton sealed the victory with two free throws to make the score 75-68. Eaton came through for BYU late in the game to finish with eight points after being held scoreless in the first half.

Junior forward Morgan Bailey came within one point of her career high, finishing with 17 points and nine rebounds. Sophomore Kylie Maeda scored seven points and dished out a team-high seven assists.

The Cougars will be on the road again next week for league play as they travel to San Diego Saturday, Jan. 18, at 2 p.m. PST. The game will be broadcast on BYU Radio.

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