The Cougars stormed the court after beating Nebraska 80-76, a win that will take them to the Sweet 16 in the NCAA women’s tournament.
“It’s indescribable,” said senior Jennifer Hamson. “So many emotions flow through me. We played so well together.”
This is the first time since 2002 that the women’s basketball team has made it to the Sweet 16.
For the first half of the game BYU dominated in the lead by 17 points, outscoring the Huskers 23-10 and keeping them at 33 percent shooting. BYU extended that lead to 37-20, shooting 60 percent by the end of the first half.
Junior Morgan Bailey worked her way down, tossing in baby hook shots, tying her career high with 18 points.
“That’s my money move; that’s what I love to do is the baby hook,” Bailey said. “Last game it kind of got taken away from me, so I’m glad it was there.”
Nebraska started the second half on a good foot, coming out on a 20-10 run and bringing the Cougars’ lead to only one point, 51-50. The score remained neck-and-neck until junior Xojian Harry came in with three consecutive 3-pointers. After a basket from Eaton and another three from Harry, BYU steadily increased its lead with a 69-57 score.
The Huskers’ Tear’a Laudermill rallied Nebraska with 12 consecutive points with only 3 1/2 minutes left in the game, pulling Nebraska up within three points of BYU again. Hamson scored BYU’s final five points, ending the game with the final score of 80-76.
“I told them we waited so long, let’s give our best shot,” said head coach Jeff Judkins. “Let’s take it. Let’s don’t give into them.”
Despite playing with a dislocated middle finger on her left hand, Hamson scored 15 points and pulled down 14 rebounds. Sophomore Lexi Eaton added another 15 points, and Harry followed close behind with her four 3-pointers.
“It’s nice to have a good, balanced team,” Judkins said. “They just believe in themselves.”
This win for BYU makes the team the third No. 12 seed to reach the final 16. Next up the Cougars will play either No. 1 seed undefeated Connecticut or No. 9 seed Saint Joseph’s.