Sara Hamson walks up the court against Pepperdine at the Marriott Center. Hamson tied her career high with nine blocks against Pepperdine on the road on Feb. 9. (Preston Crawley)

BYU battles through riptides to win 57-43 at Pepperdine

The BYU women’s basketball team was able to weather the runs from the Pepperdine Waves on Tuesday in Malibu to comfortably maintain second place in the West Coast Conference.

“It was a good win,” BYU head coach Jeff Judkins said. “Even though we didn’t play to our full potential tonight we sure defended. Sara (Hamson) took the middle away and we did a really good job of fighting through ball screens. I’m happy for the team being able to fight through a game like this.”

Paisley Harding scored 20 points and Shaylee Gonzales had 16 with seven rebounds. Lauren Gustin and Tegan Graham both ended up with eight points while Gustin secured 10 rebounds. 

Sara Hamson had a big blocking night. She is the reigning WCC Defensive Player of the Year and ended the game with nine blocked shots to tie her career-high. It was the fifth time in her BYU career she reached nine blocks and the first time since January 2020.

The Waves came back from a 22-point deficit to bring it within five late in the game. 

Pepperdine’s Cheyenne Given led the team in scoring with 16 points and Tatra Dushburn came in clutch late in the game for the Waves scoring 10. Dushburn had eight points in the third quarter. 

BYU took 29 3-pointers in the game and made nine. The Cougars finished with a field goal percentage of 31%.

Graham entered the game in the first half and drilled a three within 30 seconds to give the Cougars an 11-point lead just seven minutes into the game.

BYU was up 35-24 at halftime. Harding, with three 3-pointers, and Gonzales were tied at nine points, followed by Gustin with four points and six rebounds. 

BYU led Pepperdine in the assists category with 11 at the break. Gonzales was 6-of-22 on field goals in the game and Harding shot 50% from the 3-point line. 

The Waves came out strong in the second half, making a wide-open three. Meanwhile, BYU had an eight-minute scoring drought in the third quarter.

After a fast break, Gustin worked under the basket to get an easy two and BYU increased the lead 41-27, with give-and-go’s between Gonzales and Hamson.  

The Cougars had 13 second-chance points and 18 offensive rebounds in the game. 

Pepperdine narrowed the deficit to just four, 45-41, late in the third quarter.

Harding took over in the fourth quarter, carrying the Cougars with 11 points. BYU held Pepperdine to just two poinst in the final period.

The Waves were 5-of-9 from the 3-point line in the game for a 55.6% clip. 

BYU’s next game is Thursday, Feb. 11 at 8 p.m. MST on the road in Stockton, California, against Pacific. 

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