Lexi Eaton tied her career high of 16 points against San Diego. (Photo by Jonathan Hardy/BYU Photo)
SAN DIEGO—The BYU women’s basketball team downed one of the last undefeated teams in the league, beating San Diego 62-53 Saturday on the Toreros’ home court.
“I think San Diego is playing very well right now,” BYU head coach Jeff Judkins said. “It wasn’t our prettiest game but I think our size and our players being a little bit stronger really did it for us tonight. I think we’re not used to so many teams having fours who are quick and can drive it. And we just have to do a better job when we have leads on the road to sustain them. But for some reason this team does a really good job at adjusting at halftime, so that helped us.”
True freshman Lexi Eaton tied her career high of 16 points, shooting 60 percent from the field, and contributed two blocks. Dani Peterson scored in double figures with 10 on 71.4 percent shooting and had seven rebounds. Kim Parker also had 10 points.
Kristen Riley picked up 13 rebounds, three blocks and two steals, while Haley Steed led the Cougars (16-3, 5-1) with five assists and had six rebounds. They had nine points apiece.
“This was a huge win for us, especially because they were undefeated in conference,” Eaton said. “It was great to win on the road. If we could keep this momentum during the season, we’ll be good to go.”
BYU shot 46 percent from the field while holding the Toreros (12-4, 3-1) to 30.2 percent from the field.
Peterson’s first layup ended a three-minute silent streak that haunted the Cougars to start the game. Eaton engaged to bounce BYU back from a six-point deficit with a 3-pointer and jumper and take a 7-6 lead. From there, the Cougars went 9-0 to put some distance between them and the Toreros.
With eight minutes left in the half, a Peterson jumper put the Cougars ahead by nine points before a 6-0 USD run put the Toreros back within three, 22-19. A 6-2 Torero run at the end of the half sent the game into halftime with only a 30-29 BYU lead.
The team shot 46.2 percent from the field, with Peterson shooting 80 percent for eight points and Eaton shooting 50 percent for nine points before halftime.
Eaton drained the first four points for BYU to start the second half, launching a 12-0 scoring streak which included back-to-back treys from Riley and Parker. The Cougar defense kept the Toreros from scoring until the 14 minute mark, resulting in a 42-31 BYU lead.
With just over 10 minutes left in the contest, Jennifer Hamson blocked Torero Amy Kame, getting the ball to Steed who pumped it back to Hamson for the quick layup, maintaining the 11-point lead.
Kame’s jumper followed by a jump shot from Felicia Wijenberg cut the lead to three for the closest score since the beginning of the second half. Riley responded with her own jumper to bump the BYU lead back to five as they passed the two-minute mark. The Cougars sealed the road win from the free throw line for the final nine-point, 62-53 victory.
BYU faces Loyola Marymount in Los Angeles Thursday at 7 p.m. PST, followed by a Saturday meeting with Portland in Provo at 2 p.m.
The Cougars started the second half on a 10-0 run to take a 40-29 lead with 15:21 left in the game.
With the win over the Toreros, BYU improved its league record to 5-1 and 16-3 overall.
For just the fourth time on the season and the second in league play, the Cougars were outrebounded. San Diego grabbed 40 to BYU’s 36.
In league action, BYU has recorded more blocks than its opponents. Against San Diego the Cougars had nine. The Toreros had none.
Lexi Eaton has recorded double figures in points the last five league game including the 16 points at San Diego for her 13th double-digit contest. The points tied her season high.
Haley Steed dished out game highs in assists with five.
Kristen Riley grabbed game highs in rebounds with 13; all but one were defensive boards.
Dani Peterson finished the game with 10 points for her sixth double-figure contest of the year, her 10th overall.
Kim Parker was the third Cougar player in double digits in points with 10. The total points mark Parker’s 12th double figure contest of the year and the 17th of her career.