(Photo by Todd Wakefield/BYU Photo)
OMAHA, Neb. – Jennifer Hamson and Lexi Eaton helped BYU hang on in a 52-51 win on the road against Creighton to remain undefeated.
“We really defended well tonight,” BYU head coach Jeff Judkins said. “They forced us to defend for thirty seconds because they run a lot of motion and ball screens. I thought our defensive effort to not allow easy baskets with the shot clock running down was a big factor.”
Hamson scored 20 points and pulled down 13 rebounds to along with five blocks. Eaton chipped in 19 points for the Cougars. BYU (8-0) shot 44.7 percent from the field for the game while holding Creighton (4-4) to 30.2 percent. The win snapped Creighton’s 15-game home win streak.
With BYU clinging to a four-point lead at 51-47 with under a minute left, Creighton cut the lead to two on a tip-in with 31.8 seconds remaining. The Bluejays sent Eaton to the free-throw line with 16 seconds remaining, but she went 1-2 to keep the game within one possession at 52-49.
BYU chose to foul Creighton instead of allowing a potential game-tying 3-pointer, and Creighton hit both shots from the line to cut the lead to one with eight seconds left. After Stephanie Rovetti missed the front end of a 1-and-1, Creighton had a chance to win the game, but the shot fell short and BYU escaped with the win.
Creighton started the game with a quick 6-0 run to take their only lead of the game at 8-3. Led by six points from Eaton, BYU quickly answered with a 14-2 run to retake the lead at 17-10. During the run the Cougars held the Bluejays to just 1-13 shooting.
Leading 23-19, BYU extended its lead with a 6-0 run to take its largest lead of the first half at 29-19. The half would end with a 3-pointer from the Bluejays and a jumper from Hamson to give the Cougars the 31-22 lead at the half.
Hamson led BYU with 12 points and eight rebounds in the first half and Eaton added eight points for the Cougars. As a team the Cougars shot 46.2 percent from the field while holding the Bluejays to 31 percent shooting.
Eaton started the second half with a 3-pointer and a layup jumpstarting a 9-0 run for the Cougars and to take a game-high 18-point lead at 40-22 with 16:44 left in the game. BYU went cold from the field over the next 10 minutes and Creighton went on a 14-2 run to bring the game back to single digits at 42-36 with just 8:10 left in the game.
After BYU extended the lead back to double digits at 46-36, Creighton went on a 7-0 run to cut the lead to three at 46-43 with five minutes remaining in the game.
BYU returns to action against in-state rival Weber State in the Dee Events Center in Ogden, Utah, on Dec. 10 at 7:00 p.m. MST. The game will be broadcast by BYU Radio.
With the win over Creighton, BYU improved its record to 8-0 on the year, its best start since the 2005-06 season when they finished 10-1 prior to starting league play.
For the sixth time on the year, the Cougar women have outrebounded their opponents. Against Creighton they pulled down 35 to the Bluejays 33.
With the 7-2 lead in the blocks category, BYU has recorded more blocks than its opponents in all games played. They also finished with 10 assists to the Bluejays nine.
For the game, the Cougars finished with 28 points in the paint compared with 18 for the Bluejays.
BYU was up by nine, 31-22 at the break and with the win improved to 7-0 on the season when leading at halftime.
After playing 20 minutes of action, senior center Jennifer Hamson led all players in points, rebounds and in blocks in the first half with 12, eight and three respectively. She finished with her fifth double-double of the year from 20 points and 13 rebounds. Both were game highs. Hamson also finished with a game-high five blocks
For the fifth straight time sophomore Lexi Eaton recorded double digits in scoring with 19, shooting 7 of 10 from the field. She also pulled down four rebounds.
Stephanie Rovetti came off the bench to dish out team highs in assists with three.