Hamson's 27 points helps Cougars beat Portland

Senior Jennifer Hamson's recorded her 17th double-double of the season. (Photo by Bella Torgerson/BYU Photo)
PROVO, Utah—Riding Jennifer Hamson’s fifth straight double-double, BYU women’s basketball overcame a slow start to dominate Portland, 67-43, in West Coast Conference action Thursday at the Marriott Center.
 
The Cougars (20-5, 10-4 WCC) overcame a cold shooting start to take control of the game, outscoring the Pilots (14-11, 7-7 WCC) 41-20 in the second half.
 
"I'm happy with tonight's win even though we didn't play our best offensive game,” BYU head coach Jeff Judkins said. “We didn't shoot the ball very well, especially in the first half. But when you have a player like Jen, who can score for you--it really made a big difference tonight. Both she and Lexi (Eaton) really stepped it up again, that's three or four games they've really looked to score for us."
 
Hamson led all scorers with 27 points on 9 of 14 shooting while cleaning up the boards with 13 rebounds. Sophomore Lexi Eaton helped BYU take over the game with 22 points and five rebounds of her own.
 
Morgan Bailey and Ashley Garfield also added 10 and seven boards, respectively, as the Cougars outrebounded their opponents 48-37.
 
Three minutes into the game, Hamson broke open the scoring, sinking a short jumper and then a right hook off the glass.
 
At 7:41 left in the half, Portland led 11-8 with both teams shooting under 20 percent from the field. 
 
BYU then turned up the offensive production with the inside play of Hamson and the guard play of Eaton. With the Pilots leading 16-14, Hamson had 10 of BYU’s points. Eaton then scored the next eight of the following 12 points for BYU to end the half with the lead, 26-23.
 
The Cougars began the second half by breaking the game open, stringing together a 24-9 run. Eaton picked up where she left off as she added 12 points, including two 3s and a 3-point play. Point guard Kylie Maeda also found the bottom of the net with two consecutive layups.
 
With 7:41 left in the game, BYU stretched the lead to 20 over Portland on a Stephanie Rovetti layup. 
 
The Pilots then scored seven points to cut the BYU lead to 56-41 before Hamson answered with the finsh as she cut to the hoop. The Cougars maintained the double-digit lead for the remainder of the game.
 

BYU stays home for a showdown with first-place Gonzaga Saturday at 2 p.m. televised on BYUtv.The Bulldogs are ranked 15th nationally. Tickets for Saturday afternoon's game are two for one. Buy one general admission ticket for $5, and get the second one free.

Postgame Notes
Team
BYU was held to 0 of 9 shooting from 3-point land in the first half while Portland hit 4 of 8 in the same timeframe. The Cougars ended the game hitting 18.8 percent from beyond the arc compared to 33.3 percent for the Pilots.
 
With 2:43 remaining in the first half, Morgan Bailey made a layup which gave BYU a 22-21 lead -- a lead which was maintained for the rest of the game.
 
The Cougars outrebounded the Pilots 48-37 for the game and had just six turnovers compared to 11 for Portland. The six miscues are the lowest of the year.
 
BYU won the points off turnovers advantage 15-1 as well as the points in the paint 32-6. The Cougars also had 21 second chance points compared to just six for the Pilots.
 
With the win, Jeff Judkins has coached his team to 20-plus wins in eight of his 13 seasons.
 
Player
Jennifer Hamson was a rebound shy of having a double-double at the break, collecting nine boards to her 12 points. On the night, she finished with  a game-high 27 points, 13 boards and four blocks.
 
Lexi Eaton was in double figure points at the break with 10. She ended the game with 22 points, four rebounds and three assists. 
 
Kim Beeston had a team-leading five assists to go along with four rebounds.
 
Four different Cougars each collected a steal to give the team four on the night.

 

   
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