(Photo by BYU Photo/Bella Torgerson)
PROVO, Utah – With the shot clock winding down and 14 seconds left to play, point guard Haley Steed broke a tie ball game with a 25-foot 3-pointer as BYU women's basketball held on to beat the University of San Diego 53-48 at the Marriott Center Thursday night.
The Cougars shot 43 percent and held San Diego to 33 percent shooting in the win. BYU improves to 16-6 on the year, 7-2 in the West Coast Conference, and remains undefeated in 11 home games. San Diego, meanwhile, moves to 15-8 on the season and 7-4 in conference play.
"Haley Steed makes big plays," head coach Jeff Judkins said. "It wasn't her best night, but she was able to keep playing. What's special about her is she doesn't let one half affect the next."
Steed had seven points and seven assists while senior Keilani Unga scored a season-high 17 points to go along with seven rebounds, including an offensive board that set up Steed's deep-range dagger.
"It's a great win," Judkins said. "It wasn't pretty, but we really needed this if we want to win the conference."
San Diego opened the game with a 14-5 run, forcing BYU into a couple of early turnovers with a full-court press. After a quick timeout, BYU's Kim Parker Beeston made a 3-pointer at the top of the key to bring the score to 14-8 with 14:43 to go in the first. Beeston had 14 points, two assists and two boards on the night.
With the Cougars trailing 17-10, Steed found Morgan Bailey on the right block for a quick move to the middle that pulled BYU within five with 11:34 to play in the opening period. A few possessions later, Bailey made a 15-foot jumper from the right baseline. It was her third consecutive basket and part of an 8-0 Cougar run that brought the Cougars within one point at 17-16. Bailey finished the game with 10 points, eight rebounds, three assists, three steals and two blocks.
Neither team scored in the final 2:40 of the first and the Toreros led 22-20 at halftime.
Jennifer Hamson's layup one minute into the second half tied the game at 22. Hamson played 15 minutes and scored five points while grabbing six rebounds.
After a quick San Diego jumper, Unga tied the game again on a layup. Unga was fouled on the play, and converted the old fashioned three-point play to put BYU up 25-24 with 18:19 to play. It was BYU's first lead of the game. Seconds later, San Diego turned the ball over, setting up Beeston for her second 3-pointer of the game, which put the Cougars up four at 28-24.
Torero forward Amy Kame scored inside over Beeston to tie the game at 32 with 10:35 to play. A couple possessions later, Steed pushed the ball up the court to find Unga for an easy transition bucket, giving a two-point cushion back to the Cougars.
Steed's midrange jumper put the home team up by three, but Katelyn McDaniel scored from deep to tie the game at 36. The two teams traded baskets until two jumpers in a row by McDaniel gave the visitors a 42-40 lead with five minutes to play.
After Unga tied the game at 42, BYU's defense forced McDaniel into a tough shot, which she missed. Unga grabbed the rebound and sprinted to the right block where Steed found her for another layup and the 44-42 lead.
With the game tied at 46, Unga drove left from the right elbow and finished on the opposite side of the rim, putting BYU up two with 1:14 to play. Kame drew contact on the other end and sank both free throws to even the game again with 47 seconds remaining.
After Bailey's shot with 28 seconds to go missed the rim, Unga grabbed the rebound and kicked it out to Steed for the go-ahead 3-pointer. San Diego's attempt to tie the game came up short and Beeston iced the game with a pair of free throws to make the final score 53-48.
BYU heads to Moraga, Calif. to face Saint Mary's on Saturday at 2 p.m. PST. The two schools are tied for second place in the WCC behind Gonzaga. The game will be broadcast live on BYU Radio.
BYU overcame a nine-point deficit in the first half, tying the game 22-22 just over a minute into the second half. The Cougars took their first lead on a free throw at 18:08.
Thursday night’s game was BYU’s 11th with three players in double figures.
BYU shot 42.6 percent on the night, while San Diego shot 33.3 percent.
The Cougars led on the boards 39-34 and also outscored in the paint 30-20.
BYU is now 11-0 at the Marriott Center this season.
Kim Parker Beeston recorded 14 points, two rebounds and two assists.
Keilani Unga totaled a season-high 17 points and seven rebounds.
Haley Steed led the game with seven assists and recorded the game-winning 3-pointer.
Morgan Bailey had 10 points and eight rebounds to lead the Cougars on the boards. She also had three assists, three steals and two blocks, all tying career highs.