Haley Steed led BYU in assists and steals, and was one of two Cougars to score in double figures against Pepperdine. (Photo by Jaren Wilkey/BYU Photo)
MALIBU, Calif.—In one of the BYU women’s basketball team’s lowest scoring games of the year, Pepperdine shut down the No. 22 Cougars, 61-49, Thursday night.
The loss was only the third time this season BYU (20-4, 8-2) has scored less than 50 points in a game. It was also the team’s first loss in more than a month, with its last loss coming against Saint Mary’s Dec. 31.
"We knew this was going to be one of hardest road stretches of season," BYU head coach Jeff Judkins said. "Pepperdine played really well. We had too many turnovers and we were a little out of sync tonight. We'll bounce back, we just have to take care of business at home starting with the Saint Mary's game Saturday."
Senior co-captain Kristen Riley scored her third-straight double-double with 15 points and a game-high 13 rebounds. Steed helped out with 10 points, eight assists and three steals and Jennifer Hamson had five blocks to lead the game.
The Cougars shot 36.7 percent from the field to best Pepperdine (11-10, 6-4), who shot 35.3 percent, but the Waves won from behind the arc. Pepperdine shot 35.7 from 3-point and held BYU to 16.7 percent. BYU also outrebounded 36-34, but its 23-13 turnover ratio proved tough to overcome.
Kim Parker’s five straight points increased a BYU scoring run to 8-1, giving the Cougars a six-point lead after a points exchange to start the half. Two 3-minute silent streaks by BYU kept the Cougars’ score well below their average of 35 points in the first half. Free throws off a foul on Riley put the Waves only one point behind going into halftime with a score of 23-22.
BYU held Pepperdine to shooting only 22.6 percent from the field in the first half, but Pepperdine held the Cougars to 12.5 percent from behind the 3-point line. The Waves’ Lauren Bell was the only player in double figures at halftime with 10 on 50 percent shooting.
Pepperdine’s 8-0 run to start the second half left the Cougars reeling with a 30-23 deficit. Hamson broke the Waves’ run with a layup, but Pepperdine steals plagued BYU. The Waves took the largest lead of the game thus far on a Kelsey Patrick layup to go up 38-26.
Steed tried to energize the Cougars with only their second made 3-pointer of the night, but it wasn’t enough to push BYU past a double-figure deficit. Pepperdine maintained a 10-point lead or more until the two-minute warning when Riley took it to the basket for an old-fashioned 3-point play, cutting the Waves’ lead to seven.
BYU fouls sent Pepperdine to the line for five free throws to end the game 61-49.
Pepperdine’s Bell led the game with 26 points, shooting 64.3 percent from the field.
The Cougars return to the Marriott Center to take on Saint Mary’s at 1 p.m. Saturday. The conference rematch follows BYU’s celebration of female athletes as part of National Girls and Women in Sports Day, which will take place starting at 9 a.m. in the Smith Fieldhouse.
The Cougars picked up 28 of their total points in the paint and had 12 second chance points.
BYU grabbed 36 rebounds to Pepperdine’s 34 marking the 16th time this season that it has had more boards than its opponents.
Kristen Riley tallied her third straight double-double with 15 points and 13 rebounds for her sixth of the year and the 10th of her career. The points mark her 11th double-digit outing of the year and the 38th overall.
Haley Steed recorded a game high in assists, dishing out eight. She also had 10 points, marking the ninth contest that she’s had double digits in points and the 37th of her career, and had a team high in steals with three.
Sophomore center Jennifer Hamson came off the bench to tie her season best in blocks with five to go along with her five points and two rebounds.