(Photo by Mark A Philbrick/BYU Photo)
LAS VEGAS—With a 77-51 victory over Pepperdine, No. 2 seed BYU women’s basketball (25-5) advanced to the semifinals of the 2014 WCC Basketball Championships.
Riding a nine-game winning streak, the Cougar women will battle No. 3 Pacific (18-11), Monday, March 10 at approximately 2:30 p.m. The Tigers advanced in the tournament with an 84-72 victory over Portland.
This will be the third straight time that BYU has advanced to the semiflinals of the WCC championships. WCC Player and Defensive Player of the Year, Jennifer Hamson, leads BYU in scoring, rebounding and blocked shots. She averages 18.3 ppg, 11.4 rpg and 4.2 bpg. Hamson leads the nation in blocked shots, ranks 13th in rebounds per game, 14th in double-doubles, and 18th in field goal percentage.
Three other Cougars are averaging double figures in points, with Lexi Eaton chipping in 17.0, followed by 11.6 points from Kim Beeston. Junior forward Morgan Bailey rounds out the scoring output, contributing 10.7 points. She is second on the team in rebounding, pulling down 7.1 per contest.
BYU is averaging 72.7 points per game, while holding opponents to 63.6 points. The Cougars, who rank sixth in the country in blocked shots per game, have recorded more blocks than their opponent in 26 games and have dished out more assists in 24 of the 30 games played to date. The team has also recorded more rebounds than its opponents in 23 contests.
Pacific (18-11) advanced to the semifinals of the 2014 WCC Championships with an 84-72 victory over Portland. It finished in third place in the WCC regular season and earned the No. 3 seed into the league championships.
The Tigers have three players scoring in double digits with 16.3 points coming from Kendall Kenyon. Teammate Kiki Moore follows with 16.1 points with Madison Parrish contributing 11.3 points per game. Kenyon leads the team in the rebound category, pulling down 10.5 boards. Moore tops the list in assists dishing out 4.5 assists per game. Pacific averages 77.4 points and 39.2 rebounds a contest while holding opponents to 71.4 points per game.
BYU leads the series 6-2. The Cougars and Tigers split the regular season meetings with each squad winning on the opposing team’s home court. When playing at a neutral venue, the Cougars have the 1-0 edge. The last time the two played on a neutral court was during the 1993-94 season when the two teams participated in the Idaho Tournament. In that contest, the Cougars picked up a 77-56 win on Dec. 4, 1993.
Game Summaries in 2014 campaign
In the first meeting in Provo, Sam Pettinger scored four 3-pointers en route to a team-high 16 points in the 75-62 Pacific victory. Despite a game-high 22 points from Jennifer Hamson, BYU was unable to overcome a nine-point halftime deficit. The Cougars were without forward Morgan Bailey who had injured her Achilles tendon. BYU struggled from the three point arc, making just one of 13 attempts.
In the second meeting, Jennifer Hamson again led the Cougars with 25 points to go along with 18 rebounds in the 88-57 win. Three other Cougars also recorded double digits in points, with 19 from Lexi Eaton, 17 from Morgan Bailey and 15 from Kim Beeston. BYU also had the season’s best free throw percentage .909, (20-22). Kiki Moore led the Tigers with 17 points with 13 points coming from Kendall Kenyon and 10 from Madison Parrish.
A win over Pacific would send the Cougars to the league’s championship finals scheduled for Tuesday, March 11 at 1 p.m., versus the winner of the other semifinal game between Gonzaga and St. Mary’s. The winner of the WCC championships receives an automatic bid to the 2014 NCAA tournament.