(Photo by BYU Photo/Bella Torgerson)
With the come from behind 90-85 road victory over Weber State, BYU women’s basketball improved its record to 9-0 on the season, the best start in the program’s history.
The Cougars return to the Marriott Center to play their second of three in-state rivals. BYU hosts the University of Utah in the Deseret First Duel on Saturday, Dec. 14 at 2 p.m. On Saturday, Dec. 21 they will host Utah State. The Cougars and Utes game will air live on BYUtv.
BYU has three players scoring in double figures led by Jennifer Hamson who is scoring 19.0 points per game and has scored in double digits in all games played. Lexi Eaton follows with 16.6 points per game with Kim Beeston contributing 11.6 points.
As a team, the Cougar women are averaging 73 points per game and holding opponents to 64 points. BYU has recorded more blocks than opponents in all games and has dished out more assists in eight of the nine games played to date. In seven contests the team pulled down more rebounds than its opponent.
In the coaches’ preseason poll, BYU was picked to finish fourth in the West Coast Conference regular season race behind San Diego, Saint Mary’s and league favorite Gonzaga. Senior center Jennifer Hamson was named to the preseason all-conference team, her second such honor.
• Head coach: Jeff Judkins (Utah, ‘78) enters his 13th season
• Team’s leading scorer: #5 Jennifer Hamson, 19.0 ppg
• Team’s leading rebounder: #5 J. Hamson, 10.0 rpg
• Team’s assists leader: #4 Kim Beeston, 4.2 apg
• Team’s steals leader: #4 Beeston, 1.4 spg
• Team’s blocks leader: #5 Hamson, 4.3 bpg
The University of Utah comes to Provo with a 4-4 record, capturing wins over Denver, UNLV, Nevada and Utah Valley University.
The Utes return nine letterwinners including three starters from last year’s team that went 23-14 and advanced to the championship game of the WNIT.
Utah was picked to finish 7th in the Pac-12 Preseason coaches poll.
• Head coach: Anthony Levrets (Lafayette, 2001) 4th season
• Team’s leading scorer: #15 Michelle Plouffe, 19.0 ppg
• Team’s leading rebounder: #15 Plouffe, 11.3 rpg
• Team’s assists leader: #22 Danielle Rodriguez, 5.4 apg
• Team’s steals leader: #15 Plouffe, 2.0 spg
• Team’s blocks leader: #12 Emily Potter, 1.5 bpg
Utah leads the series 61-40.
These two in-state foes met last season at the Huntsman Center on Dec. 8, 2012, with BYU picking up the 53-48 victory.
Haley Steed led the BYU effort with 22 points with Stephanie Seaborn coming off the bench to contribute 12 points, the only two players for the Cougars who finished in double figures in scoring.
The Cougars shot 35 percent from the field and 81 percent from 3-point range, while pulling down 38 rebounds compared with 35 for the Utes. Utah shot 26 percent from the field and seven percent from behind the arc.
BYU took a 28-21 advantage at halftime and was up 49-48 after a 3-pointer from Seaborn with 1:45 left in the game.
On the next possession, Steed grabbed a Utah miss then was fouled sending her to the line where she made both to put the Cougars up 51-48.
The Utes missed a shot on their next possession and after Steed grabbed the rebound was fouled and went to the free throw line, making both to seal the win at 53-48.
The Cougar women play one more game at home before preparing for the West Coast Conference portion of the 2013-14 campaign. BYU battles its third in-state rival, Utah State on Saturday, Dec. 21 at 2 p.m. The game can be seen live on BYUtv.
BYU opens up the WCC race with four straight home games. They host LMU on Saturday, Dec. 28 and Pepperdine on Monday, Dec. 30.
The following week league newcomer Pacific comes to the Marriott Center on Thursday, Jan. 2. On Saturday, Jan. 4 the Cougar women host Saint Mary’s.