With 13 points, Haley Steed was one of three Cougars to score in double figures against San Francisco. (Photo by Jonathan Hardy/BYU Photo)
SAN FRANCISCO—A solid 76-67 win against San Francisco put the BYU women’s basketball team’s league record at 3-1 as the team continued to blow through the first round of West Coast Conference play.
"I'm very happy with the win," BYU head coach Jeff Judkins said. "Our starting five did a great job today. Jen (Hamson) came in and gave us a big lift, especially with her inside precense. Haley (Steed) had an outstanding game and Riley continues to play her best games right now."
Kristen Riley, who ranks second in league play for points-per-game, put up 19 points for the Cougars (14-3, 3-1) with five rebounds and a career-high four blocks. Haley Steed had 13 points, shooting 5-for-6 from the field and 3-for-4 from beyond the arc, and five assists. True freshman Lexi Eaton scored 11 points, shooting 50 percent from the field and 100 percent from the free throw line.
Hamson led on the boards with seven, followed by Dani Peterson with six.
As a team, the Cougars shot 52.6 percent from the field and 45 percent from behind the 3-point line. BYU grabbed 41 rebounds, with 33 of those coming while on defense.
After struggling to get points on the board and allowing a 6-0 Don run, Riley put in a jumper and trey to cut the deficit to 8-5 after three minutes of play. True to her performances in previous conference contests this season, Riley hit double-figures in scoring before the halfway mark of the first half after tipping in the ball to tie the game at 16-16.
Hamson took the Cougars into their first lead of the game on a free throw and increased that lead with a layup off a Steed assist. The layup capped off a 7-0 scoring streak for BYU. The Cougars let USF (3-14, 1-3) back within one, but Riley and Eaton teamed up to push BYU ahead 24-18.
BYU took advantage of Hamson’s height in the first half, dishing the ball to the paint for Hamson to lay in. Hamson also proved tough on the boards, pulling down six before halftime.
With 4:22 left on the clock, Kim Parker pulled up for a 3-pointer to help maintain the lead and Steed sent the Cougars into the locker room with a score of 38-32 on a deep jump shot.
Riley ended the half with 13 points, shooting 6-for-10 from the field, and Hamson had eight.
Steed started the second half with the same intensity as she ended the first, draining a 3-pointer for a 41-32 BYU lead. Riley increased the lead to 11 on a layup for the Cougars’ first double-digit lead of the game.
The Dons couldn’t control Steed, who continued her dominance from 3-point land with her second trey of the half at 16:11. Eaton followed suit with her own 3-pointer to take the score to 51-38.
At the 12-minute mark, Riley tied her season high of 19 points as she spurred BYU to a 15-point lead. Eaton and fellow true freshman Xojian Harry hit back-to-back threes followed by a Stephanie Vermunt jumper and three to increase that lead to 66-44.
A Stephanie Rovetti layup gave the Cougars their largest lead of the game at 71-46 and Ashley Garfield pushed the team past its season average for points in a game with her own layup.
BYU allowed the Dons to come back at the end, but the last-minute effort wasn’t enough to overtake the Cougars. The game ended with a 76-67 BYU victory.
The victory against San Francisco marked the end of an eight-day, four-game stretch for the Cougars which included three road matchups. BYU has a five-day break and will meet Pepperdine at the Marriott Center Thursday at 7 p.m.
In the game at San Francisco, the Cougars outrebounded the Dons 41-33 marking the 10th time on the season that BYU has recorded more boards than its opponents.
The Cougars once again dished out more assists than their opponents. Against San Francisco they had eight more, 14-6.
For the fifth-straight time senior Kristen Riley recorded double figures in points with 19 to lead the Cougars. They mark the seventh double digit-outing of the year and the 34th overall for her. Riley also picked up season- and career-bests in blocks with four. The blocks were also team and game highs.
Haley Steed dished out five assists for team and game highs. She also finished the game with 13 total points for her seventh double-figure game of the year and the 35th of her career.
In WCC action, true freshman Lexi Eaton has had three-straight games putting up double digits in points. At San Francisco, she had 11 points marking her 11th career double-figure contest.