Kristen Riley led the Cougars with a season-high 17 points against Nevada. (Photo by Mark A Philbrick/BYU Photo)
PROVO, Utah—Senior Kristen Riley’s season-high 17 points led the BYU women’s basketball team to an 84-53 victory against Nevada Thursday at the Marriott Center in its last game before Christmas.
Riley had six rebounds to go with her 17 points and was joined in double figures by Kim Parker with 11, Jennifer Hamson with 10 and Lexi Eaton with 10. Hamson ended the game with a double-double, her first of the season and second of her career, adding a team-high 10 rebounds. Hamson also had three blocks and Eaton swiped four steals.
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"I'm real proud of these guys," said BYU coach Jeff Judkins. "I thought today we played a lot better than we did in Logan [at Utah State]. I challenged them and they responded."
Haley Steed led the team with a season-high 11 assists, also tying her career high.
The Cougars (11-2) shot 59.3 percent from the field. The team had 28 assists and 15 steals, holding the Wolf Pack (3-8) to 32.1 percent shooting and forcing 23 turnovers.
BYU went up 6-3 in the early minutes of the contest before the Wolf Pack’s Danika Sharp tied the game 6-6 on a 3-pointer, then teammate Kate Kevorken extended their lead to 10-8. A trey by Nevada gave the Wolf Pack its largest lead at 15-10 early in the game. Riley responded for BYU with a jumper and a layup, hitting double-figures after five minutes of play and putting the Cougars within one at 15-14.
Hamson knocked down a bucket to tie the score at 16-16 and Parker drained a 3-pointer to take a 19-16 lead. From there, the Cougars took off on a 16-2 run for a 30-18 lead. Another 12-2 scoring streak put BYU at double Nevada’s points at 44-22 going into the locker room at halftime.
A 20-4 run in the first nine minutes of the second half gave BYU a comfortable 64-26 lead from which the Cougars coasted to the win.
"I think we moved the ball well and took what they gave us," Judkins said. "The press also took effect and they got tired which gave us easy baskets. When this team executes, plays defense and plays with pressure then we're a tough team."
BYU, which ranks No. 4 in the NCAA in assists, had 14 in the first half and held Nevada to only two assists. The Cougars forced 13 turnovers and held the Wolf Pack to 29.6 percent shooting from the field. BYU was 64.3 percent from the field in the first half.
Next on the schedule the Cougars take on St. Mary’s in their West Coast Conference debut Saturday, Dec. 31, at 2 p.m. PT on the Gaels' home court.
Additional Quotes from BYU coach Jeff Judkins
"This was one of the best games I've seen [Kristen] Riley play in a long time. She really presents mismatches."
"Haley [Hall], what do you say? She didn't take a shot tonight but whatever the team needs she does and that's why she's a coach's dream to have."
"These guys believe in each other and in the system and that if they do what they're supposed to do then they're tough."
The Cougars started the second half on a 20-4 run to take a commanding 64-26 lead with 11:25 remaining in the game.
With the 84-53 win over Nevada, the Cougars extend their win streak to 10. During last season, BYU went on a 12-game win streak during the 2011 Mountain West Conference race. The longest win streak in the program’s history is 15 games played from 12/31/92 to 2/26/93.
Four different players put up double digits in points for the fourth time this season. Riley (17), Parker (11), Eaton (10), Hamson (10).
BYU finished the game shooting 59 percent from the field, the best shooting percentage of the 2011-12 campaign.
The Cougars dished out season-high 28 assists vs. Nevada.
Kristen Riley picked up season highs in points with 17 marking her third double digit outing of the season and the 30th overall.
Jennifer Hamson came off the bench to pick up her first double double of the year and the second in her career with 10 points and 10 rebounds. The points mark the fourth double digit outing of the season and the 13th in her career while the 10 boards are season bests.
Kim Parker tallied 11 points for her 10th double digit performance of the year and the 15th overall.
True freshman Lexi Eaton scored 10 points in the game picking up her eighth double figure game of the season. Eaton also recorded four steals for career bests in that category,
Senior guard Haley Steed tied her career high in assists dishing out 11 vs. Nevada.