SALT LAKE CITY – The BYU women’s basketball team (5-4) earned three points in the Deseret First Duel by defeating the Utah Utes (7-1) 53-48 at the Jon M. Hunstman Center on Saturday.
“This was a good win for us, we really needed it,” BYU head coach Jeff Judkins said. “This was a great game, a defensive battle by both teams. I give a lot of credit to the defensive effort from our wings.”
Senior guard Haley Steed led all scorers and tied her season-high with 22 points on 7-for-15 shooting, including 3-for-6 from three and 5-for-6 from the line. She also tallied six rebounds and three assists. Junior Stephanie Vermunt Seaborn came off the bench adding 12 more points and four rebounds to help BYU secure the victory.
“I have to give Haley a lot of credit, she’s a special player,” Judkins said. “It’s also good to see Stephanie come out and have a good game.”
BYU led throughout most of the game but Utah fought back late in the second half to take the lead but couldn’t hold on to it.
The Cougar defense held Utah to just 25.5 percent shooting and 7.7 percent from behind the arc. The Cougars made eight 3-pointers compared to just one for the Utes.
Junior Kim Parker Beeston drained a 3-pointer to open the game. It took nearly three minutes for either team to score.
Four minutes later, Seaborn drove the lane and drew a foul on a left-handed layup attempt. She made both free throws to put the Cougars ahead 7-5.
Back-to-back 3-pointers from Xojian Harry and Seaborn with 9:30 remaining in the first half gave BYU an eight-point advantage, 13-5.
The Cougars responded to a 7-2 Utah run with a Beeston trey and a Seaborn layup with 4:50 remaining.
Utah scored a couple of layups before Seaborn threw a no-look pass to a wide-open Steed who hit another 3-pointer to put BYU up 26-19 with 1:53 left in the half.
The first half ended at 28-21 with two more Ute free throws and a driving Steed layup.
BYU shot 40.6 percent from the field and 55.6 percent from beyond the arc while holding Utah to just 24 percent, including 12.5 percent from three in the first 20 minutes of play.
Steed hit the first basket of the next period on a short floater in the paint. Then with 16:46 left to play, Steed hit another jumper to give her team the lead, 32-23. Her basket also put her in the 1,000-Point Club with 1,001 career points.
The Utes fought back to bring the game within two, 34-32, before Steed hit another 3-pointer and a free throw with 10:05 left in the game.
With the game tied at 40, Steed answered with a shot from 3-point land with six minutes remaining and then a jumper from the top of the key on the next possession to put BYU up, 45-40.
Utah saw its first lead of the game 48-46, on an 8-2 run with 1:46 left to play. The next time down the floor, Steed missed a trey but Hamson got the offensive rebound, which led to a Seaborn 3-pointer to give BYU the 49-48 lead.
On the next possession, Steed grabbed a Utah miss then she was intentionally fouled twice to put her on the line where she made 2-of-2. Those two points put BYU ahead, 51-48.
The Utes missed another shot and Steed hauled in the board then was quickly fouled again. She made both from the charity stripe, giving BYU a five-point lead with just 0:14 remaining. The game ended as Utah missed its last shot and BYU was able to run out the clock.
The Cougars take on Tulsa on Dec. 15 at 2:00 p.m. at the Marriott Center. The game will be broadcast on BYUtv.
BYU shot 41 percent from the field and 83 percent from 3-point range in the first half. The team finished the game shooting 35 percent from the field and 81 percent from behind the arc. The Cougars made eight 3-pointers compared to just one for the Utes.
For the game, BYU outrebounded Utah 38 to 35 and scored 10 second chance points.
The Cougar bench outscored the Ute bench 19 to eight in the road win.
The Cougars improved their record to 4-2 when making five or more 3-pointers, 3-2 when outrebounding opponents and 5-3 when leading at the half.
With 16:46 left in the game, Haley Steed made a jumper and became BYU’s 23rd player to reach 1,000-points with 1,001. Her game high 22 give her a total of 1,014. The points marked the third double figure game in points on the season.
Stephanie Vermont Seaborne came off the bench to lead all scorers in the first half with nine points. She finished the game with 12 marking her first game scoring in double digits on the season.
Morgan Bailey grabbed a team-best eight rebounds in the game.