“This was a nice win,” BYU head coach Jeff Judkins said. “I thought defensively the first half we didn’t give them a lot of good looks. The looks we did give them they hit. Defensively in the second half, we just got beat off the dribble and didn’t really have the intensity that we needed to have. Haley played a great game. She’s an all-around player and a great scorer when she needs to be.”
Steed hit a new season-best with 23 points, one point shy of her career best. During the second half, she went 6 for 6 from the field and 4 for 4 from the 3-point line. She also finished with nine assists and two steals.
The win helps BYU improve its record to 19-7 overall and 10-3 in the West Coast Conference. Portland falls to 10-17 overall and 5-9 in the WCC.
At the beginning on the contest, BYU jumped out to an early 10-2 lead with two layouts inside from Hamson and Unga and back-to-back 3-pointers from Steed and Stephanie Vermunt Seaborn. Following a Portland basket, Steed found Seaborn to extend the lead 12-4. Throughout the middle of the half, BYU prevented Portland from scoring for six minutes until Portland’s Kari Luttinen hit a 3-pointer capping BYU’s 12-2 run.
The rest of the half BYU outscored Portland 21-11, with Portland scoring its last basket of the half with 5:36 left on the clock. Meanwhile, BYU received points from Steed, Kim Parker Beeston, Hamson, Unga and Morgan Bailey. Going into the half, seven Cougars combined for 33 points. Steed led the pack with seven points and five assists. The team combined for 10 assists and six rebounds.
The story of the second half revolved around Steed and Hamson who combined for 30 points to lead the Cougars to victory. To start things off, Hamson stole the ball from Portland’s Alexis Bird and found Steed, who traveled the length of the floor to hit a jumper from the free-throw line. The next trip down, Steed returned the favor to Hamson finding Hamson on the block to put the Cougars up 37-20.
For the next several minutes both teams exchanged baskets from beyond the arc and from the paint until Steed took control of the game. Steed scored 11 points for the Cougars, two jumpers and three shots from the 3-point line. Hamson contributed four points of her own to put the Cougars up 52-34 with 14:06 left in the half. With 10:04 to go, the Cougars led by 21. Portland fought back cutting the lead to 12, but Hamson continued to dominate in the paint adding six more to extend the lead back to 18. BYU ended the game leading by 15.
BYU returns to the Marriott Center this Saturday at 2 p.m. MST for its last home game of the season to face off against league-leader Gonzaga. The No. 22 jersey won by Jackie Beene McBride will be retired and the two seniors Keilani Unga and Haley Steed will be recognized.
- Head coach Jeff Judkins earned his 250th victory in the win against Portland.
- The Cougars shot 50 percent in the first half, holding the Pilots to 22.6 percent from the field. BYU also outscored in the paint 20-4 during the half.
- BYU shot 51.7 percent on the night. Portland improved to 34.4 percent shooting on the game by the end.
- The Cougars ended with a 42-18 victory in the paint and had more assists at 24-12.
- BYU is now 13-0 at the Marriott Center this season.
- Haley Steed led the way with a season-high 23 points, including five 3-pointers, on 75 percent shooting. It was her 12th double figure game of the season and third with 20 or more points. She also had nine assists to lead the game.
- Jennifer Hamson totaled 23 points to tie her career high and led the game with eight rebounds. It was her 10th double-figure game of the season and second with 20 or more points.