PROVO, Utah – Jennifer Hamson's 18 second-half points led the BYU women’s basketball team to a 62-52 upset over No. 20/15 Gonzaga at the Marriott Center on Saturday.
"Great game tonight," BYU women's basketball coach Jeff Judkins said. "I’m really proud of our team and I thought they played tough tonight like they needed to win a game like this. I thought defensively it was one of our best efforts to really hold this team to 52 points. I think it really shows that these ladies can defend when they want to."
Hamson finished with 20 points, eight rebounds and seven blocks, while Lexi Eaton added a double-double of 15 points and 10 rebounds to go along with three assists.
Bailey made the first points of the game after connecting from beyond the arc for the 3-0 start. Five minutes into the half, Eaton ended Gonzaga’s (23-4, 13-2 WCC) 10-0 run at the charity stripe and got a steal to lay it up at the other end. With 12:14 remaining in the half, BYU (21-5, 11-4 WCC) went on a 6-0 run with two buckets from Bailey and a pair of free throws from Eaton to cut the deficit 17-13.
After the Bulldogs extended their lead to 10, The Cougars went on an 11-3 run with a Beeston 3-pointer, a Hamson layup and a drive to the rim by Eaton. Stephanie Rovetti’s free throws cut the deficit to two, 29-27, with under three minutes left as part of the run. The Bulldogs led 33-27 at the break with Eaton leading all players with 10 points.
Both teams went without a point for the first 3:20 of the second half until Bailey’s layup cut BYU’s deficit 33-29. Hamson’s feed to Bailey in the post brought BYU within two with Hamson’s free throws tying it at 36 a piece at the 14:17 mark. Gonzaga retook a six-point lead until Hamson went on a solo 6-0 run, converting on two three-point plays to tie it 44-44.
With less than eight minutes remaining, Hamson’s free throws gave BYU a 46-44 lead, its first since starting 3-0. Bailey’s jumper extended the Cougars’ lead 50-45 and capped the 12-1 run. After the Bulldogs cut BYU’s lead to two, Beeston connected on a 3-pointer to take back the 55-50 lead with 4:06 left. Hamson’s shot off the glass and free throws pushed the lead to 12 to end the game on an 8-2 run.
BYU held Gonzaga to a 15.4 shooting percentage in the second half to give up only 19 points. The Cougars also outscored them in the paint 26-16. With the win, BYU snapped Gonzaga’s 13-game winning streak.
"It was a great atmosphere tonight," Judkins said. "This was one of the first games in a long time that felt like the crowd really helped us."
The Cougars will hit the road to take on Pepperdine on Thursday at 7 p.m. PST.
BYU ended the game shooting 40.5 percent from the floor while holding Gonzaga to 25.4 percent shooting.
The Bulldogs outrebounded the Cougars 47-36. They also had 19 second-chance points compared to just four for BYU.
The Cougars took their first lead since the 3-0 mark from a pair of Hamson free throws with 7:59 left in the game to make the score 46-44.
This was the first BYU win over a ranked opponent since the 2011-12 season when the Cougars beat No. 18/19 Gonzaga in Provo, 70-40, on Feb. 9, 2012.
Lexi Eaton led all scorers at the break with 10 points. She finished the game with 15 points, including 7 for 8 free throw shooting, along with a game-high 10 rebounds. It was Eaton’s second double-double of the season.
Morgan Bailey contributed 14 points for the Cougars along with four boards.
Jennifer Hamson had just two points at halftime, but came back to finish the game with a team-high 20 points, eight rebounds and seven blocks.
Kim Beeston had a team-high four assists to go with eight points.