PROVO, Utah –The BYU women’s basketball combined red-hot shooting with stifling defense en route to a 80-47 thrashing of the LMU Lions on Thursday at the Marriott Center.
“It’s a good win. It’s nice to be able to get a lot of young kids in the game," coach Jeff Judkins said.
The Cougars (13-3, 2-1) shot 53 percent from the field while holding the Lions (4-11, 0-3) to just 34 percent.
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LMU jumped out to an early lead at 6-5, but it was all Cougars from that point on. Using an early 13-3 run, BYU turned the deficit into a 20-9 lead, highlighted by a deep three by guard Haley Steed.
Using a full-court press, the Cougars continued to pour on the pressure. Steed found teammates all over the court, connecting on back-to-back assists with Dani Peterson and Kristen Riley for easy layups.
Not to be outdone on the offensive side of the ball, the BYU defense was just as tenacious. The Lions struggled to find the basket and were held scoreless for almost eight minutes during the first half. Riley, Jennifer Hamson and true freshman Lexi Eaton brought the crowd to its feet with emphatic blocks in the half, denying the Lions any points and helping the Cougars jump out to a 48-22 halftime lead.
“I feel like we're all playing really well together, especially on defense,” Eaton said. “I felt like we got them out of their offense early. We've been working really hard in practice and it's nice to see it transfer onto the court.”
Coming out of the break the Cougars started right where they left off with a quick 10 points, eight coming from Eaton.
Lockdown defense helped the Cougars put the game away for good as BYU pushed its lead to 41 points with 7:35 left.
Riley led the Cougars with 16 points and three rebounds and was aided by Steed, who added eight points and eight assists. Eaton added 14 points, 12 in the second half.
“We felt like we had certain mismatches and we took advantage of that in the game,” Judkins said.
The Cougars will head to San Francisco to take on the Dons at the War Memorial Gym on Saturday at 2 p.m. PST.
BYU forced an almost eight-minute scoreless streak for LMU during the first half.
The Cougars shot 61.3 percent from the field and 54.5 percent from beyond the arc in the first half. BYU ended the game 52.4 percent from the field and 47.4 percent beyond the arc, holding the Lions to 32.7 percent shooting and 25 percent behind the 3-point line.
BYU had 10 assists in the first half and held the Lions to only two. BYU tallied 19 assists in the game and held LMU to five.
The Cougars drained nine 3-pointers and made 38 points in the paint.
The BYU bench put up 28 points to LMU’s 13.
BYU outrebounded its opponent for the 10th time this season, making 42 rebounds to LMU's 25.
The Cougars had the largest lead of the game at 7:35 with a lead of 41.
Kristen Riley hit double figures in points before halftime and ended the game with 16 points and three rebounds.
Haley Steed led the team with eight assists and had eight points.
Lexi Eaton scored 14 points and had two assists.
Jennifer Hamson led the team in rebounds with seven and scored nine points.