LOS ANGELES—Forward Kristen Riley’s season-high 22 points led the BYU women’s basketball team to its sixth-straight win in West Coast Conference play as BYU soundly defeated Loyola Marymount, 72-48, Thursday night at the Gersten Pavilion.
“I’m really happy with the win,” BYU head coach Jeff Judkins said. “It was a great team effort and a good win on the road. These guys are tough to play here. I think Riley played another great game. Defensively she did a great job on their top player. In the second half, I thought Lexi Eaton and Jennifer Hamson really gave us a big lift. Jen played very aggressive in the post.”
Riley led the game in points and rebounds, securing her third double-double of the season and seventh of her career with 10 boards. Riley shot 9-for-13 from the field and had four assists. True freshman Eaton also had a stellar performance, tying her career high of 16 points and contributing two steals and three rebounds.
Hamson was close behind Riley in rebounding with eight boards and four blocks. Haley Steed, No. 1 in the WCC and No. 7 in NCAA Division I women’s basketball for assists, had nine assists in the victory with four rebounds and three steals.
The Cougars (17-3, 6-1) had 13 turnovers to LMU’s 17 and outrebounded the Lions 38-28. BYU shot 50.9 percent from the field and held LMU (4-14, 0-6) to 34 percent.
BYU got off to a quick start with a 7-2 run, including six points from Riley. Eaton pulled the Cougars back with a 3-pointer after a brief deficit, kick-starting a 17-0 BYU run. The Cougars kept the Lions from scoring for almost eight minutes before LMU’s Courtney Collishaw hit a jumper with 7:23 left in the first half.
The Cougars maintained an 11-point lead the rest of the half with a score of 31-20 at the buzzer.
Riley had 17 points by halftime, shooting 80 percent from the field. She also led both teams with six rebounds at the half. Her team outrebounded LMU 22-11 in the first half.
Tying her season high, Riley started off the second half with two made free throws. The Lions came on strong with a 5-0 run in the first four minutes. LMU cut the Cougar lead to four before a Dani Peterson trey stopped the Lions’ pursuit.
With Riley on the bench from foul trouble, Eaton stepped up to take BYU back to a double-figure lead on a layup. Steed and Jennifer Hamson made it a 16-point game with a 10-0 run. Eaton tied her career high of 16 on a jumper from 3-point land with five minutes on the clock, pushing the Cougars to their largest lead of the game.
Riley set her new season high of 22 points on a three-point play after making a free throw. The Cougar bench kept LMU at bay in the final minutes, sending BYU back to Provo with a 72-48 victory.
The women’s basketball team returns to the Marriott Center Saturday for a matchup against Portland at 2 p.m. MST.
BYU went on a 17-0 run to take a 24-9 lead with 7:46 left in the first half. The Cougars defense held the LMU scoreless for eight minutes.
With the 72-48 win over LMU, BYU improved to 15-0 when leading at the half. They were up by 11, 31-20 at the break.
The Cougars outrebounded the Lions 38-28, improving their record to 12-1 on the year when grabbing more boards than their opponents.
BYU put up 40 points in the paint and 16 off of LMU miscues.
After making nine of the Cougars first 12 points of the game, Kristen Riley recorded her third double-double of the year with a game high 22 points and 10 rebounds. It’s the second double-double for Riley in league play and the seventh overall. The points are her eighth double-figure game of the year, the 35th of her career, the fifth in league action and are just one shy of her career-best 23.
For the sixth straight time in WCC action, Lexi Eaton tallied double figures in points. At LMU she had 16 points marking her 14th double-digit outing of the season.
Senior co-captain Haley Steed dished out a game-high nine assists, placing her tied for fifth place in BYU’s all-time record for career assists. She finished the game with five points, four rebounds and three steals.
Coming off the bench for the Cougars, Jennifer Hamson recorded a game-high three blocks to go along with her eight points.