PROVO, Utah –Coming off just its second conference loss this season the No. 22 BYU women’s basketball team dominated from start to finish en route to an 83-47 victory over Saint Mary’s at the Marriott Center Saturday afternoon.
“I’m really happy with how the team played today,” BYU coach Jeff Judkins said. “I thought it was a great defensive effort tonight. I think this was the first game that we played both ends of the defense, both the press and half-court defense, very well.”
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Jennifer Hamson was too much to handle for the Gaels as she tied a career-high 18 points while grabbing nine rebounds. Center Kristen Riley, who also had her way in the paint, scored 15 points along with six rebounds. Haley Steed added seven points and 10 assists.
However, the most effective player might have been backup guard Ashley Garfield who had eight points, three assists and two steals in just eight minutes of play.
After losing to the Gaels earlier in the season the Cougars (21-4, 9-2) started off quick with six points and never looked back.
“I think our team was ready to go after losing to them and not playing so well the other night,” Judkins said. “I’m real proud of them. It was just a great team effort all the way around.”
Stifling defense and good ball movement propelled BYU throughout the first half.
The full court press of the Cougars proved to be too difficult for the Gaels as BYU forced 14 turnovers in the first half.
The Cougars started the second half on a 5-0 run, highlighted by back-to-back steals by Kim Parker, which led to easy baskets.
The game was blown wide open as Steed found Riley twice with beautiful assists right over the top of the defense for easy baskets.
BYU’s bench gave the team a huge lift as it outscored Saint Mary’s 40 to 19. The Cougars dominated almost every category, outscoring the Gaels 42-16 in the paint and 40-8 in points off turnovers.
The Cougars will be back in action at home against No. 19/20 Gonzaga on Thursday at 7p.m. MST.
BYU kept the Gaels scoreless from the field for six minutes to start the game, resulting in a 9-2 run for the Cougars. The only points Saint Mary’s scored from the field for the first six minutes were on free throws. The Cougars also had a 13-0 run in less than five minutes during the last part of the first half.
BYU held Saint Mary’s to 25 percent shooting from the field and only allowed one 3-point basket from the Gaels. Seven Cougars made 3-pointers against Saint Mary’s.
BYU forced 29 turnovers on Saint Mary’s and only collected nine in the first half.
The Cougars outscored the Gaels in the paint 42-16 and off turnovers 40-8. The BYU bench also outscored Saint Mary’s bench 40-19.
Saturday’s crowd of 1,296 was the third largest attendance of the season and the second largest in conference play.
The Cougars recorded 28 assists to tie their season high and had nine blocks.
Jennifer Hamson recorded a season-high 18 points to tie her career high. She also had nine rebounds and three blocks.
Kristen Riley’s 15 points were her fourth-straight double-figure outing. She also grabbed six rebounds.
Ashley Garfield scored a career and season high of eight points.
Haley Steed led the team in assists with 10 and had seven points.
Kim Parker had a career- and season-high five steals.