BYU-WCC semis

BYU Women's Hoops: A broken nose then a breakaway win; Cougars expect tough 3rd meeting with Pacific

2014-03-09T12:00:00Z 2014-03-09T12:08:30Z BYU Women's Hoops: A broken nose then a breakaway win; Cougars expect tough 3rd meeting with PacificJason Franchuk - Daily Herald Daily Herald
March 09, 2014 12:00 pm  • 

LAS VEGAS — It's not a rallying cry, nor is it necessarily a source of revenge. At least the diplomatic way BYU coach Jeff Judkins talks about the incident.

But it is something to be aware of.

The first time the Cougars played Pacific, star center Jennifer Hamson had her nose broken while seeking out a rebound.

"She knows they're going to be physical with her," Judkins said leading up to Monday's 2 p.m. (Pacific time) West Coast Conference tournament semifinal at Orleans Arena. "They've all done that. She knows they're going to double-team her. She's done a great job of not letting that bother her."

Pacific has been a unique "bother" to BYU.

The teams split their two-game series during the regular season, each winning on the other's home court.

Hamson had her nose blasted with about eight minutes left at the Marriott Center, Jan. 2, though she did return late in what still turned into a 13-point defeat.

BYU also happened to be missing fellow post player, Morgan Bailey, for that one.

Judkins, who played in the NBA in the 1980's, affectionately compared Bailey to former famed Detroit Pistons enforcer Rick Mahorn. When times got tough in Detroit, Mahorn was known as one of the players to defend teammates, or make opponents pay with a basket here or there. Bailey's much more than a bodyguard, but the point is, she's valuable.

The Cougars won the rematch, 88-57, nearly a month later when both interior players were fine. The inside duo scored BYU's first 11 points, Hamson and Bailey combined for 42 points (18-of-24 from the field), the Cougars shot 58 percent and the free rhinoplasty was redeemed.

"We really played together that game," Hamson said.

She added that the emphasis for the third meeting is to get the ball in good positions on the wings, either setting up balanced outside shots or feeding Bailey and Hamson inside.

So far the WCC tournament has played to the success of the higher seeds.

The winner of No. 2 BYU and No. 3 Pacific will either face top-seeded Gonzaga or No. 4 Saint Mary's in Tuesday's championship.

BYU has been in Las Vegas since Thursday, defeating Pepperdine easily Friday afternoon. There were no games Saturday because of the men's quarterfinals.

The Cougar's biggest self-imposed concern was 21 turnovers against the Waves, the weakest of the 10 WCC teams that had also played the previous day.

"They're a real scary team," Judkins said of the Tigers, who are in their first WCC season. "They're athletic, quick. They want to speed you up. The advantage we have is our size."

Judkins did express some concern at a slight disadvantage for his 25-5 team: Like every sport at BYU, the team wouldn't practice Sunday.

A typical Sunday was called for with church service and some team meetings in the evening to go over the game plan. There would be no on-court time.

The coach pointed out the Cougars did play one Monday game, early in conference play — another easy win against Pepperdine.

"(Sunday) is going to be a hard day," Judkins said during a break from watching the men's game Saturday afternoon, concerned about affected routines.

"But we don't want to change what we're doing," he said.

No wonder why: BYU has won nine consecutive games, a streak that started with the road win at Pacific on Feb. 1.

No. 2 BYU vs. No. 3 Pacific

2 p.m. PST, Orleans Arena, Las Vegas

TV: BYUtv

Tip-ins: The teams split their two-game series during the regular season, each winning on the road. ...KiKi Moore paces Pacific, and she had 28 points in a quarterfinal win Friday against Portland.

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