PORTLAND, Ore. — Four different BYU players reached double figures in scoring as in a 66-54 road win at Portland Thursday night.
The Cougars won their sixth game in a row since losing back-to-back games at home to Gonzaga and Portland the first week of January.
"This was a scrappy game, real physical and fast," BYU head coach Jeff Judkins said. "We played great defense and didn’t let them get any easy baskets. I thought Sara (Hamson) played her best game since I’ve coached her both offensively and defensively. I thought Jasmine (Moody) and Babalu (Ugwu) played really well tonight and gave us a good lift and made baskets when we needed them to. I also thought Brenna (Drollinger) handled their pressure really well tonight.
Hamson led the Cougars (13-7, 8-2) with her fourth double-double of the season, recording 14 points and 10 rebounds to go along with a season-high nine blocks and one steal. Paisley Johnson followed with 12 points while adding six rebounds, five assists and three steals. Jasmine Moody had 11 points and four rebounds while Maria Albiero contributed 10 points and six assists.
As a team, BYU shot 52 percent from the floor on the night while holding the Pilots (13-8, 6-4) to just 33 percent. The Cougars also dominated down low, scoring 46 points in the paint to Portland’s 22.
Hamson and Babalu Ugwu opened the scoring for BYU with consecutive baskets in the paint to put the Cougars up 4-3 two minutes into the contest. Back-to-back fast-break layups by Johnson and Brenna Chase Drollinger increased BYU’s lead to five, 8-3. Teams then traded baskets to close the first quarter, with Johnson hitting a mid-range jumper to put the Cougars up 14-10.
A put-back lay-in by Moody followed by a pair of free throws by Albiero brought the score to 18-14 for BYU two minutes into the second quarter. Another basket down low by Moody and an Albiero triple from the left wing then put the Cougars up seven, 23-16.
Portland answered with a 9-3 run to take a 27-26 advantage with two minutes left in the first half. Back-to-back layups by Moody and Albiero then put BYU up 30-27, but the Pilots scored the final four points of the half to take a 31-30 advantage into the locker room.
The Cougars came out strong to open the second half, with a deep trey by Albiero and a fast-break layup by Johnson highlighting a 9-0 run to put BYU up 39-30. Consecutive fast-break layups by Hamson and Kaylee Smiler followed by another Hamson layup then gave the Cougars a 45-35 lead.
Ugwu pulled up and nailed a mid-range jumper to extend BYU’s lead to 12, 47-35, with three minutes left in the third quarter. Ugwu proceeded to score two more baskets, making a layup off an inbounds play and hitting another mid-range jumper to put the Cougars up 51-38. Portland responded with five unanswered points to cut BYU’s lead to eight, 51-43, at the end of the third period.
Consecutive baskets down low by Hamson and Moody put the Cougars up 10, 55-45, midway through the fourth quarter. Drollinger then hit a deep 3-pointer to increase BYU’s advantage to 13, 58-45.
Drollinger got a contested layup to fall to give the Cougars a 60-46 lead with 3:08 remaining. After a 6-0 Pilot run cut BYU’s lead to eight, Johnson found Hamson for a wide-open layup on a fast break to put the Cougars up 62-52 with 1:12 left.
After Portland made one final shot to cut BYU’s lead to eight with 53 seconds remaining, Johnson converted four consecutive free throws to close out the 66-54 win.
The Cougars remain on the road this weekend to take on No. 12 Gonzaga on Saturday, Feb. 1, at 2 p.m. PST at the McCarthey Athletic Center.