BYU Women's basketball vs. Saint Mary's 16

Brigham Young University head coach Jeff Judkins talks with center Sara Hamson (22) as the Cougars take foul shots during a game between the Brigham Young University Cougars and the Saint Mary's College Gaels held Thursday, Feb. 7, 2019, at the Marriott Center in Provo. Isaac Hale, Daily Herald

Double-doubles from Shalae Salmon, Sara Hamson and Babalu Ugwu helped BYU women's basketball to a 71-65 win over Fresno State Thursday night at Save Smart Center.

"This is a good road win for us and I thought for three quarters we played really well," BYU head coach Jeff Judkins said. "We saw a lot of positives tonight. Shalae was very physical inside and made some nice passes. Sara was active in scoring and she had some great blocks and rebounds in the game."

In her first start of the year, Salmon tallied her first career double-double leading all scorers with 16 points and adding 11 rebounds. Hamson also recorded her first career double-double tallying 11 points and 14 rebounds while Ugwu had 10 points and 11 rebounds for her first career double-double. Paisley Johnson scored 15 points for BYU with four rebounds and four assists.

The Cougars got an early lead 7-2 with a 3-pointer from Brenna Chase Drollinger, immediately followed by a layup from Hamson. The Bulldogs were able to come from behind tying up the game at 9-9 with two free-throws and a trey of their own. However, BYU quickly transitioned to offense going on a 10-0 run to take its first double-digit lead ending the first quarter at 19-9.

In the second quarter, Drollinger added another bucket to the Cougars run to make the score 21-9. Fresno State ended its scoring drought with two free-throws but BYU countered with two of its own to keep its double-digit lead at 23-11. The Cougars continued to put up points going on a 7-0 streak making it a 17-point game at 32-11 with just under four minutes left in the quarter.

After a Bulldog timeout, Fresno State came out strong going on a 9-0 run to bring the score within eight points at 32-24. BYU regained control with two free-throws from Johnson and a layup from Drollinger to end the half with a 12-point lead over Fresno State at 36-24.

The Cougars went into halftime shooting a 40 percent clip from the paint with a 42.9 shooting percentage from the 3-point line. BYU was able to hold the Bulldogs to a 3-point shooting percentage of only 11.1 as well as a 27.3 field goal clip. Hamson out-rebounded the entire Bulldogs team tallying nine rebounds of her own in the first half to Fresno State's four.

To start the second half, Salmon sank a shot from the paint increasing BYU's lead to 38-26. Four straight Bulldog free-throws brought the score within 10 points at 38-28 and the two teams traded points before two layups from Ugwu, a 3-pointer from Maria Albiero and a layup from Hamson made the score 53-34. The third quarter ended with BYU ahead by 16 points at 55-39.

BYU got its first 20-point lead early in the final quarter as Salmon made a layup followed by a bucket from Ugwu to make the score 59-39.

However, the Bulldogs made a late surge in the fourth quarter coming from behind. Four-straight 3-pointers from Fresno State brought the game to within six points with 42 seconds left in the game. They added two free-throws bringing the game to within five points at 68-63 with 15 seconds left on the clock.

BYU was able to hold off the Bulldogs for the rest of the game taking the 71-65 win as Drollinger hit a free throw with four seconds left in the game.

The Cougars returns home to take on in-state foe Utah State on Tuesday, Nov. 26 at 11 a.m. MT in the Marriott Center. The game will be broadcast live on BYUtv.

Follow Darnell Dickson on Twitter @darnellwrites or e-mail him at ddickson@heraldextra.com.

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