BYU women's basketball gave up just two points in the final quarter to secure a 57-43 win over Pepperdine Tuesday night at Firestone Fieldhouse.
"It was a good win," BYU head coach Jeff Judkins said. "Even though we didn't play to our full potential tonight we sure defended. Sara (Hamson) took the middle away and we did a really good job of fighting through ball screens. I'm happy for the team being able to fight through a game like this."
The Cougars (12-3, 8-2) led by as many as 17 points in the opening period before the Waves (3-13, 0-12) fought back to within four at the end of the third quarter. Fueled by 11 fourth-quarter points from Paisley Johnson Harding, BYU then outscored Pepperdine 12-2 in the final period to seal the win.
Harding led all scorers with 20 points, knocking down 5 of her 10 three-point attempts, to go along with five assists and a season-high five rebounds. Shaylee Gonzales filled the stat sheet with 16 points, seven rebounds, three assists, two steals and a block, while Lauren Gustin had a game-high 10 rebounds and eight points.
Hamson tallied nine blocks on the night, tying her career high, while adding five rebounds, a pair of steals and two points.
An Albiero trey from the left wing capped a 7-0 BYU run to start the game. The Cougars continued to dominate early on both sides of the floor, as a pair of 3-pointers by Graham and another from Harding gave BYU a 22-8 advantage at the end of the first quarter. The Cougars held Pacific to just 15.4% shooting from the floor during the first 10 minutes.
The Waves tightened things up in the second quarter, using a 10-2 run to cut BYU's lead to six, 24-18. The Cougars, however, caught fire from distance to end the half as Harding drained a pair of deep 3-pointers from the right wing and Gonzales added another from the top of the key. Harding then found a cutting Hamson for a lay-in just before the break to give BYU a 35-24 halftime lead.
Layups by Gustin and Gonzales put the Cougars up 14 early in the third but a 14-4 Pepperdine run brought the Waves within four, 45-41, heading into the final period.
Harding continued her hot shooting from deep to start the fourth, knocking down a pair of triples to extend BYU's advantage to 12, 53-41. A Harding midrange jumper then put the Cougars up 15, 56-41, with 2:44 left. BYU gave up just two points throughout the entire fourth quarter, as a Harding free throw sealed the 57-43 Cougar win.
BYU continues its three-game road trip this week as it takes on Pacific on Thursday, Feb. 11, at 8 p.m. MT. The contest will be streamed live on the WCC Network.