Women's basketball: BYU whips No. 19 Gonzaga, 70-40
Provo • Jeff Judkins didn't sugarcoat the consequences of Thursday's league fracas against visiting Gonzaga.
"I wanted them to know it was an important game," the BYU women's coach said.
So, prepped and ready, the confident Cougars waited for the West Coast Conference-leading Bulldogs.
BYU is still waiting. The team wearing the Gonzaga blue resembled nothing like a 19th-ranked team. The Cougars blew the Bulldogs right out of the Marriott Center, 70-40.
Gonzaga's usually dominant big players were outplayed by BYU's posts. The Cougars' 6-foot-7 Jennifer Hamson scored 14 points, but she completely changed the game's psychological tone with her length and ability to block and alter shots.
"I feel so confident about all our bigs," said BYU post Dani Peterson, who had 10 rebounds and a block of her own. "Jen offers more than any one else. I love it when she blocks shots."
Hansom was credited with swatting away three shots. Before she entered the game five minutes in, the Bulldogs were dominating the offensive glass.
"They completely outplayed us underneath," Gonzaga coach Kelly Graves said. "It wasn't even close."
Meanwhile, Kim Parker and Kristen Riley combined for 27 points and 15 rebounds.
The victory put BYU (22-4, 10-2) right back into a first-place tie with Gonzaga (21-4, 10-2). Should both teams hold serve, they will meet again at season's end with the WCC title on the line. On Thursday, however, with memories of last year's 91-64 loss still fresh in their minds, the Cougars won with unrelenting defense.
"I'm so proud of our bigs," said BYU guard Haley Steed, whose 10 assists moved her into third place all-time for a career. "Everything runs through those bigs for Gonzaga. Our bigs stepped up and made some big-time plays."
BYU's 20-0 run midway through the second half blew open what had been a close game. Cougar depth was also a factor as their bench outscored Gonzaga by 19 points.
"Tonight was the best defensive efforts I've coached in a long, long time," Judkins said. "We were physical. We executed the plan very well."
Gonzaga, frigid cold from the floor, shooting 22 percent for the game, which was an improvement from the first half. Some of that was BYU defense. Gonzaga also missed a ton of chippies.
"It was our night," Judkins said. "Some nights you have those, the ball bounces your way."
R BYU defeats a ranked opponent for the first time since beating No. 4 Stanford in 2006.
• Gonzaga shoots 15 percent in the first half and 22 percent for the game.
• Haley Steed's 10 assists move her into third place on the all-time BYU career list with 507.