Provo • There must be something in the Hamson genes. Or better yet, it must be in the Spaulding genes.
Either way, last week Sara Hamson became only the third player in BYU women’s basketball history to reach 300 blocks.
The other two players? Her older sister Jennifer Hamson and mother, Tresa Spaulding Hamson — a former All-American.
Hamson, who so far has 308 career blocks as a junior, is on pace to break her sister’s total of 340. Her mom’s school record (494), however, looks to stay intact. The Cougars have four regular-season games left — and will next play at Santa Clara this Thursday — before playing in the West Coast Conference tournament, and possibly making another run at the NCAA Tournament.
“They did an amazing job and were amazing players when they were here — and are still,” Hamson said. “It’s been super fun to just have this fun thing in our family. It’s pretty special.”
So far this season, Hamson leads the nation with 109 blocks. At BYU, the next-best total this season is Shalae Salmon’s 15.
But Hamson helps the Cougars out with more than just swatting down opponents’ shots. The 6-foot-7 center also leads BYU in rebounds (8.1) and is shooting 58% from the field, averaging 7.3 points per game.
Hamson has also started in all 24 games played this season, a huge jump in starts compared with her two previous seasons. Coach Jeff Judkins said her growth this season has been made possible from dedicating herself solely to basketball.
As a freshman and sophomore, Hamson also played on the BYU volleyball team and split her time between the programs. This year, she decided to play only basketball — and so far her decision is paying off.
“By doing that, first of all, she got in a lot better shape,” Judkins said. “She got in basketball shape to really help her where she could play longer minutes and be more healthy and not have problems with her body. The second thing that’s helped, by not doing that, she’s been able to get her timing down better with reading things, doing things and being more [alert] when plays come and knowing things.”
Judkins would like to see Hamson become the team’s most complete player. The junior is already the best defensive player in the WCC, but he’d like her to improve on the offensive side.
Part of that offensive growth has already started this season, as Hamson is averaging more than two points above her career average.
“I think it’s pretty obvious, she changes the game completely with her length,” Judkins said. “But she’s now becoming more of an offensive threat, becoming more of a well-rounded player — and that’s what we want. I think she’s growing and growing and hopefully next year she’ll be putting up the double-doubles a lot, maybe even the triple-doubles with blocked shots.”
Hamson has tried to develop an offensive mentality, but she continues to struggle with it. The biggest issue, Hamson said, is that she forgets that she’s a shooting option.
“My teammates have been really great about encouraging me and putting that confidence in me that it's something I can do,” Hamson said. “That's super helpful.”
With the success Hamson has already had this season by focusing on basketball, Judkins is excited for what she can do next year as a senior.
He hopes she’s able to start scoring more points while continuing to be a force on the other side of the court. And he would like to see Hamson get into the WNBA, just like he saw Jennifer Hamson get drafted in the second round of the 2014 WNBA draft by the Los Angeles Sparks.
For Hamson, she mostly wants to accomplish one thing before she leaves BYU.
“Hopefully I can beat Jen’s blocking record and then maybe have a shot at mom’s,” Hamson said. “I don’t know, she set it pretty high. We’ll see. And then, as a team, see how far we can get, keep going as far as we can go and maybe get another ring.”