PROVO, Utah – The Gonzaga University women’s basketball team dropped a 62-52 decision to BYU Saturday afternoon at the Marriott Center in Provo, Utah. The 10-point loss halted the Bulldogs 13-game winning streak and put their overall mark at 23-4 and 13-2 in West Coast Conference. The Cougars improved to 21-5 on the year and 11-4 in league.
It was the second half play of BYU’s Jennifer Hamson that propelled the Cougars to overcome a 6-point halftime deficit and earn the victory over the league-leading Bulldogs. Hamson – who was held to just two points in the opening half - scored 18 of BYU’s 35 points in the final stanza, including a stretch where she scored 12-straight. She hit 4-of-5 from the field and a perfect 10-of-10 from the charity stripe. The 6-7 center also grabbed four rebounds and blocked five shots in the crucial half.
For their part, the Bulldogs had an uncharacteristic bad shooting half in the final 20 minutes. Gonzaga shot 15.4 percent from the field, hitting just 6-of-39 from the floor. The Zags went the final 5:15 of game without a field goal, missing their final 10 field goal attempts.
Gonzaga had held the lead until there was eight minutes remaining in the contest. A 6-point edge at 44-38 wasn’t safe though as Hamson rattled off eight points of a 10-point run that gave the Cougars the 48-44 advantage with 6:58 to play.
The Bulldogs battled back to get within two of the lead – after a 3-pointer by senior guard Jazmine Redmon put the score at 52-50 with the fateful 5:15 remaining. Gonzaga actually forced BYU to take a bad shot and had the ball to either tie or take the lead but a mid-range jumper by senior Haiden Palmer was off the mark
A dagger 3-poiner by Cougar Kim Beeston on the next possession put their lead back to five with four to play and deflated the Bulldogs. Gonzaga would not score again until junior Lindsay Sherbert sank two free throws with 28 ticks remaining and the game was already out of reach.
After Gonzaga scored 33 points in the opening half, it was held to a season-tying low 19.
Redmon and Palmer were the offensive for Gonzaga early in the first half, combining for the Zags first 10 points. The 10 points came right in a row for the senior guard duo and turned an early 3-0 deficit into a 10-3 advantage at 16:26.
Four minutes later Gonzaga had pushed their edge to double-digits at 17-7. Junior Keani Albanez drained a 3-pointer at 12:39 to cap off a quick 6-2 run and give the Bulldogs their 10-point advantage.
Gonzaga continued to hold a double-digit lead – at 26-16 with 6:05 remaining – but the Cougars rattled off an 11-3 spurt of their own to slice the Zags edge to just two points with 2:12 left in the opening stanza. BYU’s leading scorer Hamson hit her only field goal during the spurt.
Two big plays by Sherbert allowed the Bulldogs to go into intermission leading by six at 33-27. Sherbert drained a mid-range jumper as the shot clock expired and, one the next play, forced a steal and drove the floor for the fast-break lay-in.
The Bulldogs got 29 more shots off than BYU and held the 47-36 rebounding advantage, including the impressive 24-5 edge in offensive boards. Gonzaga did score 19 second chance points, to the Cougars four, but hit a season-low 25.4 percent (18-of-71) from the field. BYU sank 40.5 percent (17-of-42) from the floor and hit 25-of-31 free throws to the Bulldogs 11-of-15.
Redmon led the Bulldogs with a season-high 15 points. She hit 6-of-11 from the field, including 3-of-4 3-pointers. She also had five rebounds and one steal. Palmer added seven points, a game-tying high 10 rebounds, along with four steals and three assists.
Hamson ended the game with 20 points, eight rebounds and seven blocks. Lexi Eaton added a double-double of 15 points and 10 rebounds.
The Bulldogs look to rebound Saturday, Feb. 22 when they host the University of Portland at the McCarthey Athletic Center. Game time is set for 2 p.m.