Jackrabbits falter in season opener at BYU
PROVO, Utah – Brigham Young broke the game open with a 19-3 run late in the first half and maintained a double-digit advantage nearly the rest of the way en route to an 81-53 victory over South Dakota State in the women’s basketball season opener for both teams Friday afternoon at the Marriott Center.
The game between a pair of postseason qualifiers a season ago was closely contested for the first 10 minutes. After trailing 9-4 early on, the Jackrabbits grabbed an 16-14 lead on a three-pointer by Kerri Young with 11 minutes, 35 seconds to play in the front half.
BYU then put together its big run, outscoring the Jackrabbits by 16 points over the next seven minutes. Kim Beeston finished off the run with two of her game-high six three-pointers for the Cougars.
Megan Waytashek hit back-to-back triples to pull SDSU back to within eight at 33-25 moments later, but the Cougars scored the final eight points of the half to lead 41-25 heading into intermission.
Hannah Strop connected on a three-pointer to open the scoring in the second half, but the Jackrabbits could get no closer than 13 points the rest of the way. Three-pointers on back-to-back BYU possessions by Lexi Eaton and Kim Beeston quickly pushed the margin back to 21.
BYU’s largest lead of the day was 32 points, 73-41, after a layup by Xojian Harry with 6:34 to play.
The Jackrabbits were more successful shooting from hehind the arc against the much-taller BYU squad as 11 of their 17 field goals in the game were of the three-point variety. SDSU was 17-of-62 overall from the field, 27.4 percent, but was 11-of-23 from three-point range. At the line, the Jackrabbits made 8-of-12 attempts, 66.7 percent.
Waytashek was the lone Jackrabbit in double figures with 12 points — all on first-half three-pointers. Rachel Walters contributed nine points off the bench, going 3-for-5 from three-point range.
Beeston and Eaton shared game-high honors with 18 points to lead four Cougars in double figures. Morgan Bailey added 13 points, while Jennifer Hamson posted a double-double with 13 points and a game-high 10 rebounds.
BYU held a 46-39 advantage on the boards. Freshman Clariss Ober led the Jackrabbits with five rebounds, including three on the offensive end.
The Cougars were 29-of-62 from the field, 46.8 percent, including 9-for-19 from long range. BYU made 14-of-20 free throw attempts for 70 percent.
Turnovers also plagued SDSU on the offensive end as the Jackrabbits committed 22 turnovers, compared to 16 by BYU.
SDSU returns to action Tuesday at Creighton. Tipoff is set for 7:05 p.m. at D.J. Sokol Arena on the Creighton University campus in Omaha, Neb.
NOTES: Friday’s game marked the first meeting between SDSU and BYU in women’s basketball … the Jackrabbits dropped to 2-1 against West Coast Conference opponents … after winning 19 consecutive season openers from 1993-2011, the Jackrabbits have lost their last two season openers — both of which have been on the road or at neutral sites … the Jackrabbits held a 24-17 advantage in bench points … Gabrielle Boever was credited with four steals … five different Jackrabbit players made three-pointers, including Strop, who hit trifectas on the opening possession of each half … attendance was 648