State college basketball • After slow start, Cougars cruise to WCC victory.
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The BYU women's basketball team heated up in the second half to beat Pepperdine 67-44 in a West Coast Conference game Saturday in Malibu, Calif.
Kim Parker Beeston led the Cougars (18-7, 9-3) with 16 points, going 5-for-8 from 3-point range, while Keilani Unga scored 14 points, Morgan Bailey scored 12 and Jennifer Hamson added 10.
BYU led 25-24 at halftime before pulling away in the second half. The Cougars shot 45 percent overall from the field, and 60.7 percent in the second half. They shot 72.7 percent on 3-pointers in the second half.
Kelsey Brockway led Pepperdine (4-19, 1-11) with 10 points.
"I liked our defense in the second half; we held them to seven or eight points for eight or 10 minutes," BYU coach Jeff Judkins said. "I thought our defensive intensity was better in the second half. I think we're playing a lot better than we have been. A lot of players have stepped up."
Haley Steed had a game-high seven assists for BYU.
New Mexico State 106, Utah State 94 • In Las Cruces, N.M., the southern Aggies (11-14, 5-10 Western Athletic Conference) snapped Utah State's eight-game winning streak by erupting for 67 points in the second half after the game was tied 39-39 at intermission.
Devyn Christensen scored 23 points to lead USU (14-11, 11-3), while Jennifer Schlott scored 18, Franny Vaaulu scored 16 and Jenna Johnson added 10.
Stefanie Gilbreath scored 27 points to lead five NMSU players in double figures.
Montana State 69, Weber State 65 • In Bozeman, Mont., the Wildcats suffered their 43rd straight loss, despite getting a career-high 16 points from freshman Regina Okoye.
Utah Valley 51, Texas-Pan American 50 • In Edinburg, Texas, Sammie Jensen tallied 21 points and 21 rebounds, and scored on a baseline layup with 2.6 seconds remaining to lift the Wolverines (11-14, 5-1 Great West Conference) to the win. Jensen set a school record with her 17th double-double of the season, breaking a tie with Robyn Fairbanks, who had 16 in 2008-09.
Eastern Washington 78, Southern Utah 70 • In Cedar City, SUU squandered a nine-point lead in the second half of the Big Sky Conference game. Andrea Jones came off the bench to lead Southern Utah (12-13, 6-9) with 20 points. Jones made 6 of 9 shots from the field, including 4 of 6 from 3-point range. Kimie Hawkins added 13 points for the Thunderbirds.
North Idaho College 55, SLCC 53 • Rachel Morris led Salt Lake Community College (16-10, 7-6 Scenic West Athletic Conference) with 13 points and 13 rebounds, while Katie Richens added 11 points in the losing effort against the first-place Cardinals (27-2, 13-1).
NJIT 63, Utah Valley 55 • In Newark, N.J., Jason Johnson led UVU with 16 points, but the Wolverines' rally came up short in the Great West Conference game. After trailing by 13 points at halftime, UVU cut the deficit to four points with 6:34 remaining but could not get any closer.
Zach Jones scored 14 points for UVU (12-14, 2-4), and Ben Aird added 11 with nine rebounds.
Ryan Woods led NJIT (14-11, 5-1) with 14 points.
Eastern Washington 86, Southern Utah 72 • In Cheney, Wash., Jackson Stevenett scored 26 points and A.J. Hess added a career-high 24 for SUU (10-15, 8-8 Big Sky), but the Thunderbirds lost to the hot-shooting Eagles, who made 53.7 percent of their attempts.
EWU hit 13 of 26 shots in the first half and bettered that in the second half, hitting 16 of 28 after the break.
"Eastern Washington was very aggressive offensively in the first half," SUU coach Nick Robinson said. "I thought we did a decent job defensively, but they were able to knock down some open threes at opportune times and that allowed them to get a little bit of a lead and they sustained it. I thought we played hard for 40 minutes tonight. We were down a couple of guys at the tail end of the game but I thought we played hard, we just didn't play very smart at times throughout the game."
SLCC 74, North Idaho College 69 • Gary Payton II scored 23 points, including a buzzer-beating halfcourt shot to end the first half, to lead host Salt Lake Community College to the win. Payton also grabbed 10 rebounds in the game. JuWan Buchanan scored 14 points for the Bruins, and Skyler Halford added 13.