PROVO, Utah-The BYU women’s basketball team dominated in the paint and had five players in double-digits to defeat Dixie State 79-57 in its second exhibition game of the season Friday night at the Marriott Center.
“This was what we wanted,” BYU head coach Jeff Judkins said. “We wanted the game to challenge us. They are a great team and they’ll probably win their league. They were able to get us out of our rhythm. The game allowed a lot of the young kids to see what their role on the team is and decide whether or not they want to play or redshirt their first year.”
BYU scored 36 of its 79 points in the paint and was led by Haley Steed with 15 points and seven assists. Kim Parker Beeston and Lexi Eaton scored 14 points each, while Keilani Unga and Ashley Garfield each added 10 points.
Four minutes into the game, Garfield scored back-to-back points for the Cougars to lift them to a 9-6 lead. Beeston scored BYU’s first three of the game at 16:03 and then Steed followed suit a minute later to give BYU the 16-12 lead heading into the first media timeout.
Both teams fell into a scoring slump at 10:48, which ended on a score in the post at 8:24 from Dixie State to cut the Cougar lead to seven at 26-19. However, BYU answered quickly with a 3-point shot from Kylie Maeda to extend the Cougar lead back to 10. Beeston added another three at 6:37 on an inbound pass from Steed to take the score to 32-21. BYU added four more points to head into the locker room at the half with the 43-32 lead.
The Cougars started the second half on a layup from Eaton 10 seconds in and added two more at 18:46 with a put back from Unga. Dixie State cut the Cougar lead to eight at 16:37 with a jump shot from Mandy Munns, but Steed answered once again with a 3-point shot to push the Cougar lead back to double-digits.
BYU was quiet on offense until the 13:15 mark when Garfield sunk two free throws to put BYU up 52-45. The Cougars added eight more points in four minutes to earn their biggest lead of the night at 68-53 with 4:47 left in the game. Dixie State cut the lead with a two-point jumper at 3:38, but Xojian Harry converted at the top of the arc to extend the BYU lead to 16.
The Cougars held onto the double-digit lead during the final three minutes, converting on another Dixie State technical and staying tough on defense to earn the 79-57 win.
BYU will play Weber State next in the Cougars' home and season opener on Nov. 9 at 3 p.m. MST.
In preparation for the upcoming 2012-13 basketball season, the Cougar women’s team has scheduled two exhibition games this week.
BYU hosts Chadron State on Thurs. Nov. 1 and instate foe Dixie State on Fri. Nov. 2. Both games tip off at 7 p.m., and admission is free.
The Cougars had a hugely successful season last year compiling a 26-7, 12-4 record that included a second place finish in the WCC regular season race and a league tournament title. BYU also competed in the NCAA tournament playing a first round game at DePaul.
Returning starters Haley Steed, Kim Parker Beeston and Lexi Eaton will be the cornerstone of the team that returns 10 letterwinners. Steed was named the 2012 WCC tournament MVP, Beeston picked up two WCC Player of the Week citations and Eaton was the WCC Co-Newcomer of the Year and was named to the WCC All-Freshman Team. Among the letterwinners is junior center Jennifer Hamson who was third on the team in scoring, second in rebounding and led the team in blocks.
Also back for her third year is junior Stephanie Vermunt Seaborn who played in all games averaging 6.5 points and 2.2 rebounds per game. Other experienced players that will strengthen the Cougar lineup are Stephanie Rovetti and Morgan Bailey, redshirts from the 2010-11 year. Two others who gained valuable experience as freshmen last year, Xojian Harry and Ashley Garfield, return for another season. Cougar fans will also see a familiar face on the court in 2012-13 in Keilani Moeaki Unga who last played for BYU in 2009-10. That year Unga averaged 4.4 points and 2.2 rebounds a game.
Four highly touted freshmen including two in-state standouts, begin their college careers this fall. Utahns Micaelee Orton and Makenzi Morrison will be joined by Kylie Maeda from Honolulu, and Kristine Fuller from Crystal Beach, Fla.
Chadron State compiled an 8-18, 8-14 mark last year. They return five letterwinners and one starter.
Dixie State College tallied an 18-8, 13-5 record in the 2011-12 campaign. From that team, six letterwinners are back including three starters.
Both of the exhibition games are slated to air live on BYUtv.
The Cougars officially open the 2012-13 campaign hosting instate rival Weber State on Fri., Nov. 9 at 3 p.m.