PROVO — For BYU women's basketball head coach Jeff Judkins, having a pair of senior guards is wonderful. This is especially true when the Cougars turn the ball over 23 times against an in-state opponent.
Thanks to the senior duo of Malia Nawahine and Cassie Broadhead Devashrayee, the Cougars were able to overcome the turnover bug and knock off crosstown foe UVU 75-54 Tuesday afternoon in the Marriott Center.
"First of all, I'm pretty proud of our team in some areas," Judkins said. "I thought we shot the ball very well tonight. I kind of figured we would because of their zone. This is probably the first time in a long, long time I've got three really good perimeter shooters that I think are confident and can shoot the three."
Nawahine hit five 3-pointers en route to a game-high 21 points and Devashrayee recorded her first-ever double-double with 11 points and a career-high 12 assists as the Cougars shot 59.2 percent from the field.
As a team, BYU had 26 assists on 29 baskets in the win.
"Shalae, Malia, Brenna, they made baskets, so it's really a credit to them," Devashrayee said. "They're just doing a box-and-1 on me to start, so there was no help, so we recognized that and we just had to swing the ball quick and they (UVU) had to come out of it because we got out to an 8-0 lead really quick."
Two other Cougars finished in double digits. Brenna Chase was 4-of-9 from 3-point range and scored 16 points. Shalae Salmon had a 10-point, eight-rebound night.
The win is the eighth straight for the Cougars over their neighbors to the west and improves their season record to 3-1. UVU drops to 0-4.
The Cougars jumped out to an early 11-2 lead thanks to 3-pointers from Nawahine and Chase and increased that lead to 18-8 midway through the quarter. Nawahine and Chase combined for 16 points in the quarter as the Cougars led 21-14 after the first frame.
In the second quarter, UVU went absolutely cold, shooting a miserable 1 of 11 and going more than four minutes without scoring. BYU didn't fare much better, only scoring 11 points in the quarter. However, it was enough as the Cougars went into halftime with a 32-19 lead.
Coming out of halftime, UVU got within 11 with 6:31 left in the third quarter when Gabrielle Leos converted the and-1 play, but it was as close as the Wolverines would get.
BYU answered with a 10-2 run to extend the lead to 47-28 with 3:17 left in the quarter capped off when Nawahine hit her lone 3-pointer of the second half.
With UVU struggling to hit shots in both the second and fourth quarters, BYU took advantage. The Cougars outscored the Wolverines 11-5 in the second quarter and 20-15 in the final frame and it was the difference.
UVU forced 23 turnovers and attempted 64 shots. Unfortunately for the Wolverines, the shots wouldn't fall. The Wolverines shot just 28.1 percent from the field, including a 1-of-11 shooting performance in the second quarter.
"You want to create opportunities, and I thought we had them," UVU head coach Cathy Nixon said. "We forced 23 turnovers and had 64 shots to their 49. A few of their shots dropped that didn't for us."
BYU went 8 for 10 in the fourth quarter to really put the game away. UVU cut the deficit to 13 twice in the quarter but a 5-0 run and 7-0 run killed the rally both times.
Leos led UVU with a career-high 16 points to go along with a team-high five rebounds. No other Wolverine scored in double figures.
The Cougars host SEC foe Georgia on Saturday afternoon, while UVU caps off its five-game road trip to open the season at Eastern Washington.
Kyle McDonald is sports fan who loves the Chicago Cubs. Follow him on Twitter at @kylesportsbias