The San Francisco women’s basketball team upset BYU with a 65-56 victory Saturday afternoon in front of an energetic crowd of 557 at War Memorial Gym. The Dons improved to 9-11 on the season (2-5 in Conference play) and BYU fell to 13-6 overall (4-2 in the WCC).
The Dons were led by two of their youngest players: freshman guard Zhané Dikes and freshman forward Taylor Proctor. Dikes had 19 points and seven rebounds, and Proctor added 17 points, eight rebounds, and a pair of assists, blocks, and steals.
Senior guard Mel Khlok also notched 14 points and five assists in the win.
Saturday’s victory was surprising, given that BYU pummeled the Dons to an 80-58 victory Jan. 5 in Utah.
“Last game [against BYU], it didn’t seem like we wanted it, and we didn’t really get after it,” Dikes said after Saturday’s win.
“But this game, you saw it in our eyes. I saw fire in my teammates’ eyes. We really just wanted it. We went hard every possession,” she said.
The Dons jumped out to an early 12-5 advantage and led 33-17 at halftime following an 11-0 run to close out the half.
Despite the big lead, Head Coach Jennifer Azzi did not want her players feeling too comfortable.
“We went in the locker room and wrote up ‘0-0’”, Azzi said after the game.
“We [couldn’t] think about the first half. However, [we had] confidence from the first half because our defense was outstanding.”
Indeed, San Francisco held BYU to 24.1% shooting through the first 20 minutes of play.
BYU scored seven unanswered points to open the second half, however, trimming the Dons’ lead to 33-24. BYU graduate guard Haley Steed, who lead the NCAA as of Jan. 24 with 8.0 assists per game, hit a deep three that reduced USF’s lead to 49-45 with 7:58 remaining. Another three-pointer from Steed and a BYU layup made it 58-53 Dons with 2:16 left to play. Steed collected 13 of her 19 points, two of her three assists, and all five of her steals in the second half.
“I didn’t get nervous. I knew we’d shake it off. We didn’t let that rattle us at all,” Dikes said of BYU’s comeback efforts.
Dikes hit a key jumper that made it 60-53 Dons with 1:39 remaining, and San Francisco made five free throws in the final minute to wrap up the 65-56 victory.
Azzi spoke highly of both teams after the game.
“BYU is such a good program, so for us to beat that caliber of a team…was pretty outstanding. I’m really proud of our players,” she said.
She also complimented her emerging freshmen.
“[Proctor] had a tremendous game. I think she’s getting better at reading what the defense is giving her…She’s becoming more of a complete player and she wants it,” Azzi said.
“Both [Dikes and Proctor] are so open to getting better. They’ll stay after practice, they’ll work on anything they need to work on, they’ll come in and watch film…They’re into it, and that’s what’s exciting because…the big change [when becoming a successful program] is when the players really start to own the program,” Azzi said.
With the win, San Francisco improved to 7-3 overall (2-1 in Conference play) at War Memorial Gym this season.
“We had a really good crowd today…that helps our energy a lot,” Azzi said.
“[Playing at home] just brings a whole new energy. Once we get that same intensity away, we’ll be a great team,” Dikes said after the game.
San Francisco hosts WCC opponent San Diego this Saturday, February 2nd, at 2 p.m.