LOS ANGELES – Lexi Eaton scored 25 points, Jennifer Hamson finished one block shy of a triple-double and 12th-seeded BYU upset No. 5 North Carolina State 72-57 in the first round of the NCAA women’s tournament on Saturday.
The Cougars (27-6) will face fourth-seeded Nebraska in the second round on Monday at Pauley Pavilion on UCLA’s campus.
Hamson, the West Coast Conference Player of the Year, finished with 12 points and tied her career-highs with 19 rebounds and nine blocks.
Kylie Maeda added 14 points and Morgan Bradley has 13 for BYU, which picked up its 11th win in 12 games and its first tournament win since 2006.
Miah Spencer scored 16 points to lead the Wolfpack (25-8), who lost in the first round for the fourth time in their last five tournament appearances.
NC State shot a season-worst 27.4 percent from the field in its second-lowest scoring output of the season.
Led by the 6-foot-7 Hamson, the Cougars outrebounded the Wolfpack 52-37 and blocked a season-high 15 shots.
Eaton had eight rebounds and four assists while Kylie Maeda added 14 points and four rebounds.
Hamson entered averaging four blocks per game, second-best in the nation. She surpassed that mark by halftime, swatting away five shots in the opening half.
Those blocks, plus 17 points from Eaton, helped BYU get out to 33-26 halftime lead. The Cougars finished the half on an 11-2 run, with Eaton accounting for seven of those points.
N.C. State dug itself an early hole by shooting just 23.5 percent (8 of 34) from the floor in the first half, including 2 of 11 from three-point range.
The Wolfpack had a promising start to the second half, cutting the deficit to five at 38-33 with 16:41 to go.
BYU quickly squashed that momentum though, reeling off a 24-8 run to take a commanding 62-41 lead with 5:30 to go. Four different players scored in the Cougars’ spurt, topped by eight points apiece from Hamson and Kylie Maeda.
Spencer tried to engineer a comeback, recording five points and an assist in a 10-2 NC State run, but it was too little too late.
Markeisha Gatling contributed 11 points and eight rebounds and Len’nique Brown had 10 points and five assists for the Wolfpack, who lost five of their final eight games.