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Sellout crowd will watch GU host BYU

Brigham Young University’s women’s basketball team reacted to leading scorer Lexi Eaton’s season-ending injury in an unusual way.

The Cougars went out and won nine consecutive games.

BYU’s depth is on the mind of Gonzaga coach Kelly Graves as his Bulldogs prepare for today’s sold-out game at the McCarthey Athletic Center. The 6 p.m. game marks GU’s third sellout of the season and 13th in school history.

“BYU’s strong in every phase,” Graves said. “They defend well, rebound well and shoot the ball as well as any team in the nation.”

BYU (12-4, 3-0) and Saint Mary’s (11-4, 3-0), a 54-51 winner over GU last week, hold a narrow lead over Gonzaga (13-5, 3-1) for West Coast Conference supremacy.

When sophomore guard Eaton (15.6 points per game) suffered a season-ending knee injury Dec. 4 against Utah State, BYU had another top player waiting in the wings. Jennifer Hamson, a 6-foot-7 junior center, returned from BYU’s volleyball team and has averaged 13.0 points and 8.9 rebounds per game.

Hamson had 14 points and nine rebounds when BYU beat Gonzaga 70-40 last season in Provo, Utah. When the teams met in Spokane, GU held Hamson to one point and won 77-60.

“It really depends a lot on (Hamson),” GU sophomore forward Sunny Greinacher said. “They like to lob it to her and whenever that works, it’s good for them and bad for us.”