(Photo by SMC Photo/Tod Fierner)
MORAGA, Calif. – Despite a career night from Lexi Eaton, BYU women’s basketball fell 75-70 to Saint Mary’s on the road Thursday at the McKeon Pavilion.
“This was a good team effort tonight,” BYU head coach Jeff Judkins said. “The game came right down to the end and we had a chance to stop them and give us a chance to win. I thought we got beat mentally a few times. Lexi (Eaton) had a great game for us. She let the game come to her and she made some big baskets when we needed them.”
Eaton led all scorers with a career-high 28 points, including 8 for 8 shooting from the charity stripe. Jennifer Hamson contributed a double-double of 17 points and a team-high 10 boards. Kim Beeston was the third Cougar to score in double figures, getting 10 which included going 3 for 9 from beyond the arc.
BYU (16-5, 6-4) ended the game shooting 46 percent from the field compared to just 40 percent for Saint Mary’s (17-4, 7-3). The Gaels hit four more 3-pointers than the Cougars, but BYU outblocked Saint Mary’s 7-0.
Hamson contributed four points as the Cougars climbed to an early 9-3 lead, which forced Saint Mary’s to use its first timeout.
The Gaels battled back with five different players hitting 3-pointers to propel Saint Mary’s to a 17-15 advantage.
A quick bucket by Morgan Bailey cut the Gael lead to three at 26-23, following a 7-0 run by Saint Mary’s.
Another pair of Gael 3-pointers extended their advantage to double digits at 36-26, forcing Judkins to call his first timeout of the half.
Battling back with time expiring, an Eaton jumper cut Saint Mary’s halftime lead to just six at 36-30.
The second half started with both teams trading buckets. The Gaels extended their lead back to double digits with 10:55 left in the game at 51-41.
Saint Mary’s maintained its lead throughout the better part of the second half helped in part due to Hamson taking a seat after her fourth foul.
The Cougars cut the Gael’s lead to just three points at 62-59 after a Bailey layup. That was followed with four-straight points from Eaton, which gave her a new career high with 28.
Beeston made two quick 3-pointers in the last 40 seconds of the game, but it proved to be too little as Saint Mary’s came away with the victory, 75-70.
BYU stays on the road this Saturday as they take on Pacific at 2 p.m. PST. The Tigers upset the Cougars 75-62 in the first matchup of the season in Provo. The game will be broadcast on TheW.tv as well as heard on BYU Radio. Links to live stats can be found on the BYU women’s basketball schedule page.
With the seven blocked shots against Saint Mary’s, the Cougars picked up their 17th game recording more blocks than their opponents.
BYU finished with 12 assists compared with 13 for the Gaels making just the sixth time this year that an opponent has dished out more assists than the Cougars.
In the game, the Cougars picked up 12 second-chance points to six for the Gaels, but Saint Mary’s scored 30 points in the paint compared with 26 for BYU.
Lexi Eaton led all scorers with a career-high 28 points for her 15th game putting up double digits in points. In the game she was perfect from the free throw line, going 8 for 8, and finished tied for a team-best three assists while pulling down four rebounds.
For the 13th time on the year and the sixth in WCC play Jennifer Hamson recorded a double-double from 17 points and 10 rebounds. She tallied a game-high four blocks with the 10 rebounds being the most on the team.
Kim Beeston picked up her 15th game in double digit scoring with 10 points, nine of which were from 3-point range. She also dished out two assists.
With the three assists in the game, Kylie Maeda tied for team highs in that category.