(Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)
PROVO, Utah – Second-chance points and a disruptive defense helped the BYU women's basketball team defeat Weber State 80-55 Friday at the Marriott Center in the Cougars' season opener.
BYU scored 16 second-chance points on 11 offensive rebounds and forced the visiting Wildcats to turn the ball over 27 times.
"We came out and executed well tonight," head coach Jeff Judkins said. "We did a good job of moving the ball and did a good job defending their pick and roll game. I was happy with the way we played and we're looking forward to getting better and for the games next week. Lexi played very well in the first half and our bench gave us a lot of support tonight, especially Kylie (Maeda) who was playing in her first game."
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Three players scored in double digits for BYU, with Lexi Eaton leading the pack with 24 points, three rebounds and four assists. Eaton shot 9 for 16 in 28 minutes while Kim Beeston scored 13 points on 5 for 11 shooting, making three 3-pointers on the night. Morgan Bailey grabbed seven rebounds and added 11 points for the Cougars, setting a personal career high. Keilani Unga and Stephanie Vermunt Seaborn also chipped in nine points apiece for BYU.
Eaton scored 11 of the first 12 points for the home team and scored 18 in the opening period. Eaton was six for eight in the first half and also dished out three assists.
Kylie Maeda had four steals and four assists in the first half, including a crowd-pleasing half-court lob that Eaton tipped in just before time expired.
The Cougars struggled with their free throws early, shooting roughly 55 percent from the charity stripe in the first half. Defensively, however, BYU was relentless, forcing 15 turnovers and creating multiple fast break opportunities to take a 42-25 lead at the break.
The home team pushed the lead to 21 with a layup by Bailey two minutes into the second half, but Weber State responded with a 14-0 run, closing the gap to seven. Beeston got the home team back on track with 12:38 to play as she made her second 3-pointer of the game, pushing the lead back to double digits.
Beeston made another 3-pointer with the shot clock winding down and 7:52 remaining in the game to give the home team a 13-point cushion. Seconds later, Haley Steed picked up her ninth assist of the game, feeding Unga for the fast break layup. Steed played 27 minutes and finished the game with six points and nine assists.
With 2:53 remaining and the Cougars leading 71-55, Eaton drew contact on the left baseline as she made a layup in transition. Eaton made the free throw to complete the three-point play, topping off her 24-point night.
The home team finished the game on a 20-5 run that spanned the final 8:37. Seven different players scored for BYU during the stretch, including Xojian Harry, who banked in a tough shot as she floated toward the right baseline, drawing a foul in the process. Harry finished the night with six points in 16 minutes.
The Cougars' next game is Tuesday at Dartmouth. Tipoff is 5 p.m. EST.
BYU shot 49 percent to Weber State’s 42 percent.
BYU outscored Weber State 30-22 in the paint. Weber State outrebounded the Cougars 42-36, but BYU led in assists 25-15 and steals 12-7.
BYU pushed Weber State to 27 turnovers. The Cougars had 14 turnovers.
With 44 seconds left in the game, BYU reached its largest lead of the game at 80-55.
Lexi Eaton recorded the first six points for BYU and hit double figures before the 10-minute mark, finishing the first half with 18 points. Eaton ended the game with 24 points, her second-highest points total in her career, shooting 56 percent.
Kim Beeston scored in double figures with 13 points.
Morgan Bailey was the third Cougar to reach double figures in scoring, collecting a career-high 11 points.
Haley Steed contributed a game-high nine assists with six points.
Newcomer Kylie Maeda made her debut with four assists and a game-high four steals.