Lexi Eaton recorded 16 points against Kansas State. (Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)
MANHATTAN, Kan.—Kansas State hit the BYU women’s basketball team with its second loss of the season and its first loss on the road after a 59-46 Wildcat victory at the Bramlage Coliseum Wednesday night.
“Kansas State seemed to want it more,” BYU head coach Jeff Judkins said. “I just feel like for us to be successful, we need to be tough, we need to fight and be aggressive. My inside presence tonight wasn’t what I expected, what this team really needs. We just got beat inside and that’s not like us. We’re better than that. You have ups and downs and we’re just going to have to learn from this. This was a tough week.”
True freshman Lexi Eaton led the Cougars (1-2) with 16 points, shooting 6-for-11 from the field and 4-for-4 from the free-throw line. Eaton also had five rebounds, tying for the BYU lead with Haley Hall Steed. Steed totaled 13 points, including three 3-pointers, and sophomore Kim Parker had 11 points.
“Today I really just focused on the fundamentals,” Eaton said. “My teammates did a great job of setting up those looks for me and I was able to convert.”
Kansas State’s Jalana Childs led the game with 18 points and nine rebounds.
BYU held the Wildcats (2-0) to 17.6 percent shooting from the three-point line and managed to keep out of foul trouble until the end of the second half, totaling 14—an improvement from 26 fouls against Tulsa on Monday.
BYU took the lead from the top, with Eaton putting up four unanswered points to start play. Kansas State’s Tasha Dickey sank a 3-pointer to take a 7-6 lead, but the lead was quickly recovered by Parker’s bucket for an 8-7 Cougar lead. After three more lead changes, the Wildcats broke away with a 6-0 run. Dani Peterson ended a scoreless four minutes for BYU with a jump shot at 8:08.
“They had some really good bigs inside,” Parker said. “But if we’re going to win games, we need inside presence so the pressure isn’t all going to the guards.”
Steed continued her strong performance beyond the arc with a 3-pointer at 5:19 to cut the deficit to 20-18. The Wildcats answered with a pair of jumpers and a 3-pointer, pushing their lead to 27-18. Kansas State had several chances to take a double-figure lead, but all attempts proved fruitless and the teams went into the locker room with a 29-21 Wildcat lead.
It only took 11 seconds for Eaton to take the ball in for a layup to open the second half and followed it up with another layup and a jumper to cut the score to 33-27. BYU kept the Wildcats from running away with a Parker 3-pointer and a Steed lay-in.
Kristen Riley’s layup, her first points of the game, set the Cougars up to tear down Kansas State’s lead. Parker nailed a jumper to cut the deficit to 37-35.
From there, Kansas State charged forward to gain back its 10-point lead and Chantay Charon’s three-point play, after getting fouled on a layup, took the score to 52-39.
“There was a couple times the ball didn’t bounce our way,” Parker said. “I think we were a little rushed on our shots all night and that’s something we’re going to have to work on, keeping our composure.”
Steed ended another four-minute drought, but it wasn’t enough to push BYU back into the game. Foul shots took the score to 59-46 to end the game.
The Cougars return to Utah Saturday for a 7 p.m. road matchup against in-state foe Weber State.
Kansas State Postgame Notes
The Cougars finished with one more steal than the Wildcats 6 to five in the game in Manhattan.
BYU and Kansas State finished tied in the assist category with each team dishing out 11.
For the second time in the 2011-12 campaign, three BYU players scored in double figures. The last time was non Nov. 11 against No. 8 Duke.
As a team, the Cougars were perfect from the free throw line going 5-for-5.
Lexi Eaton scored the first six points for the Cougars in the second half, finishing the game with 16 for her second season and career double figure game. In the game she was perfect from the free throw line, going 4-4 and tied for team highs in rebounds with five.
Haley Steed picked up her third straight and 31st career double figure contest with 10 points against the Wildcats. She dished out a team high five assists and tied for team highs in rebounds with five.
Kim Parker tallied 11 in the game marking her second double digit outing of the season and seventh in her career.