TAMPA, Florida – Turnovers plagued No. 14 seed BYU women’s basketball in the 86-53 loss to No. 3 seed Louisville in the NCAA tournament on Saturday.
"We have to learn from this and get better next year," BYU head coach Jeff Judkins said. "I haven't seen (Louisville) play like that all year. Their way to deal was to pressure us. I thought we did a really poor job of getting catches on the wing. We couldn't feed the post. You can't give teams easy baskets and you can't turn the ball over. That was the game. My seniors have to hold their heads up high because they've done a lot of incredible things. Hopefully my younger players will learn from this game."
BYU will end the season with a 23-10 record. The Cougars shot 44 percent in the game and turned the ball over 30 times. Louisville (26-6) will advance to the round of 32 in the NCAA tournament. The Cardinals had a season-high 24 steals and earned 38 points off of turnovers.
Morgan Bailey led the team in scoring in her last game with 15 points. She also had 10 rebounds for her 15th double-double of the season. Lexi Eaton scored 14 points and grabbed six rebounds. With the only trey of the game for the Cougars, Makenzi Morrison had 9 points. Cassie Broadhead led the team in assists with four off of the bench. She also scored four points.
“It was a rough, physical game,” Morrison said. “They came out and pressured us. We were prepared and mentally we knew they were going to be that way, but physically, it was a new thing for us. We adjusted a little bit as we went on, but it was too late in the game. We gave them too much momentum. You can make winning a habit, you can make losing a habit, and I would love to make coming to the NCAA tournament a habit. I would love to come back next year and win.”
Xojian Harry got the scoring started for the Cougars, driving to the basket for a quick layup. After a bucket from Bailey, turnovers started plaguing BYU. In the Cougars’ first 13 possessions, they turned the ball over eight times in four minutes. This allowed the Cardinals to go on an 8-0 run to take the early 15-6 lead with 12 minutes left in the half.
Kristine Fuller, who scored seven points off of the bench, drove by the Louisville defenders for a quick layup to end the run. Another two from Bailey made it a five-point game, 15-10. However, turnovers cost BYU again as Louisville had two backcourt steals that led to back-to-back buckets, extending the lead to 24-12.
The Cougars were consistently making shots in the last seven minutes, but the Cardinals were as well. Eaton and Bailey scored the last 10 points for BYU to try to close the gap. With 43 seconds left, Bailey nailed a long-range jump shot to cut Louisville’s lead to 38-24 at break. The Cardinals were held scoreless for the last three minutes of the half.
The second half started off with very physical play from both teams. Morrison got hit from a flagrant foul that gave her a chance to shoot free throws. She made both to make it 40-26. After those two points, Louisville went on an 8-0 run to push its lead to 22 points.
With 13:55 left, Morrison hit the first 3-pointer of the game for BYU to close in on the lead, 50-34. The Cougars kept trying to close in on the Cardinals, but they were not able to go on a big run. Two shots in a row from Eaton made it 65-44 with 6:13 left in the game.
Louisville had consecutive steals that both led to points to continue to run away with the game. The Cougars could not close the gap down the stretch, and the Cardinals held on to the victory.
In the first half, the Cougars outrebounded the Cardinals 22 to 15. For the game, Louisville finished with three more rebounds for a total of 33, while BYU pulled down 30.
BYU shot 46.2 percent from the field in the first half of action. The Cougars finished the game shooting 44 percent from the field and 71 percent from the free throw line.
Bailey led all scorers in the first half with 10 points and in rebounds with nine. The points mark the 27th time she’s tallied a game with 10-plus points. For the game she finished with her 15th double-double of the season from team-bests in points with 15 and in rebounds with 10.
Eaton had six points and four rebounds at the end of the first half of action and finished the game with 14 points for her 30th contest with double figures in scoring. She also had six rebounds and two assists.
Morrison finished the game with nine points and two assists.
Fuller came off the bench and contributed seven points along with one rebound while playing 11 minutes.
Broadhead came off the bench to lead the way in assists with a team-best four. She also tallied four points and grabbed three rebounds.