PROVO, Utah – Junior Lexi Eaton led the Cougars Saturday as they fell to Westminster College 59-54 in an exhibition game at the Marriott Center.
“You have to hand it to Westminster,” BYU head coach Jeff Judkins said. “This is a big game for them and they came out ready to fight. Hopefully this is a blessing in disguise for us because it will help us to get better.”
Eaton finished with 17 points while playing limited minutes as one of the BYU players who battled foul trouble throughout the game.Kylie Maeda finished in double digit points with 12 to go along with four rebounds and two steals. Senior forward Morgan Bailey nearly recorded a double double from 10 points and nine boards. She also had a game-high four steals.
Maeda paced the Cougars early, scoring four of BYU’s first six points and Eaton added a quick seven points as BYU led 14-13 with 11 minutes left in the half. Westminster bounced back and used a 15-0 run to open up a 28-14 lead. A three-pointer from Maeda stopped the run, but the Cougars couldn’t get back into a rhythm during the half.
BYU entered the break down 34-21 thanks in large part to 10 turnovers and 12 personal fouls while allowing Westminster to shoot 13 free throws in the half, making eight. Eaton scored 10 in the first half while senior Ashley Garfield led the Cougars on the boards, collecting four rebounds.
The Cougars opened the second half on a quick 6-2 run due to an Eaton three and a Maeda drive that led to a Westminster timeout. The Griffins held strong for much of the half, maintaining a double-digit lead before the home team began to close the gap with five minutes left in the game. Redshirt freshman Cassie Broadhead was the catalyst of a stingy defensive effort that had BYU back in the game with two huge blocks.
With 3:03 left, Garfield was fouled on a layup and completed the three-point play to cut the lead to 52-48. The Cougars closed the gap even further when Eaton hit a three with 22 seconds left to bring BYU within two, 56-54, but Westminster closed the game out with a handful of free throws to win 59-54.
BYU was called for 24 personal fouls during the game, allowing Westminster to go 18-28 from the free throw line. The Cougars also committed 16 turnovers, were outrebounded 47-33 and shot just 4-20 from three-point range.
“This was tough,” Eaton said. “We came out a little shell-shocked because it was our first game. It showed us some things we can get better at.”
BYU hosts Ft. Lewis College in another exhibition game next Saturday at 2 p.m. MST at the Marriott Center. The game can be viewed on TheW.tv.
PROVO, Utah —The 2014-15 basketball season is right around the corner and the Cougar women are anticipating another successful campaign. As a precursor to the season, BYU will play two exhibition games in the next two weeks hosting in-state foe Westminster College Saturday, Nov. 1 at 3 p.m. and Ft. Lewis College on Nov. 8 at 2 p.m. Both games are free to the public.
This year’s squad includes an experienced trio of starters and a veteran bench.They have their sights set on continuing the winning ways from last year’s team that recorded the most wins in program history with 28, a second-place finish in the West Coast Conference and advanced to the Sweet Sixteen of the NCAA tournament.
BYU was picked to finish second in this year’s WCC race as selected by the league’s coaches earlier this week.
The Cougars return a very athletic and talented group of starters. At 6-foot-2, senior forward Morgan Bailey, the team’s rebounding leader (7.0) and second leading scorer (10.7) will provide a strong athletic and physical inside presence that will be critical to BYU’s success. Junior Lexi Eaton, a 5-foot-10 guard, averaged 16.8 points a game and had the team’s best free throw percentage .834 (171-205) last year. Her scoring abilities will be a threat inside and outside. The third returning starter is junior guard Kylie Maeda, a great ball handler and distributor. Last season, the 5-foot-5 point guard was second in assists. Maeda dished out 112 assists and had 27 steals while shooting nearly 40 percent from 3-point range. She’ll run the Cougar offense and be a scoring threat from the outside.
The strength of a solid group of experienced players including two seniors and two sophomores will provide the Cougars with a lot of depth and balance. Senior Ashley Garfield is second on the team in rebounds pulling down 6.3 per game and scoring 4.0 points a contest. At 5-foot-11, her uncanny ability to be at the right place at the right time will be a force to be reckoned with in BYU’s inside game. Xojian Harry is playing in her final season with the Cougar program. Next to Garfield, Harry recorded the most minutes off the bench. The 5-foot-11 guard/forward combo was solid for the Cougars in their impressive run in the NCAA tournament last year finishing the season shooting nearly 30 percent from behind the arc.
Sophomores Kristine Fuller and Makenzi Morrison played a lot of minutes in nearly all games in their freshmen campaign. At 5-foot-11, the solid ball handlers understand the Cougar offense and can shoot the ball well.
Micaelee Orton, a 6-foot-2 forward who saw action in 19 games last year, along with redshirt freshman center Savanna Irwin and true freshman Alohi Robins-Hardy will strengthen the team’s post play and inside presence. Irwin is a 6-foot-5 center while Robins-Hardy is a 6-foot-2 forward that will join the team once her freshman season on the BYU volleyball team concludes.
Redshirt freshman Cassie Broadhead, a 5-foot-9 guard from Glenville, N.Y., makes her debut this season. Her athleticism, good shooting and ball handling skills will be vital to the team’s success at the point guard spot.
Utah standout Amanda Wayment, a 6-foot-1 true freshman forward from Ogden and Fremont High School, will be another impact player on this year’s Cougar roster. Her rebounding and athletic strength as a post player are expected to play a major role on the team.
Westminster tallied a 26-3 overall record while going 16-0 in the Frontier Conference last year. The Griffins returns three starters, eight letterwinners and are ranked No. 4 in the NAIA Preseason Coaches’ Poll.
Ft. Lewis College, out of Durango, Colorado, finished with a 16-11, 13-9 record. Most recently, they were picked to finish sixth in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference Preseason Poll. The Skyhawks return two starters and nine letterwinners.