SPOKANE, Washington – BYU women’s basketball dropped its first game in the West Coast Conference 62-78 to Gonzaga in Spokane.
"I thought Gonzaga played its best game of the year against us today," BYU head coach Jeff Judkins said. "We did a good job cutting the lead and getting it within five a couple of times, but we just couldn't come up with the baskets. Defensively we did a better job in the second half and we saw a lot of good things from several of our players. Alohi did a great job for us today, she gave us some good minutes and it's good to have her full-time now."
Gonzaga (8-4, 1-0 WCC) started off the game with a quick bucket, but BYU (8-4, 0-1 WCC) answered back with a bucket from Makenzi Morrison at the shot clock buzzer. Eaton scored five points in the first five minutes, including a put-back layup to put BYU within one, 9-10 with 16:15 remaining in the half.
A three from Georgia Stirton pushed Gonzaga’s lead to 18-13. Alohi Robins-Hardy came off the bench and drilled a 3-pointer to get within two points, but Emma Stach hit a trey of her own from the corner to make the Bulldogs’ lead 29-21 with 7:55 remaining.
The Cougars got themselves back in the game after a 9-2 run capped off by Cassie Broadhead’s scramble for the ball to earn the layup and to make the score 30-35, but a bucket by Greinecher stopped the run and put The Bulldogs’ lead back to seven with four minutes left.
BYU tried to hold Gonzaga to a single-digit lead before the half after Eaton made a jump shot with 38 seconds left, but Stirton made a layup to take the 45-34 lead going into halftime. Gonzaga made 12 of 13 free throws while BYU only shot two of four.
Bailey led the Cougars early in the second half with the first three field goals. A pair of made free throws from Morrison made it 42-48 with 16:50 remaining. Gonzaga answered back with a 10-0 run to push the lead back to double-digits, 58-42 with 14:15 left.
Gonzaga never looked back, continuing to hold a double-digit lead despite Bailey’s buckets in the paint. Her layup with 10:42 remaining cut the Bulldogs’ lead to 10, 63-53. With 3:40 left, Garfield made a bucket to make it 58-74, but the Cougars were not able to score again until Kristine Fuller made a jumper with 50 seconds left. Robins-Hardy made two free throws to make the final score 62-78.
The Cougars continue their road trip on Monday, Dec. 29, where they will take on Portland at 7 p.m. PST. The game will be broadcast live on TheW.tv and live stats will be available on the BYU women’s basketball schedule page.
At the break, BYU had16 rebounds to Gonzaga’s 14. The Cougars finished the game with 36 rebounds, making it the sixth time this year that they have grabbed more boards than their opponents. Gonzaga ended the game with 35.
The Cougars dished out eight assists in the first half and ended the game with 13. The Bulldogs had 16 assists for the game, making it the first time this year that an opponent has recorded more assists than BYU.
In the points in the paint category, both teams finished with 28 points apiece.
The BYU bench outscored the Gonzaga bench 19 to 14, while the Bulldogs got more second chance opportunities, 23 to 17.
Scored in double figures for the 10th time this season with 13 points, grabbed four rebounds and dished out one assist.
Picked up 11th game with double digits in points and the fourth straight with 13. She also grabbed five rebounds, had two assists and one steal.
Recorded career bests in rebounds with seven tying for team highs in the category. She also put up eight points.
Scored nine points and pulled down seven rebounds tying for team bests. The points were one shy of her season best 10 points.
Dished out a team-best four assists.
Picked up season highs in points with five and in rebounds with three, while playing 15 minutes, the most on the year.
Riding a five-game win streak, BYU women’s basketball (8-3, 0-0) gets set to compete for a West Coast Conference regular season title as it opens up league play with two road games. The Cougars travel to Spokane to take on league favorite Gonzaga (7-4, 0-0), Saturday, Dec. 27 in a 2 p.m. PST tip off. They then head to Portland to take on the Pilots (2-9, 0-0), Monday, Dec. 29 at 7 p.m. PST.
Lexi Eaton, a 5-foot-10 junior guard/forward combo, leads the Cougar team in points with 19.1 per game. She ranks third in rebounds, pulling down 6.1 boards a contest. Morgan Bailey, a 6-foot-2 senior forward, follows with 18.0 points and a team-best 10.4 rebounds per game. The team’s assist leader is Kylie Maeda, who averaged 4.2 assists a game.
Heading into WCC play, the Cougars are scoring 66.4 points per game while shooting 42.1 percent from the field, 70.3 percent at the free-throw line and 34.6 percent from 3-point land. In all games, BYU has dished out more assists than its opponents, has recorded more rebounds in five contests to date and has an 8-0 mark when leading at the break.
• Head coach: Jeff Judkins (Utah, ‘78) 14th season
• Team’s leading scorer: #21 L. Eaton, 19.1 ppg
• Team’s leading rebounder: #41 M. Bailey, 10.4 rpg
• Team’s assists leader: #15 K. Maeda, 4.2 apg
• Team’s steals leader: #23 M. Morrison, 1.4 spg
• Team’s blocks leader: #41, M. Bailey, .55 bpg
Heading into the first week of WCC games, Gonzaga has a 7-4, 0-0 record. At home, the Bulldogs are 4-1, with their lone loss, a one-point 59-58 deficit to Wash. St. on Dec.9.
The Zags return three starters from last year’s squad that compiled a 29-5, 16-2 record, won the WCC regular season crown and the conference tournament title. Gonzaga played in the first round of the NCAA tournament.
This season, they were selected to repeat as WCC regular season champs. Three players are scoring in double digits for Gonzaga, led by 14.6 points from Sunny Greinacher, while teammate Keani Albanez contributes 11.4 points. Lindsay Sherbert rounds out the double figure scoring with 10.8 points. The Zags score 68.2 points, grab 42.1 rebounds while shooting 40.5 from the field and 77.5 percent at the free-throw line.
• Head coach: Lisa Fortier (Cal State Monterey Bay, 2004) First Season
• Team’s leading scorer: #14 S. Greinacher, 14.6 ppg
• Team’s leading rebounder: #44 S. Cheslek, 9.4 rpg
• Team’s assists leader: #05 G. Stirton, 3.0 apg
• Team’s steals leader: #24 K. Albanez, 2.5 spg
• Team’s blocks leader: #44 S. Cheslek, 1.3 bpg
Portland (2-9, 0-0) opens up WCC play with two home games, taking on San Diego on Saturday before hosting the Cougars Monday night. Last year, the Pilots compiled a 14-16, 7-11 record, finishing sixth in the WCC race.
With four returning starters, they were selected to place seventh in the league battle this year. Cassandra Brown and Kari Luttinen lead Portland in scoring with 16.4 points from Brown and 12.2 from Luttinen. As a team, the Pilots are putting up 59.4 points, grab 36.5 rebounds, shoot 39.5 percent from the field, 34.7 from behind the arc and 69.1 from the free-throw line.
• Head coach: Cheryl Sorenson (Washington, 2003) First Year
• Team’s leading scorer: #22 C. Brown, 16.4 ppg
• Team’s leading rebounder: #22 C. Brown, 6.2 rpg
• Team’s assists leader: #32 J. Wooton, 3.5 apg
• Team’s steals leader: #23 K. Luttinen & #30 C. Thompson, 1.1 spg
• Team’s blocks leader: #35 S. Zaragoza, 1.9 bpg
The Bulldogs lead the series, 9-6. In Spokane, the Cougars are 2-5. Last season the two teams split the regular season matchups, each winning on its home floor. The two met a third time, in the WCC championship game, where the Zags won 71-57. Head Coach Jeff Judkins is 3-8 against Gonzaga
BYU leads the series 14-4. In Portland, BYU has a 7-2 mark. In last year’s race, the Cougars swept the series. Head Coach Judkins has a perfect, 10-0 record against Portland.
After starting the 2014-15 WCC race with two road games, BYU returns to the Marriott Center for its next two league games. The Cougars host Santa Clara on New Year’s Day at 12:30 p.m., then host San Francisco on Sat. Jan. 3 at 2 p.m. Both games are scheduled to air live on BYUtv.