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"This was a great comeback - a great team effort," BYU head coach Jeff Judkins said. "Everybody made something happen that allowed us to win, and that's a real positive for our team. Kylie had a great game for us tonight and Morgan played a great second half. She came out focused and did what we needed her to do, despite not playing a good first half. The team stuck together for the win and I thought the last five minutes of the game we executed our game plans and stuck together."
Bailey led the Cougars with a career-high 31 points to go along with a team-high 11 rebounds. Maeda also contributed a career-high in points with 17 to go along with a team-high six assists. Lexi Eaton added double-digit points with 16 to go along with seven boards.
BYU (9-4, 1-1 West Coast Conference) started the game off with a made 3-pointer from Eaton. Portland (2-11, 0-2 WCC) then responded with a pair of buckets to give the Pilots an early 4-3 advantage at the first media timeout.
Both teams struggled offensively early in the first half, but Xojian Harry was able to nail her first trey coming into the game to tie the score back up at 13-all. Neither team then scored during a five-minute span until Bailey hit a layup to level the game back at 15 apiece.
Portland responded to the made Cougar basket with a pair of consecutive 3-pointers from Kari Luttinen and another long jumper to extend its lead to eight at 23-15, forcing a Judkins timeout. A pair of free throws from Maeda cut the lead to just three at 28-25, but the Pilots kept the momentum by hitting a deep 3-pointer at the buzzer to go up 37-28 at halftime.
A 7-2 Portland run began the second half to extend its lead to double digits at 42-30. The two teams traded points from there until a steal and layup from Makenzi Morrison cut the advantage back to single digits at 46-38.
Bailey scored eight-consecutive points to bring BYU within three at 49-46, but the Pilots responded with a made 3-pointer. Portland continued its hot shooting by scoring on six-straight possessions before a three-point play from Bailey cut the Pilot lead to two at 63-61.
The Cougars struggled to overcome the deficit as Portland scored seven points in a row to retake a double-digit lead at 75-65, forcing a BYU timeout. In the waning minutes of the game, Maeda hit a 3-pointer to cut the lead to one and another Bailey bucket gave the Cougars their first lead of the half at 80-79.
A Pilot turnover gave BYU the ball with 24 seconds on the clock. Eaton hit two shots from the charity stripe to give the Cougars an 82-79 edge and a free throw from Morrison sealed the BYU win, 83-79.
The Cougars return to the Marriott Center Thursday to face off against Santa Clara at 12:30 p.m. MST. The game will be broadcast live on BYUtv and BYU Radio. Links to live stats and a video feed can be found on the BYU women's basketball schedule page.
At the break the Cougars had the advantage in the rebound category, 23 to 22. BYU finished the game pulling down 38 compared with 32 for the Pilots. It’s the seventh time this year that BYU has grabbed more rebounds than its opponent.
For the game, BYU was able to tally 13 points off of Portland turnovers.
The Cougars finished with a strong inside presence, getting 40 points in the paint. The Pilots got 32 points.
BYU won the assist category by one, 16 to 15. They also tallied five steals compared with just one for Portland.
Morgan Bailey led the Cougar effort against the Pilots with a game- and career-high 31 points for her 12th game putting up double figures in points.
She finished the game with her fifth double-double of the year with a game-best 11 rebounds.
Kylie Maeda led the BYU effort in the first half with nine points and three assists. She would pick up her third double-digit outing of the year and a new season- and career-high 17 points.
Maeda led BYU in assists category with six.
Lexi Eaton grabbed six rebounds in the first 20 minutes of action and ended the contest with seven.
With 7:23 minutes left in the game, one free throw gave Eaton her 11th game scoring in double figures with 10 and eventually ended the game with 16.
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.