PROVO, Utah – Twenty points from Makenzi Morrison was not enough for BYU women’s basketball as they fell 73-66 to Gonzaga in the Marriott Center Saturday afternoon.
"I was really proud of my team today," BYU head coach Jeff Judkins said. "On a positive note, we’re going to see these guys again and I think we know we can beat them. They can’t play any better than they did today, we know that."
Morrison led BYU with 20 points and made a career-high and team season-high 16 of her 18 free throw attempts during the game. Morgan Bailey scored 17 points and led BYU with nine rebounds and Kylie Maeda added 12 points for the Cougars. BYU struggled from the field only shooting 40 percent and 25 percent from three while the Bulldogs knocked down 53.7 percent of their shots and 35.7 percent from deep. The Cougars knocked down a season-high 25 free throws on 30 attempts.
Seniors Bailey, Xojian Harry and injured forward Ashley Garfield were honored in their last home game in the Marriott Center in front of 1,226 fans. Garfield, who injured her knee earlier in the season, went out to jump for the opening tip for BYU (20-9, 12-6 West Coast Conference) and when Gonzaga (23-6, 16-2 WCC) won the jump ball officials stopped play to allow Garfield to sub out to a standing ovation from the fans and both benches.
"Losing these girls is one of the hardest things as a coach," Judkins said. "You spend so much time with these girls and it’s even harder when you lose like tonight."
Morrison got the Cougars on the board when she was fouled shooting a 3-pointer. She would go on to make two of her free throws and the Cougars trailed 4-2 after two minutes.
Midway through the first half, the Bulldogs caught fire and made six-straight field goals to take a 27-14 lead with 7:16 remaining, led by Elle Tinkle who had 10 points while shooting 5 of 5 from the field.
With 5:42 remaining, Bailey defected a pass to Maeda who led the Cougars fast break. Maeda found Morrison alone in the corner and she was fouled again shooting a three, Morrison knocked down two of her free throws to cut the Bulldog lead to single digits at 27-18.
Coming out of the media timeout, a layup by Micaelee Orton and a three from Maeda started a 7-0 run by the Cougars to get within six points, trailing 31-25 and forcing Gonzaga to call timeout with 2:22 until halftime. The stoppage didn’t slow down BYU as a free throw from Orton and a jumper from Bailey extended the Cougar run to 10-0 and helped them get within three, 31-28.
Lindsay Sherbert banked in a 3-pointer at the buzzer to put the Bulldogs up 34-28 at the break. BYU used a 10-3 run to end the half and get the game to single digits after trailing by more than 10 points for much of the first half.
Both teams started the second half trading baskets and shooting over 50 percent and with 15:11 remaining, BYU trailed 46-39. The Bulldogs used an 8-2 run capped by a Tinkle three and hit 7 of 9 shots from the field to push their lead to 58-45 with 9:20 left in the game.
With 4:57 remaining, Morrison knocked down four-straight free throws after being fouled by Gonzaga’s Shaniqua Nilles. Nilles also picked up a technical to pull BYU within four at 62-58. Just over a minute later, Morrison knocked down two more free throws after a flagrant foul by Gonzaga’s Emma Stach. On the following possession, Bailey knocked down two free throws to make it 64-62 Gonzaga with 3:28 remaining.
The Cougars would go scoreless for three minutes following Bailey’s free throws and were never able to take the lead, falling to Gonzaga 73-66.
Up next for the Cougars is the West Coast Conference Basketball Championships in Las Vegas Mar. 4-10 at the Orleans Arena. All of the women's basketball games at the WCC tournament, excluding the title game will be broadcast live on BYUtv.
BYU closed out the first half on a 10-0 run to get within three points until Gonzaga nailed a 3-pointer at the buzzer to push its halftime lead to 34-28. Both teams made just two treys in the first half. Despite getting within two, the Bulldogs held on to win the game 73-66.
The Cougars shot 40 percent in the game, while the Bulldogs shot 53 percent.
BYU made 25 free throws in this game, a season-high. This was the sixth time this season that the Cougars have had 30-plus free throw attempts.
BYU had the edge in the rebounding category at the half, 15-13. At the end of the game, the Bulldogs outrebounded the Cougars by just one rebound, 29-28.
The two teams dished out seven assists after the first 20 minutes of action. Gonzaga finished with 16 rebounds while BYU had 14.
In the first half, Gonzaga forced 11 turnovers from BYU and had 15 points off of turnovers, compared to just four from BYU. The Bulldogs scored 23 points overall off of points from turnovers and the Cougars scored 14.
Morrison made a career-high 16 free throws in this game, going 16 of 18 from the charity stripe. She scored a team-high 20 points for her 14th double figure outing in points and the second game of her career scoring 20-plus points.
Bailey led all scorers in the first half with 11 points to go along with her three rebounds. In her final home game, she scored 17 points and grabbed nine rebounds. This is her seventh game of the season playing all 40 minutes. The points mark her 24th game recording double digits in points.
Maeda had seven points and one steal in the first half. She finished with 12 points, going 2 of 2 from beyond the arc. She also had two steals and went 4 of 4 from the charity stripe. The 12 points are the sixth contest of the year with double figures.
At halftime, Eaton led all players in rebounds with five. She also had three assists and two steals. At the end of regulation, she had six points, seven rebounds, four assists and two steals.
Orton scored six points coming off the bench in the game. She also grabbed four rebounds.
In her last game in the Marriott Center, Harry scored five points. She also had one rebound, one assist and one block.
PROVO, Utah— The final week of regular season West Coast Conference action has the Cougar women (19-8, 11-5) at home for their last two league games.
BYU hosts Portland (4-23, 2-14) Thurs., Feb. 26 at 7 p.m. MST. On Sat., Feb. 28, the WCC regular season champions Gonzaga Bulldogs (22-5, 14-1) come to Provo for a 2 p.m. MST tip. Both games will air live on BYUtv and Saturday's game will also air on BYU Radio. The Cougars are in fifth place in the league standings, while the Pilots are in last place entering the final week of games.
Lexi Eaton, a 5-foot-10 junior guard/forward combo, leads the Cougars in scoring, averaging 21.1 points per game. She ranks third in rebounds, pulling down 6.4 boards a contest. Morgan Bailey, a 6-foot-2 senior forward, is in second place in scoring, tallying 18.1 points while leading the way in rebounding, averaging 10.7 boards per game. Bailey became BYU’s 26th player to eclipse 1,000 points in the USF game in San Francisco. The team’s assist leader is Kylie Maeda, who averages 4.4 assists a game.
BYU is averaging 69.0 points per game, while shooting 43.5 percent from the field, 70.1 percent at the free-throw line and 35.8 percent from 3-point land. In 21 games (most recent at Pacific) the Cougars have dished out more assists than their opponents and have pulled down more rebounds in 14 contests to date. When leading at the break, they are 15-2 and have scored at least 80 points in six games (most recent, 82 at Pacific)
The team has had four players score in double figures in four contests, (most recent at Pacific) and has had three players finish with double-digit points in nine games (most recent at Saint Mary’s).
BYU head coach Jeff Judkins recorded his 300th win with the 77-58 home victory over Pepperdine on Feb. 5, 2015. The team is one win away from the program’s sixth straight 20-win season, the eighth under Judkins.
• Head coach: Jeff Judkins (Utah, ‘78) 14th season
• Team’s leading scorer: #21 L. Eaton, 21.1 ppg
• Team’s leading rebounder: #41 M. Bailey, 10.7 rpg
• Team’s assists leader: #15 K. Maeda, 4.4 apg
• Team’s steals leader: #23 M. Morrison, 1.5 spg
• Team’s blocks leader: #41, M. Bailey, .54 bpg
The Pilots has compiled a 4-23, 2-14 record to date. They are coming off home losses to Pacific and Saint Mary’s. The team’s two league wins were over LMU and Pepperdine.
Cassandra Brown, Kari Luttinen and Jasmine Wooton are the three Portland players scoring double digits. Brown tops the list with 17.8 points, Luttinen follows with 14.0 points and Wooton contributes 11.3 points to the Pilots offensive output. Cassandra Thompson grabs the most rebounds with 6.5 boards a game. As a team, the Pilots are putting up 63.6 points, grabbing 35.1 rebounds and shooting 40.6 percent from the field, 36.5 from behind the arc and 74.1 from the free-throw line.
• Head coach: Cheryl Sorenson (Washington, ‘03) First year
• Team’s leading scorer: #22 C. Brown, 17.8 ppg
• Team’s leading rebounder: #30 C. Thompson, 6.5 rpg
• Team’s assists leader: #32 J. Wooton, 3.3 apg
• Team’s steals leader: #23 K. Luttinen, 1.4 spg
• Team’s blocks leader: #35 S. Zaragoza, 1.3 bpg
BYU leads the series 15-4. When playing in Provo, the Pilots are 2-6.
In the first meeting, the Cougars recorded the 83-79 win in Portland on Dec. 29.
Morgan Bailey had a game- and career-high 31 points and with a game-high 11 rebounds, picking up her fifth double-double of the year. Kylie Maeda and Lexi Eaton also tallied double digits in points with 17 and 16, respectively. The 17 points for Maeda were season and career bests.
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 second half at 80-79 with 39 seconds showing on the clock.
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.
The Cougars were down by 10, 75-65 with 5:48 left in the game.
Gonzaga clinched the 2014 WCC regular season title last week and will be the No. 1 seed in next week’s conference tournament. The Bulldogs have compiled a 22-5, 15-1 record and are at San Diego on Thursday before heading to Provo to play BYU on Saturday.
Three players are scoring in double digits for Gonzaga, led by 13.7 points from Sunny Greinacher, while teammate Keani Albanez contributes 12.9 points. Elle Tinkle rounds out the double-figure scoring with 12.0 points. Shelby Cheslek tops the leaderboard in the rebound category, averaging 8.7 boards per contest. The Zags score 72.3 points and grab 40.9 rebounds, while shooting 43.2 percent from the field and 76.9 percent at the free-throw line. From 3-point range, Gonzaga is shooting 36.3 percent.
• Head coach: Lisa Fortier (Cal State Monterey Bay, 2004) First Season
• Team’s leading scorer: #14 S. Greinacher, 13.7 ppg
• Team’s leading rebounder: #44 S. Cheslek, 8.7 rpg
• Team’s assists leader: #5 G. Stirton, 3.0 apg
• Team’s steals leader: #24 K. Albanez, 2.3 spg
• Team’s blocks leader: #44 S. Cheslek, 1.5 bpg
The Bulldogs lead the series 10-6 and in Provo, Gonzaga is 2-3. Head coach Jeff Judkins is 3-9 against the Zags.
The first meeting between these two league foes was playing in Spokane on Dec. 27, with Gonzaga recording the 78-62 victory. Lexi Eaton and Morgan Bailey led the way for BYU with 13 points apiece while Ashley Garfield and Xojian Harry topped the rebound category with seven each.
The Cougars found themselves down by eight, 29-21, with less than eight minutes left in the first half. BYU tried to hold Gonzaga to a single-digit lead before the half after Eaton made a jump shot with 38 seconds left, but Georgia 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.
A layup by Bailey 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. Alohi Robins-Hardy made two free throws to make the final score 62-78.
After the final two WCC regular season games, the Cougars will prepare to compete in the 2015 WCC women’s basketball championships held in Las Vegas from Mar. 5-10 at the Orleans Arena. The winner of the conference championship receives an automatic bid into the NCAA tournament.