BYU wins gritty battle with Santa Clara
SANTA CLARA, Calif. – Behind Lexi Eaton’s 27 points, BYU women’s basketball scraped out a 58-56 win over Santa Clara on the road Saturday.
“They really pressured us,” BYU head coach Jeff Judkins said. “In the second half, we did a much better job. Morgan and Lexi are two of the best scorers I’ve ever had. When you have people like that, it makes winning a lot easier. We just have to get better balanced scoring.”
Eaton and Morgan Bailey both had double-doubles in the win. Eaton had 27 points and 13 rebounds, while Bailey scored 19 points and grabbed 12 rebounds. Xojian Harry scored five points late in the game. She also grabbed five rebounds and dished out three assists.
With 6:09 left in the second half, Eaton hit a long two to get BYU (17-5, 9-2 West Coast Conference) within one of Santa Clara (7-13, 2-9 WCC). She scored eight points in a row, including six points from the free throw line, to give the Cougars a 47-44 lead, their first since the opening minutes.
Santa Clara fought back, keeping it close, until Harry went on a 5-0 run by herself, including a trey that gave BYU a four-point lead with one minute remaining. Harry was 0 of 7 from the field until making the two baskets that gave the Cougars the 52-48 lead. BYU closed out the game making free throws down the stretch to hold on to the 58-56 win.
BYU got off to a slow start, letting Santa Clara go on an 8-0 run early in the first half. Bailey ended the run with a hook shot to make it 10-6 with 13:46 remaining in the half.
Eaton scored the next five points for the Cougars, including a jump shot at the top of the key with 8:53 left in the half to close the gap to 15-10.
With 4:47 left, Makenzi Morrison stole the ball away and found Eaton for a breakaway layup to cut Santa Clara’s lead to four. Eaton then made two free throws to get within two, 19-17.
The Broncos extended their lead late in the half despite the Cougars’ first 3-pointer of the game from Eaton, adding to her 14 points in the first half. BYU shot 32 percent in the half, which led to a 30-23 deficit.
Bailey started out the second half aggressive, nailing a hook shot, but Santa Clara came out strong, pushing the lead. A jump shot by Eaton with 17:18 left in the game made the score 32-27.
All alone under the basket, Bailey made an easy layup, closing in on the Bronco’s 37-31 lead. Aggressive play by the Cougars gave more opportunities at the charity stripe, which helped close the gap. A left-handed layup by Bailey drew the foul. After completing the three-point play, it was a one possession game with BYU down 42-39 with 9:50 remaining.
The Cougars will return home next week to face Pepperdine on Thursday at 7 p.m. MST. The game will be broadcast live on BYU TV. Live stats will also be available on the BYU women’s basketball schedule page.
BYU finished the game with 20 points in the paint to 18 for SCU. The Cougars also got four fast break points, while the Broncos did not record any.
Both teams finished with 11 turnovers each. BYU took advantage of SCU’s miscues getting eight points compared with six for the Broncos.
The Broncos had the edge for the Broncos in assists with nine. The Cougars had eight. They also got the advantage in blocks with four to BYU’s three.
BYU earned its first lead of the game on free throws from Lexi Eaton with 5:21 left in the second half.
The Cougars finished the game shooting 70.6 percent from the free-throw line going 24 of 34.
Eaton led all scorers at the break with 14. She also tied for the lead in rebounds with five. She finished the game with 27 points and 13 rebounds for her second double-double of the season. The points mark the ninth time she’s recorded 20-plus points in a game this year. Both the points and the rebounds were game highs.
Bailey grabbed five rebounds in the first half to tie for game highs in that category. She also had six points.
With the final 19 points and 12 rebounds she collected her 11th double-double of the year and second straight.
Xojian Harry had two assists in the first 20 minutes of action, the most on the team. She finished the game with three for the team lead.
Harry also scored five points, all coming in the final minutes of the game. Her first field goal gave the Cougars a three-point lead with just 1:48 left in the contest.
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