BYU comes up short against Gonzaga on senior night
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.
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