Bailey shines as BYU beats Santa Clara

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When the team’s two leading scorers are struggling, someone else needs to step up.

That is just what Junior forward Morgan Bailey did as she led the BYU women’s basketball team to a 61-41 win over conference opponent Santa Clara. Bailey recorded 18 points, 13 rebounds and three steals for her second straight double-double.

BYU's Xojian Harry passes the ball in Saturday's game against Santa Clara. Photo by Elliott Miller.
BYU’s Xojian Harry passes the ball in Saturday’s game against Santa Clara. Photo by Elliott Miller.
“I’m finally playing like I practice,” Bailey said. “Earlier in the season, I was playing really cautious. I think I’m playing with confidence now, which is a huge change in my game.”

The Cougars (16-4, 6-3) started out slow against the Broncos (7-13, 3-6), with the score just 9-8 after 10 minutes of play. Then with five minutes left to go in the half, BYU’s offense finally got going.

Bailey had three straight buckets, which forced a Santa Clara timeout. However, the Broncos couldn’t stop the Cougars’ momentum, as senior Kim Beeston came out of the timeout to hit a big 3-pointer and junior Xojian Harry had a three point play, extending their lead to 33-17.

After some exciting offensive plays in the second half, including a no-look pass from sophomore Kylie Maeda to Beeston through traffic for a layup, BYU had extended their lead to 21 points with 11 minutes left to play in the game. Santa Clara fought back and brought the score within 11, 53-42. They never got any closer than that, as the Cougars pulled away for a hard-fought 61-44 victory.

“We hit some shots and made some plays down at the end when we had to. These are games that as a player you work all year for, where you have a chance to decide your own destiny,” BYU head coach Jeff Judkins said.

Judkins also praised Bailey’s efforts tonight.

“Another great game by Morgan. I thought in the first half she really carried us; we wouldn’t have been in the game without her,” Judkins said. “She has matured in a lot of ways, mentally and physically. She knew tonight when Jen [Hamson] got those fouls that this was her opportunity, and I think she had been waiting for that. She was a big factor tonight.”

BYU’s defense held Santa Clara to just 44 points, 25 points under their season average. Ricki Radanovich had 16 points on 4-8 3-point shooting, while Nici Gilday, the Broncos’ leading scorer, was kept scoreless.

For BYU, Beeston finished with 12 points and Junior Ashley Garfield grabbed 13 rebounds to go along with five points.

The Cougars are back on the road next week as they take on Saint Mary’s on Jan. 30 at 7:00 p.m. MST.

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