The BYU women’s basketball team came up short in a 75-70 loss to Saint Mary’s College in Moraga, Calif. Thursday night despite a phenomenal performance by sophomore Lexi Eaton.
Eaton had a career-high 28 points, while shooting 64 percent from the field and hitting 8-8 from the free throw line. However, the Gaels (17-4, 7-3) prevailed down the stretch to pull out the win against the visiting Cougars (16-5, 6-4).
“This was a good team effort tonight,” BYU head coach Jeff Judkins said. “The game came right down to the end and we had a chance to stop them and give us a chance to win. I thought we got beat mentally a few times. Lexi (Eaton) had a great game for us. She let the game come to her and she made some big baskets when we needed them.”
Jennifer Hamson contributed her 13th double-double of the season, notching 17 points and 10 boards along with four blocks.
Although BYU had a seven point lead early in the first half, Saint Mary’s took control of the game and led by as many as 10 points before the break. With a few seconds left in the half, Eaton spun around her defender to finish with a left handed floater in the lane just as time expired, to put the Cougars within six at the half, 36-30.
The game turned into a nail-biter late in the second half as both teams battled back and forth. With three minutes left in the game, Junior Morgan Bailey had a layup to bring the Cougars within three points, 62-59. After trading buckets back and forth, BYU senior Kim Beeston came up clutch, hitting a 3-pointer with 40 seconds left to give BYU a chance to close the gap.
Saint Mary’s responded with another clutch 3-pointer. Beeston answered that with one of her own, hitting her third 3-pointer of the night with 0.2 seconds on the clock. It would not be enough, as Saint Mary’s came out on top 75-70.
Beeston finished with 10 points, and Bailey ended with nine.
The Cougars stay on the road this weekend, facing Pacific at 3 p.m. MST.