Cougars triumph in overtime thriller at Santa Clara

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Star sophomore guard Lexi Eaton provided the spark for BYU as she scored a career-high 31 points to lead the Cougars past the Broncos of Santa Clara in an 87-80 overtime win.

Just a week after pouring in a previous career high of 29 against Saint Mary’s, Eaton gave BYU a much-needed boost in the second half and overtime to propel her team to the win. She shot 53 percent from the floor and 11-13 from the charity stripe. Senior Jennifer Hamson was also a force for the Cougars, scoring 25 points and pulling down 18 rebounds for her third straight double-double.

BYU's Lexi Eaton attempts to make her way into the lane for a layup in a game earlier this season. Photo by Universe Photographer.
BYU’s Lexi Eaton attempts to make her way into the lane for a layup in a game earlier this season. Photo by Universe Photographer.

“We played really well to start out the game,” BYU head coach Jeff Judkins said. “We had a bit of a letdown after that, though. Give credit to Santa Clara. They played really well. Lexi had a great game tonight, but this was a team-building win. I’m proud of our fight and for being able to find a way to come back from behind and get an overtime win.”

BYU started out the game strong on an 11-0 run behind five points from Junior Ashley Garfield. Things quickly got out of hand, however, as Santa Clara came alive and eventually went into halftime holding a double-digit lead, 40-30.

After battling their way back in the second half, the Cougars reclaimed their lead 66-65 after a 3-point play by Eaton. She continued her clutch play by sinking four straight free throws in the last 30 seconds of the game to put BYU up 74-71. But with three seconds left to play, the Broncos’ Nici Gilday stunned the Cougars by hitting a 3-pointer to send the game into overtime.

Free throws were the difference-maker in the overtime period, as BYU went 9-10 from the charity stripe and shot a season-high 87 percent overall for the game. Sophomore point guard Kylie Maeda shot a perfect 10-10 from the free throw line, as well as Hamson who made 9-9. Santa Clara missed multiple free-throw attempts, including the front end of one-and-one free throw situations, to allow BYU to pull away for an 87-80 win.

Maeda finished the game with 13 points and Ashley Garfield ended with 10 points and nine boards as the fourth Cougar to score in double figures.

BYU will stay on the road, facing the San Francisco Dons Saturday Feb. 8 at 3 p.m. MST. Links to live stats and broadcast of the game can be found on byucougars.com.

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