HANOVER, N. H. — Sophomore Lexi Eaton’s free throws with 11 seconds left to play gave the BYU women’s basketball team what it needed to take down Dartmouth in a 58-57 nailbiter Tuesday night in New Hampshire.
“To win like we did tonight is always a confidence builder for us even if we had some tough spots throughout the night,” BYU head coach Jeff Judkins said. “One thing we need to do is we need to come out better and execute in the beginning.”
BYU improved to 2-0 on the season, while Dartmouth dropped to 1-1.
Eaton’s free throws were two of 19 points scored during the contest, and Kim Parker Beeston contributed 11 points. Sophomore Morgan Bailey had a career-high 12 points with a career-high 10 rebounds for her first double-double of her career.
“Defense was going through my head during the last few minutes of the game,” Bailey said. “Jud (Judkins) kept pounding in our heads, no threes. Defense wins games. We say that a lot. But if we do that, our offense will take care of itself.”
Senior Haley Steed totaled six assists and four steals.
Dartmouth took control to launch the first half, going ahead 11-7 on a layup by Milica Toskovic. Xojian Harry tied up the score at 16 on a 3-pointer, setting up Steed to push BYU ahead 18-16 on a free-throw line jumper for the Cougars’ first lead of the game. Daisy Jordan stole the lead back for Dartmouth on an old-fashioned three-point play, part of a 7-0 run by the Big Green.
Kim Beeston flipped BYU back into the lead with a 3-point jumper followed quickly by a bucket and free throw by Eaton to give the Cougars a 29-25 lead. BYU maintained that lead into halftime, going to the locker room ahead 31-27.
Eaton increased the BYU lead to 36-31 on a trey, but a 5-0 Big Green scoring streak tied up the score 36-36 early in the second half. Dartmouth’s lone senior Faziah Steen threw down a pair of free throws to once again exchange places with BYU, and Abbey Schmitt followed up with a layup, bringing Dartmouth’s lead to 42-37.
As both teams scrambled for the lead, Eaton went in for a layup to tie the game again at 55-55. With 1:10 left on the clock and the score at 56-55 after an Eaton free throw, Dartmouth’s Nicola Zimmer took a long jumper but missed. Schmitt got the ball back for the Big Green but wasn’t able to capitalize and missed her layup.
A Steed foul put Zimmer on the free-throw line for a one-and-one opportunity, but Zimmer couldn’t sink the first. With the clock registering 34 seconds left in the game, Zimmer turned around and fouled Steed, who also missed out on her one-and-one chance.
“The funny thing is both the Dartmouth player and Haley missed those free throws,” Judkins said. “They are usually both automatic, but neither got the ball to fall. However, we had other players step up and make plays.”
After a timeout with only 11 seconds left and the score still at 56-55, Keilani Unga passed the ball inbounds to Eaton, who was immediately fouled and sent to the charity stripe. Game on the line, Eaton made both free throws for a 58-55 BYU lead.
Dartmouth got the ball back and dished it to Zimmer, who failed to make a 3-pointer with two seconds on the clock to tie the game. Schmitt put the ball in for a layup as the clock expired, but the last two points weren’t enough to prevent a 58-57 Cougar victory.
The Cougars stay in the Northeast, traveling to Massachusetts to take on Boston College at 7 p.m. EST Thursday before visiting Harvard Friday for a 5 p.m. EST matchup.
BYU went into the locker room at the break with four-point, 31-27 advantage.
For the second straight time, the Cougars dished out more assists than their opponents. At Dartmouth they recorded 11 to the Big Green’s six.
The Cougars made six 3-pointers, marking the second straight game putting up at least five treys in a game.
BYU finished the game with 13 miscues to Dartmouth’s 15.
Morgan Bailey picked up her first career double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds. Both stats were career highs and the boards were game highs.
Eaton finished the game with 19 points to lead all scorers. Bailey tallied 12 and Beeston had 11.
Rachel Hawks is a sports information director for BYU Athletic Communications.