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BYU basketball: Cougars fall behind at LMU

LOS ANGELES — A late second-half scoring rut hurt the BYU women’s basketball team, which fell 68-55 to Loyola Marymount on the road Thursday.

"We weren’t ready to play, especially in the second half," BYU head coach Jeff Judkins said. "We lost our intensity especially on defense. We didn’t make the plays we needed to and you can’t do that on the road."

The loss came despite a 10-point BYU (19-9, 10-5 West Coast Conference) lead in the first half and a season-high 16 points from Stephanie Vermunt Seaborn, who also led the game with six assists.

Haley Steed also scored in double figures with 11 points and Hamson led the Cougars with 11 boards.

BYU shot 45.2 percent during the first half but dropped to 35.6 percent for the game after a rough second half. LMU (11-17, 5-10 WCC) shot 41.5 percent on the night. The Cougars took the rebound battle 36-35 and the assists battle 16-12 despite the loss.

Seaborn came out on fire, knocking down three 3-pointers in the first few minutes to total nine of BYU’s first 18 points. Up 18-13 with 13 minutes to play, the Cougars fell into a rut and allowed LMU an 8-0 run to take its first lead, 20-18.

BYU quickly recovered, answering with a 13-2 run which included treys from Seaborn, Steed and Kylie Maeda. The 3-pointer was Seaborn’s fourth of the first half, tying her career high for 3-pointers in a game.

LMU chiseled away at the Cougar lead in the final minutes before halftime, coming within one possession with a layup by Lion Alex Cowling for a 34-31 score, but Steed shut down the momentum with her second trey of the night.

With nine field goals from beyond the arc and a 39-33 lead, BYU hit the locker room to prep for the second half. Seaborn totaled 16 points in the first half to tie her season high for points in a game.

The Lions’ Deanna Johnson made a lunge at BYU’s six-point lead on a 3-point basket, cutting the score to 39-38 before a Beeston 3-pointer and two Cougar buckets held off LMU from taking the lead.

A lead-change frenzy midway through the half ended with the Lions on top 52-48 with 8:20 to play. BYU trailed by four for most of the next five minutes until an LMU old-fashioned three-point play gave the Lions their largest lead of the game at 59-52.

During the second half, LMU’s Cowling became the all-time leading scorer in the WCC. She ended with 21 points on the night.

BYU heads north to Portland for its final regular-season matchup against the Pilots on Saturday at 2 p.m. PST.

Rachel Hawks is a sports information director for BYU Athletic Communications.