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BYU basketball: Cougars play two important WCC games at SMC and Pacific this week

All alone in second place in the West Coast Conference standings and riding a five-game winning streak, BYU women’s basketball (19-5, 11-2) heads to Northern California for two important league games this week.

The Cougars are at Saint Mary’s (16-7, 9-3) on Thursday, Feb. 12 in a 6 p.m. PST tip. On Saturday, Feb. 14, BYU is at Pacific (17-6, 9-3) for a 2 p.m. PST matchup in Stockton.

About BYU

Lexi Eaton, a 5-foot-10 junior guard/forward combo, leads the Cougars in scoring, averaging 20.7 points per game. She ranks third in rebounds, pulling down 6.5 boards a contest. Morgan Bailey, a 6-2 senior forward, is in second place in scoring, tallying 18.3 points, while leading the way in rebounding, averaging 10.8 boards per game. Bailey became BYU’s 26th player to eclipse 1,000 points in the USF game. The team’s assist leader is Kylie Maeda, who averages 4.5 assists a game.

BYU is averaging 68.8 points per game, while shooting 43.3 percent from the field, 69.5 percent at the free-throw line and 35.7 percent from 3-point land. In all but three games, (at LMU, vs. USF and at Gonzaga), BYU has dished out more assists than its opponents. In the home game against SMC, both teams tied in the assist’s category with 11 each. The Cougars have recorded more rebounds in 13 contests to date, have a 15-1 mark when leading at the break and have scored at least 80 points in five games.

The team has had four players score in double figures in three contests and has had three players finish with double-digit points in seven.

BYU head coach Jeff Judkins recorded his 300th win with the 77-58 home victory over Pepperdine on Feb. 5, 2015.

About Saint Mary's

Saint Mary’s has compiled a 16-7, 9-3 record to date and is tied for fourth place in the league standings entering this week’s WCC action.

Junior guard Lauren Nicholson is the lone player for the Gaels that scores in double digits, averaging 16.8 points and 3.9 rebounds a contest. The team’s leading rebounder is senior Carli Rosenthal, who grabs 7.7 boards a game.

SMC is averaging 64.3 points, recording 42.5 rebounds per game, shooting 41.4 percent from the field and 72.3 percent from the free-throw line. From 3-point range, the Gaels are shooting 27.7 percent.

Saint Mary’s leads the series with BYU, 5-3. When playing in Moraga, the Cougars have a 0-3 record. Judkins is 3-5 against the Gaels.

The first game between the two league foes was played in Provo on Jan. 17, with the visiting Gaels recording the 61-51 victory over BYU.

Bailey and Eaton led the Cougar effort in the game with 17 points each. With a team-best 10 rebounds, Bailey, who played all 40 minutes, recorded her ninth double-double of the year.

BYU shot 28.3 percent from the field, 27.6 from 3-point range and 64.3 percent at the free-throw line. The Cougars had the edge in blocks, four to one, and in steals, four to three.

In the game, the visiting Gaels had the advantage in rebounds, 52-29. SMC finished the contest shooting 40.0 percent from the field and 83.3 percent from the free-throw line. When shooting from behind the arc, the Gaels shot 66.7 percent.

Lauren Nichols was the lone SMC player to score in double digits with 20. She had a double-double with 11 rebounds.

About Pacific

Pacific enters this week’s league action tied for fourth place with Saint Mary’s in the West Coast Conference standings with a 9-3 mark. The Tigers have an overall 17-6 record. When playing at home, Pacific is 4-1 in league games.

In this year’s league race, Pacific was picked to finish fourth in the conference. The Tigers’ Kendall Kenyon was named to the 2014-15 Preseason All-WCC Team.

Two Pacific players are scoring in double figures, led by 6-2 senior forward Kendall Kenyon, who averages 14.0 points and a team-best 11.1 rebounds per game. Junior guard Hailie Eackles follows with 11.0 points and 2.0 boards a contest. The Tigers are averaging 69.4 points a game and pulling down 36.1 rebounds, while shooting 40.0 percent from the field, 33.2 percent from behind the arc and 69.1 percent from the free-throw line.

BYU leads the series, 8-2. When playing in Stockton, the Cougars are 3-0.

In the first meeting with Pacific, the Lions came to the Marriott Center on Jan. 15, with the Cougars picking up the 89-72 victory. The win snapped Pacific’s five-game win streak. Bailey and Eaton combined for 63 of the 89 total points with 31 and 32, respectively. Bailey also recorded a double-double with a game-high 11 rebounds. Eaton dished out a career- and game-best eight assists. BYU shot 54.7 from the field compared with 41.3 percent for Pacific and out-rebounded the Tigers, 42-28.

Up next

The Cougar women remain on the road for their next league game. BYU heads to San Diego to take on the Toreros on Saturday, Feb. 21.