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Women's basketball: BYU's comeback falls short against Pacific

The late comeback was not enough for BYU women’s basketball against Pacific, falling 82-86 on the road Saturday.

“We got in a hole,” BYU head coach Jeff Judkins said. “They came out aggressive and we were a little off balanced. I thought we did a better job later in the first half of cutting the lead, giving us a chance to come back and win. We had a lot of opportunities to take the lead, but we could not execute.”

Lexi Eaton led all scorers with 29 points and was 11-of-13 from the charity stripe. She also grabbed nine rebounds and dished out four assists. Morgan Bailey had 28 points, 10-of-18 from the field, and 11 rebounds for her 14th double-double of the season. She shot 7-of-10 from the free-throw line and also had six assists.

“It’s tough to lose to a team we know can beat,” Bailey said. “We have been in this position a lot this season, and we have to fight to never give up. We have to have better starts and finishes and come ready to play a full game of tough defense.”

Kylie Maeda added 11 points, including making 3-of-3 treys. Makenzi Morrison had 10 points, three rebounds and three assists. As a team, the Cougars shot 48 percent from the field and 53 percent from beyond the arc.

With this loss, BYU (19-7, 11-4 West Coast Conference) drops to a tie in third place in the WCC race with Pacific (18-7, 10-4 WCC) and San Diego.

Both teams were scoreless for the first two minutes of the game until Pacific scored at the 17:52 mark. Bailey answered right back for BYU with a layup on the next possession. The Tigers got hot and went on a 10-2 run until Maeda found Bailey for the bucket to stop the run and make it 6-13 with 14:05 left in the first half.

The Cougars continued to struggle in the first half. They were held scoreless for three minutes, allowing the Tigers to go up 20-8. A big offensive board by Bailey set up Eaton for a 3-pointer with 9:19 remaining to close the gap to 12-20.

A trey from Morrison capped off a quick 5-0 run for BYU when Pacific answered right back with a three of its own to push its lead to 30-21. Jump shots from Eaton, Kristine Fuller and Bailey made up a 6-0 run to get within six points with 3:10 left in the half.

The Cougars made 10 of their last 12 shots of the first half to close in on the Tigers lead. Bailey nailed a 3-pointer with five seconds left to make the score 37-42 going into the half.

The second half started off strong for BYU, making two treys in a row to get within one, 45-46. The Tigers answered back with an 8-0 run, holding the Cougars scoreless for four minutes. With 14:05 left in the game, Morrison ended the 0-for-7 shooting slump with a jump shot, closing back in on Pacific’s 56-47 lead.

Bailey nailed a turnaround hook shot with 11 minutes left to close in on the Tigers’ lead, 57-61. The two teams traded buckets back and forth until Pacific went on a 7-0 run. A 3-pointer from Maeda ended the run to make it 64-72 with 5:59 remaining.

The only points scored for BYU were free throws until Eaton drove to the basket for the layup with 2:48 left to get within four points, 74-78. With 46 seconds remaining, Eaton got the putback off a miss to make it a two point game, 78-80. In the end, the Cougars’ comeback fell short against the Tigers, never leading in the ball game.

BYU has a bye on Thursday before hitting the road to play San Diego on Feb. 21 at 2 p.m. PST. The game will be broadcast live on and BYU Radio – Sirius XM 143. Live stats will also be available on the BYU women’s basketball schedule page.