Fresh off two huge road wins over San Francisco and Santa Clara, BYU women’s basketball is back home this week for two important league games. The Cougar women (17-5, 9-2) host Pepperdine (6-16, 1-10) on Thursday at 7 p.m., and Loyola Marymount (3-19, 1-10) on Saturday at 2 p.m. Thursday’s game airs live on BYUtv, while Saturday’s game vs. LMU airs on TheW.tv.
Lexi Eaton, a 5-foot-10 junior guard/forward combo, leads the Cougars in scoring, averaging 19.8 points per game. She ranks third in rebounds, pulling down 6.1 boards a contest. Morgan Bailey, a 6-2 senior forward, is in second place in scoring, tallying 18.5 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 4.2 assists a game.
BYU is averaging 68.1 points per game, while shooting 42.6 percent from the field, 69.8 percent at the free-throw line and 35.5 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. Most recently, in the home game vs. SMC, the teams tied in the assists category with 11 each. The Cougars have recorded more rebounds in 11 contests to date, have a 13-1 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.
The combined 63 points from Eaton’s 32 and Bailey’s 31 points, in the win over Pacific on Jan. 15, were the first in program history. No two players have ever scored 30-plus points each in the same game. Bailey has played all 40 minutes in five league games including the last three.
Pepperdine has compiled a 6-16, 1-10 record. Most recently, the Waves dropped home games to Saint Mary’s and Pacific. The Waves are tied with LMU for last place in the most updated league standings.
Bria Richardson (15.3 ppg), Keitra Wallace (13.0 ppg) and Allie Green (11.7 ppg) are the three Pepperdine players scoring in double digits. Wallace also tops the leaderboard in the rebound category, grabbing 5.6 boards a game. The Waves are averaging 63.0 points a game, while shooting 39.1 percent from the field, 30.2 from behind the arc and 72.4 percent from the free-throw line.
BYU leads the series, 9-2. When playing in Provo, Pepperdine is 0-5. Head coach Jeff Judkins has a perfect 8-1 mark vs. the Waves.
The first meting between these two league foes was played in Malibu on Jan. 10. In that contest, the Cougars recorded an 84-78 victory behind perfect 3-point shooting from Makenzi Morrison. She broke the single-game school record in 3-point field goal percentage going 7-of-7 from behind the arc. Morrison finished the game with a career-high 25 points. Eaton also scored 20-plus points with 29. Bailey nearly had a double-double from a game-best 14 rebounds and nine points.
After being down by 10 with 10 minutes left in the first half, BYU went on a 8-0 run to close out the half with a 33-31 lead on a buzzer-beater by Maeda.
Pepperdine got within two until BYU went on a 6-0 run of its own to push it to 69-62 with 4:36 left. The Cougars had their largest lead of the night after Morrison made her sixth trey to make their lead 74-64. Despite a late push by Pepperdine, BYU held on to the 84-78 win with free throw shooting by Eaton and Maeda.
Loyola Marymount enters this week’s league play with a 3-19, 1-10 record and will play at San Diego on Thursday prior to making the trip to Provo. The Lions are on a three-game losing skid, having dropped home games vs. Saint Mary’s and Pacific.
Three players are tallying double digits in scoring for the Lions, led by 11.9 points from Leslie Lopez-Wood. Taylor Anderson follows with 11.6 points a contest. Rounding out the scoring threat for LMU is Emily Ben-Jumbo, who puts up 10.3 points a game. She, along with Anderson, tops the list in the rebound category, grabbing 6.0 boards each. LMU is averaging 65.5 points per game, while pulling down 36.5 rebounds. The team is shooting 39.2 percent from the field and 71.2 percent from the free-throw line. When shooting from behind the arc, the Lions shoot 30.2 percent.
BYU leads the series at 9-1. LMU has a 0-3 mark when playing in Provo. Judkins has a 7-1 record against Loyola Marymount.
The two WCC foes played each other in Los Angeles on Jan. 8, with the Cougars getting the 71-63 road win. Three BYU players recorded double digits in points led by a double-double from Bailey, who scored game highs in points (22) and rebounds (16). Teammates Eaton and Morrison also had double digits in points with 20 and 14, respectively.
BYU started off shooting the ball poorly, going 2-for-7 in the first seven minutes of the game. LMU capitalized on the off-shooting start and took a 16-5 lead with 12:51 left in the first half. Bailey made a layup, the last bucket of the first half, with 30 seconds remaining to bring the Cougars within five, 23-28, at halftime. The Cougars closed out the half on a 6-0 run, holding the Lions scoreless for the last three minutes.
In the second half, BYU came out strong offensively, taking its first double-digit lead, 61-51, with eight minutes left in the game.
Bailey powered in for a layup with 4:43 remaining in the game for a 63-56 Cougar lead. LMU kept it close toward the end, getting within three points with one minute left. Morrison sealed the game for BYU late, making four free throws and stealing the ball with 10 seconds left.
After playing two WCC games at home, BYU takes its second to last road trip, playing at Saint Mary’s and at Pacific on Feb. 12 and 14, respectively.
Norma Collett is the athletic communications director for the BYU women's basketball team. She can be reached at 801-422-4908 or at email@example.com