In front of almost 700 fans the Lady Cougars rung in the new year with a bang as they defeated the Broncos 84-55. Once again the Cougars were led by superstar Lexi Eaton as she dropped 22 points, corralled six rebounds, and dished out four assists.
Eaton started the scoring for the Cougars as she scored the first six points of the game on two consecutive buckets plus ones. The Bronco's wouldn't give up quite yet as they went on a 6-0 run of their own to tie the game. For the next several minutes the lead would fluctuate between the teams but Santa Clara led by one at each of the first two media time-outs. Both teams struggled from the field at the beginning as eight minutes into the half the teams were both shooting less than 40% from the field. Rebounding seemed to be the Cougars Achilles early as they were out-rebounded, particularly on the offensive side. BYU would gather themselves after the under 12 minute time-out and found themselves breaking away with an 11-0 run to lead 23-13. Santa Clara tried to start a run of their own but after only four points Kylie Maeda quashed it with a three pointer that led to another 12-0 run and a 35-17 lead. The teams would trade baskets for the rest of the half as BYU went into the locker room with a 40-25 lead.
The Cougars would start the second half the same way they did the first, with a bucket and a free throw, leading to a 19 point lead. The Bronco's would still have some fight in them as they pulled within 13 points, the closest they would come for the rest of the game. As the game became more physical, the fouls began to build up on both sides but BYU weathered the storm much better and built a 31 point lead as another 11-0 run put the Broncos away for good. Bucket after bucket fell for the Cougars as they went from 36% shooting early in the game to almost 55% shooting for the game. BYU ended up with nine more rebounds (50-41) but was outrebounded 17-6 on the offensive side. The Cougars defense turned away shot after shot as they only allowed six second chance points to the Broncos, all in the first half.
Morgan Bailey dominated the rebounds as she pulled down 14, 12 of them on the defensive side, and added seven assists and eight points. Xojian Henry and Makenzi Morrison each scored in double-digits with Eaton as they had 12 and 10 respectively. Raquel Avila led Santa Clara with 11 points and three assists.
The Cougars will stay home for a game against San Francisco on Saturday, January 3rd at 2 pm MST. The game will be televised by BYUtv or you can get tickets for the live action as you support the Lady Cougars on their trek to the NCAA Tournament.