Traveling to Los Angeles and Malibu doesn't seem like tough trips until you throw in a couple of competitive basketball teams that would like nothing else to hand you a loss on the road. The BYU Cougars Women's basketball team was faced with this prospect during the week as they traveled to take on the Loyola Marymount Lions and the Pepperdine Waves.
The Cougars struggled early in both games but were able to make the plays necessary to walk out of both games with wins. With the win over Pepperdine the Cougars are now 13-4 on the year, 5-1 in the WCC, and have now won 10 of their last 11 games. At this point the Cougars are clicking on all cylinders as they are getting production out of starters and bench players as they look to make a run in the WCC towards the NCAA Tournament. Coming home the Cougars are a bit concerned with their senior guard, Ashley Garfield, as she left the game in the first half against Loyola Marymount with an apparent knee injury. Cougar fans will be eagerly anticipating news this coming week on the seriousness of the injury.
Win over Loyola Marymount
Morgan Bailey once again led the Cougars as she recorded yet another double-double, her seventh of the season, in the 71-63 win in Los Angeles. BYU only managed to hit two of their first seven shots and found themselves down 11 in first seven minutes. Even with the shooting woes the defense came to play as they held the Lions to multiple droughts of at least three minutes. The Cougars managed to fall behind by 14 before they closed out the first half on a 6-0 run and were only down five at 28-23.
The second half started out completely different as they started with a 10-4 run followed by a 9-2 run that put the Cougars up 42-34. LMU wouldn't go away easily as they went on a 14-6 run to tie the game up at 48. BYU would continue to shoot the ball well as they hit three consecutive three pointers to take a 10 point lead, their first double digit lead of the night. BYU would subsequently go on a four minute drought which was ended by Bailey with just less than five minutes left. The Lions would pull within three points before free throws finished off the game and the Cougars win.
Win over Pepperdine
After a 22 point night from Bailey against LMU, the Waves weren't going to let Bailey beat them on the scoreboard so Lexi Eaton scored 29. Even as Eaton led all scorers, she was overshadowed by teammate Makenzi Morrison as she scored 25 points on 8-9 shooting, including a BYU single game record 7-7 from the three point line. After a close start for the Cougars the Waves buckled down on defense five minutes into the game and went on a 13-2 run to take a 19-9 lead. The last five minutes of the half belonged to BYU as they scored on five consecutive possessions and tied the game up at 31. Kylie Maeda would give the Cougars the halftime lead as she drove for a bucket at the buzzer.
The second half started with threes from Eaton and Morrison as they built a 50-41 lead before the Waves would score six straight points to pull within three. With five minutes left in the game the Waves pulled within two points before a 6-0 run built the lead back up and the Cougars found a 10 point lead. Once again the Waves tried to push back but the free throw shooting of Eaton and Maeda kept the game out of reach and gave BYU the 84-78 win.
BYU will come home for the next two games as they take on Pacific on Thursday, January 15th at 7pm MST on BYUtv. The Cougars will then face off against St. Mary's on Saturday, January 17th at 2pm MST, also on BYUtv.