In the game of the night in Las Vegas, the 4th seeded Saint Mary's Gaels took on the 5th seeded BYU Cougars. Saint Mary's appeared to have the upper hand coming into the game as they had beat the Cougars both times in the regular season. The game was billed as the most intriguing match-up of the women's first round, and the teams didn't disappoint. Not only did the game combine two teams that were very evenly matched, it also had the WCC Player of the year in Morgan Bailey and the Newcomer of the Year in Stella Beck.
The game started slow on offense as the teams scored a combined eight points in the first five minutes. BYU would wake up after this and managed a 14-3 run that included a four-point play by Cassie Broadhead. The Gaels would counter with their own 10-2 run as they took the lead back at 22-20. The teams kept it close the rest of the half and BYU hit a quick bucket with 13 seconds left on the clock when Lexi Eaton hit a jump shot. 13 seconds was too much time, however, as the Gaels drove down and hit a bucket to keep the lead going into the half, 30-28.
The teams played evenly in the second half as they answered one run right after another. Neither team could find a lead larger than five points. A Kylie Maeda jumper gave BYU a 61-60 lead with two minutes remaining but the Gaels hit a go ahead shot with under a minute to play. The initial shot rounded off the rim and if the Cougars had rebounded the ball, it would have been free-throws to put the game away. However, the ball came off to a Gael and with the put back they led 64-63.
Eaton had no desire to go home after one game and powered through the defense, pulled up and drained the shot for the lead with less than two seconds left. A desperate heave amounted to an air ball for the Gaels and the Cougars walked away with their first win over the Gaels this year, 65-64, and advance in the WCC tournament.
Video: Eaton's game-winning shot
After pulling the ace out at the end of the game, Lexi Eaton led all scorers with 30 points to go along with her two assists and seven rebounds. Cassie Broadhead was the only other Cougar in double-digits as she ended with 10 points. Morgan Bailey had a tough night with only four points but pulled down nine rebounds and had two steals.
The next game with be Monday at 1 pm MT and will be against the winner of Gonzaga and Loyola Marymount. The game will be televised live on BYUtv.