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BYU basketball: Eaton’s career high helps Cougars overcome Santa Clara

By Royce Hinton

For the Deseret News

Published: Thursday, Feb. 6 2014 11:18 p.m. MST

Sophomore Lexi Eaton led BYU women’s basketball to an 87-80 overtime victory over Santa Clara on Thursday night on the road.

“We played really well to start out the game,” BYU head coach Jeff Judkins said. “We had a bit of a letdown after that though. Give credit to Santa Clara. They played really well. Lexi had a great game tonight, but this was a team building win. I'm proud of our fight and for being able to find a way to come back from behind and get an overtime win.”

Eaton led all Cougar scorers with a career-high 31 points, including going 11-for-13 from the charity stripe. Jennifer Hamson had a double-double of 25 points and 18 rebounds, which tied her career high in boards. Ashley Garfield scored a season high 10 points to go along with nine rebounds while Kylie Maeda chipped in 13 points of her own.

BYU (18-5, 8-4) shot 42 percent from the field while Santa Clara (7-16, 3-8) hit 47 percent of its shots. Both teams combined to hit just 4-of-24 attempts from 3-point land.

Eaton got the first points in overtime with a layup after driving to the bucket. Following the score, each team got two points from the charity stripe.

Another Eaton bucket followed by four free throws to put the Cougars up 82-76 with 1:37 remaining in the game. Santa Clara missed multiple free throw attempts in the closing minutes of overtime as BYU cruised on to an 87-80 victory.

Garfield gave the Cougars five points early en route to an 11-0 start to the game. Nici Gilday from the Broncos responded with an 8-0 run of her own to cut BYU’s lead to just three with 13:45 left in the first half.

Three Cougars were forced to take a seat on the bench after picking up two fouls early in the first half. Santa Clara took advantage and battled back to take its first lead at 20-18 with just over eight minutes left to play in the half.

Both teams traded buckets from that point until the 2:40 mark when the Broncos hit the first 3-pointer of the game from either side to take a 36-28 advantage.

Santa Clara took a double-digit 40-30 lead into the break after holding BYU to just one field goal in the final four minutes of the half.

After five minutes of play, five-straight Hamson points cut the Cougar deficit back to single digits at 47-39.

Kim Beeston hit the first BYU 3-pointer to cap off a 12-2 run that put the Cougars behind just three at 49-46.

Eaton hit a jumper to trim the Bronco lead to two with 6:10 left in the game, and Hamson followed with a pair from the charity stripe to tie things up at 61 apiece.

BYU took its first lead of the second half at 66-65 from a 3-point play by Eaton.

With 25 seconds remaining in the game, Santa Clara hit a layup to cut the Cougar advantage to just one at 70-69. Following the BYU inbound pass, Eaton was fouled and hit both free throws to take a 72-69 lead.

Another foul on Eaton followed the ensuing Cougar possession allowed her to get two more points from the charity stripe to go up 74-71 with 10 seconds left in the game.

The Broncos’ Gilday hit a 3-pointer with just three seconds remaining to send the game to overtime with the score tied up, 74-74.

BYU stays on the road for the fourth-straight game Saturday when it faces San Francisco at 2 p.m. PST. Links to live stats and a video feed can be found on the BYU women’s basketball schedule page.

Royce Hinton is the women's volleyball sports information director for BYU Athletic Communications.

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