Lexi Eaton pushed BYU women’s basketball to a 69-67 overtime victory against Saint Mary’s on Saturday, making a jump shot with 24 seconds on the clock followed by a defensive rebound.
“I’m really proud of these guys,” BYU head coach Jeff Judkins said. “We knew this game was going to be like this, a slug fest. I saw a lot of toughness tonight. Each player made a key play tonight. There wasn’t one kid doing it, it was everybody. That’s what this team is built on.”
Eaton led the Cougars (13-2, 3-1 WCC) with 19 points, also contributing 10 rebounds for her first career double-double. Jennifer Hamson picked up her 10th double-double of the season with 15 points and 10 rebounds. Kylie Maeda had a career-high 14 points and was a perfect 4-for-4 from 3-point land.
The game was BYU’s third to go into overtime this season.
The Cougars shot 48 percent from the field and held the Gaels (12-3, 2-2 WCC) to only 26.2 percent. BYU won the assist battle 18-10 and led in rebounds 42-37.
After a slow start to the first half, Eaton tied the score 9-9 with free throws. Saint Mary’s responded with a 5-0 run. Maeda halted the run with a basket from beyond the arc, cutting the deficit to 14-12 with 8:53 until halftime.
The Gaels scored six straight points off free throws before Maeda threw down another trey, cutting the Saint Mary’s advantage to 20-15. Fouls hurt the Cougars in the first half, earning the Gaels 13 of their 32 points.
Hamson pushed back with a short-range jumper, which Kim Beeston followed up with a layup with less than two minutes on the clock. A trey from Beeston put BYU within four at 32-28 going into halftime.
After three minutes of play in the second half, Maeda drained another three. Saint Mary’s tipped the ball out of bounds, giving the ball back to the Cougars. Hamson scored a bucket off the turnover, putting BYU back in the lead 35-34 for the first time since the opening minutes of the game. A Gael foul after Hamson’s score awarded Eaton the chance to extend the lead to 37-34 with 15:35 on the clock, capping a 9-0 Cougar run.
A 6-0 Saint Mary’s run put the Gaels ahead 54-51 with 6:18 to play. Hamson tied it up 56-56 on back-to-back free throws, and Beeston’s jump shot took the lead back with four minutes left.
Free throws put the Gaels up 62-58, but two foul shots and a layup from Hamson tied the score at 62 with 40 seconds left. Down to 16 seconds, Eaton rebounded a jumper missed by Saint Mary’s and took it to the other end but couldn’t get the ball in the hoop to prevent overtime.
BYU went up 67-64 on a Maeda layup with just over a minute left in overtime. The Gaels tied the score on a jumper and foul shot before Eaton pulled off her game-winning basket with 24 seconds to go. Saint Mary’s missed a shot with one second left, and Eaton rebounded it to seal the victory for BYU.
The Cougars head to Spokane, Wash., to take on Gonzaga on Thursday at 6 p.m. PST.
Rachel Hawks is a sports information director for BYU Athletic Communications.
Copyright 2016, Deseret News Publishing Company