You have to hand it to Westminster. This is a big game for them and they came out ready to fight. Hopefully this is a blessing in disguise for us because it will help us to get better. —BYU head coach Jeff Judkins

Junior Lexi Eaton led the Cougars Saturday as they fell to Westminster College, 59-54, in an exhibition game at the Marriott Center.

“You have to hand it to Westminster,” BYU head coach Jeff Judkins said. “This is a big game for them and they came out ready to fight. Hopefully this is a blessing in disguise for us because it will help us to get better.”

Eaton finished with 17 points, while playing limited minutes as one of the BYU players who battled foul trouble throughout the game.

Junior Kylie Maeda paced the Cougars early, scoring four of BYU’s first six points, and Eaton added a quick seven points as BYU led 14-13 with 11 minutes left in the half. Westminster bounced back and used a 15-0 run to open up a 28-14 lead. A 3-pointer from Maeda stopped the run, but the Cougars couldn’t get back into a rhythm during the half.

BYU entered the break down 34-21 thanks in large part to 10 turnovers and 12 personal fouls, while allowing Westminster to shoot 13 free throws in the half, making eight. Eaton scored 10 in the first half, while senior Ashley Garfield led the Cougars on the boards, collecting four rebounds.

BYU opened the second half on a quick 6-2 run due to an Eaton three and a Maeda drive that led to a Westminster timeout. The Griffins held strong for much of the half, maintaining a double-digit lead before the Cougars began to close the gap with five minutes left in the game. Redshirt freshman Cassie Broadhead was the catalyst of a stingy defensive effort that had BYU back in the game with two huge blocks.

With 3:03 left, Garfield was fouled on a layup and completed the three-point play to cut the lead to 52-48. The Cougars closed the gap even further when Eaton hit a three with 22 seconds left to bring BYU within two, 56-54, but Westminster closed the game out with a handful of free throws to win, 59-54.

BYU was called for 24 personal fouls during the game, allowing Westminster to go 18-28 from the free-throw line. The Cougars also committed 16 turnovers, were outrebounded 47-33 and shot just 4-20 from 3-point range.

“This was tough,” Eaton said. “We came out a little shell-shocked because it was our first game. It showed us some things we can get better at.”

BYU hosts Ft. Lewis College in another exhibition game next Saturday at 2 p.m. MST, at the Marriott Center. The game can be viewed on TheW.tv.