Once again, a big game from Morgan Bailey wasn't enough as BYU fell, 63-54, in its home opener against Cal State Northridge on Wednesday at the Marriott Center.
"First off, we have to give them a lot of credit," BYU head coach Jeff Judkins said. "I think what killed us was their rebounding. They had 22 offensive rebounds and it gave them a lot of second and third opportunities to score, especially late in the game. We have to do better at rebounding and we need to make shots in crunch time."
Bailey finished the game with 22 points, leading all scorers. The senior from Orem has scored 47 points in her last two games for the Cougars (0-2).
Ashley Garfield and Lexi Eaton sparked a quick start for BYU. Garfield made a free throw for the first point of the game, and after a CSUN (3-0) two-point basket, Garfield connected on a jumper from just outside the free-throw line. A pair of free throws and 3-pointer by Eaton in subsequent possessions gave BYU a 10-2 lead five minutes in.
The Matadors cut into the Cougars' lead with three unanswered field goals before Eaton hit another 3-pointer from the top of the key. CSUN answered with a 3-pointer of its own before BYU's Bailey put in her first two points of the game. Another Matador three tied the game at 15 halfway through the first half.
After the two teams traded baskets to knot the score at 17-17, CSUN finished the first half on a 17-6 run to take a 34-23 lead. BYU's points in the stretch came on 3-pointers from Kristine Fuller and Alohi Robins-Hardy.
Four points from Bailey were part of a 7-0 run early in the second half that cut into the Matador lead. CSUN scored on consecutive possessions to end its drought, but BYU answered with a 3-pointer from Makenzi Morrison and another two from Bailey, bringing the Cougars within five with 14 minutes to play.
The Matadors created distance with a 5-0 run, before another basket from Bailey put the score at 49-41 for CSUN with 10 minutes to play. Another two by Bailey and a 3-pointer from Cassie Broadhead brought BYU within three points with 7:30 on the clock.
Again, the Matadors pulled away using defense and offensive rebounds to extend their lead to eight with just two minutes left to play. Bailey completed a three-point play for the Cougars with just less than two minutes remaining, bringing BYU within five. Following two made Matador free throws, Fuller scored on a floater in the middle of the lane to again bring the Cougars within five.
BYU was unable to score again, however, as CSUN put in two more shots to win, 63-54.
The Cougars are at home again for Saturday night's game against Nevada. The game tips off at 7:30 p.m MST, and can be viewed live on BYUtv.
Royce Hinton is the women's volleyball sports information director for BYU Athletic Communications.