They really packed it in. Lexi played an outstanding game, really took it upon herself to move and get the ball. She scored in a lot of different ways. That’s where she’s so effective. —BYU coach Jeff Judkins
SALT LAKE CITY — BYU junior guard Lexi Eaton loves playing at EnergySolutions Arena, and it showed Saturday afternoon, as she poured in 30 points — one short of tying her career high.
But Eaton was even prouder of her career-high 13 rebounds — the third double-double of her career — in the Cougars’ 69-58 triumph over Colorado State.
“I like that stat,” Eaton said with a smile. “When I rebound, it helps my whole game overall, it gets me in the right mindset.”
The Rams’ game plan was to crowd the key and prevent Morgan Bailey from scoring inside. While Bailey finished with nine points and 10 rebounds, Eaton lit up CSU, including 5-of-7 shooting from 3-point range.
“They really didn’t want Morgan to get any baskets,” coach Jeff Judkins said of the Rams’ defensive strategy. “They really packed it in. Lexi played an outstanding game, really took it upon herself to move and get the ball. She scored in a lot of different ways. That’s where she’s so effective.”
BYU improved to 5-3 on the season while CSU fell to 4-3.
Saturday’s victory was Judkins’ first at EnergySolutions Arena. He previously lost twice here, once as an assistant with Utah’s men’s team (a loss to BYU), and then a setback to Creighton a few years ago.
“They got the monkey off my back," Judkins said of his players.
Eaton played a big role in the win, and Judkins expects these types of scoring performances from her.
“What people don’t realize is, that’s the way she plays. I see that every day in practice,” he said. “When she doesn’t do it in a game, it’s like, ‘What’s the problem?’ Lexi’s really tried hard to listen to the coaches, especially me, about how to move. Tonight, she let it work. She wouldn’t have done that two years ago as a freshman. She would have forced it up. She let her teammates get her the ball where she could score.”
Judkins was also pleased with Eaton’s efforts on the boards, which is something his team needs as it tries to compensate for the void left by former star center Jennifer Hamson.
“She was really aggressive tonight,” Judkins said of Eaton. “That’s what she needs to be. Without Jen, she needs to get in there and get some boards.”
Judkins liked seeing his reserve players — Xojian Harry and Cassie Broadhead — make big contributions. Harry scored 14 points while Broadhead added six.
“It’s nice to see my bench play a lot better,” Judkins said. “Xojian’s my best defender. When she can get us any points, it’s a positive thing.”
BYU is 3-0 this season against teams from the Mountain West. The Cougars’ next three games are against in-state rivals, starting with a home game against Weber State Tuesday, then road games at Utah (Dec. 13) and Utah State (Dec. 22).