Tigers Take Care of BYU, 86-82

Tigers Take Care of BYU, 86-82

Stockton, Calif. - Behind a total team effort and nearly mistake-free basketball, the Pacific women's basketball team led wire-to-wire for an 86-82 win over BYU Saturday at the Alex G. Spanos Center.

Pacific shot 47 percent, hit 18-of-19 free throws and set a program record for fewest turnovers committed in a game with just four.

Hailie Eackles led the Tigers with 17 points, while Madison Parrish added 15 and Erin Butler 10. Kendall Kenyon posted a double-double with 14 points and 13 rebounds, while Desire Finnie added a career-high tying eight points and Kristina Johnson added eight points.

Johnson finished with five assists against no turnovers. Pacific handed out 18 assists on 30 made field goals.

Pacific's four turnovers were the fewest since the Tigers committed six in an overtime loss to Utah in the third round of the 2013 WNIT. The Tigers are on pace to shatter the program record for lowest turnover average in the season, at 13.1. The Tigers starting lineup combined for no turnovers in 149 minutes played.

The Tigers entered the contest 32nd in the NCAA in fewest turnovers, and 15th in turnover margin. Pacific normally forces 6.1 more turnovers by their opponents, and Saturday the Tigers turned 11 BYU turnovers into 16 points.

BYU was led by Lexi Eaton's 29 points to go with nine rebounds, while Morgan Bailey posted 28 points and 11 rebounds to go with six assists. The Cougars shot 48 percent for the game (26-of-54), and hit 8-of-15 from three-point range. BYU also connected on 22-of-27 from the free throw line.

Pacific opened with an 8-2 lead on and-ones from Parrish and Eackles. Desire Finnie added a jumper and Eackles struck from three-point range as the Tigers built a 20-8 lead in the first 10 minutes.

Claire Conricode added back-to-back three-pointers for Pacific as the Tigers took their largest lead at 30-16 with 7:05 left in the half. But Bailey led the Cougars back, as she found Makenzi Morrison for a three-pointer and hit a jumper to bring BYU within six at 33-27 with 3:11 before the half.

Erin Butler drilled a three in response, and Emily Simons added a jumper to push the lead back to 11, but BYU hit five of six free throws and Bailey added a three-pointer before halftime to cut the Tigers lead to 42-37 at the break.

BYU hit 10 of their final 12 shots in the first half, to finish 13-for-26 from the field in the first half. Pacific shot 49 percent, 17-of-35. The Tigers forced six BYU turnovers, and turned them into 10 points, while committing just two turnovers in the first half.

In the second half, Eaton brought the Cougars within 46-45 with a three at the 18:31 mark. But Kenyon got going offensively as the Tigers responded by scoring six-straight points. Kenyon scored inside and then added two free throws by a drive by Kristina Johnson.

Kenyon blocked Eaton on the other end and Finnie added a pair of free throws. Following a stop, Finnie hit a lay-up and Najah Queenland added a lay-up inside to restore an 11-point lead at 58-47.

Eaton and Bailey trimmed the gap to six before Butler drilled her second three of the game for a 61-52 lead with 12:06 remaining. Morrison answered with a three and Bailey tallied to bring the Cougars within four again.

At the 7:44 mark, Eackles drained a three-ball and after a steal, hit a pair of free throws for a nine-point advantage at 70-61. Johnson put Pacific up 11 again briefly, using a head-fake in the paint to cap a 7-0 run.

But Kylie Maeda responded with a three for BYU, and then BYU got to the free throw line, hitting six in a row to cut the margin to four, 74-70 with 3:56 remaining.

Finnie and Kenyon finished Tigers possessions with free throws, and Johnson's lay-up put the Tigers up six with 2:33 to go. But Maeda hit another trey and Eaton added a free throw to pull within two with 1:39 to go

Kenyon scored twice more from the line, and after a jumper with 44 seconds left by Eaton cut the gap to 82-80, the Tigers ran the shot clock down and Kenyon finished with the lay-up for a four-point lead with 20 seconds left.

Eaton drove and bowled over a defender on her way through, and as the Tigers came away with the rebound, a late whistle put her on the line with 12 seconds to go. She hit both, but Parrish drained her two free throws and Butler got the defensive stop at the other end, denying a Morrison shot as the clock ran out on the Cougars.

The Tigers held a 22-2 advantage in bench scoring, and out-scored BYU 36-26 in the paint (which does not include free throws).

Pacific led for 37:55, while the game was tied at 0-0 for 2:05 before the first bucket, a made three by the Tigers.

Of the Tigers four turnovers, one came on an illegal screen and another when trying to save a rebound resulting in an errant pass while falling out of bounds.

Pacific improves to 18-7 overall, 10-4 in the WCC. BYU falls to 19-7 overall, 11-4 in WCC play.

The Tigers visit Portland and Gonzaga next weekend, starting with Portland on Thursday at 7 p.m.