Feb. 28, 2013
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LOS ANGELES - Hollywood couldn't have scripted it better. Fifth-year senior Alex Cowling entered the night 20 points shy of the all-time West Coast Conference scoring record. The LMU women's basketball team entered the night having never beaten the BYU Cougars in five attempts.
And then the stars aligned on Thursday night, senior night, in Gersten Pavilion. Cowling's final point, a free throw with 59 seconds remaining, was her 21st points of the night, giving her 2,166 career points and eclipsing the WCC record of 2,165 set by Gonzaga's Heather Bowman (2006-10). The Lion team, meanwhile, allowed BYU just 16 second-half points on its way to a 68-55 victory.
The Lions move to 11-17 overall and 5-10 in WCC play while the Cougars drop to 19-9 overall and 10-5 in league action.
Freshman Deanna Johnson was huge for LMU for the second straight game, pouring in a career-high 24 points on 7-of-13 from the field and 8-of-10 from the free-throw line. Fell freshman Chelsea Barnes collected her first career double-double, finishing with 13 points and a game-high 12 rebounds, including seven offensive boards.
Cowling went 6-for-9 from the field in the first half and headed into the locker room with 14 points. She struggled to keep that pace as the second half opened, but took care of business at the line, scoring her final five points from the charity stripe.
BYU was led by Stephanie Seaborn's 16 points. Haley Steed chipped in 11 and had just three assists, well below her NCAA-leading average of 7.8. No other Cougar reached double figures on the night.
Mixing up their defensive schemes, the Lions challenged the Cougar role players to step up and beat them. They responded in the first half as Seaborn and Xojian Harry combined for six of the Cougars' nine threes as BYU took a 39-33 lead into the break.
But BYU could not keep up that pace in the second half, hitting just 2-of-12 from long range and 7-of-28 from the field.
A Keilani Unga jumper with 14:46 to play in the game gave BYU a six-point cushion, 46-40. But the Lions took over from there. Ashley Lovett knocked down a jumper and Johnson scored four straight to knot the score at 46 with 11:20 to play.
Jennifer Hamson broke the 6-0 run with a layup, but Lovett would knock down a three to give LMU just its second lead of the game - one they would never relinquish.
LMU, which closed out the game on a 28-9 run, shot 42 percent from the field and 71 percent from the charity stripe, knocking down 20-of-28 chances.
The Lions close out the regular season on Saturday, traveling to San Francisco for a 2 p.m. tip off.