A Bittersweet End
The Lions' late season surge came to a close Friday in the WCC quarterfinals as they fell 69-57 to BYU.
March 8, 2013
LAS VEGAS - For the second time in nine days, the LMU women's basketball team put the challenge to BYU. They turned to a mix of pesky defensive schemes and forced an array of Cougars to come up with the big shots.
Nine days ago in Gersten Pavilion, the tactic resulted in a 68-55 victory, the first ever for the Lions over the Cougars. But in the quarterfinals of the 2013 West Coast Conference Championship, BYU answered to the tune of a career-high 21 points from Stephanie Seaborn, a 19-point, 12 rebound double-double from Jennifer Hamson and 13 total three-pointers. The Lions meanwhile, hit just 33 percent from the field and would convert 21 offensive rebounds into just nine points, falling 69-57.
Under first-year Head Coach Charity Elliott, the Lions close out the 2012-13 season 13-18 overall. BYU moves to 21-9 overall and advances to the semifinals where they will face top seed Gonzaga.
"This was the kind of game where you had to have everybody knocking down shots," said Elliott. "We just missed and they made and it got away from us.
"I'm really, really proud of how this team fought and competed all year long. You always want to play another day, but I think we laid the foundation of what this program is going to be."
Alex Cowling closed the book on a tremendous five-year career in a Lion uniform, leading the way with 17 points and eight boards. The new WCC all-time leading scorer plants the record at 2,219. Classmate Dani LeNoir matched a career-high five assists in her final collegiate game, while also chipping in six points and six rebounds. Danielle Pruitt joined Cowling in double figures with 12 points on 5-of-8 shooting.
Exactly 24 hours after likening a well-oiled machine in a 75-53 win over San Francisco, the Lions opened their quarterfinal match with two turnovers on their first three possessions, allowing BYU to jump out to a quick 5-0 advantage. After taking a 30-second timeout, Cowling hit a layup off an inbounds play, Pruitt scored six straight points and Hazel Ramirez knocked down a pair of free throws to cap a 10-0 LMU run.
BYU's Xojian Harry halted the streak with a three at the 13:43 mark and Seaborn knocked down her second and third treys of the day, knotting the score at 14 apiece. LMU responded with a Chelsea Barnes layup and Ramirez free throw but BYU took over from there, closing out the half on a 21-9 run to lead 35-26.
The Lions trimmed the deficit to six with back-to-back threes by Cowling and Deanna Johnson with 16:52 to play. But the Cougars would extend their lead up to as many as 22, thanks in part to a 7-for-12 second-half performance from beyond the arc. A Cowling 10-0 run to close out the game brought the spread to its final 12 points.