Jamie McCaa recorded her fourth career double-double with 14 points and a personal-best 12 rebounds, but the Matadors could not overcome season lows in points and field goal percentage, as BYU posted a 55-48 victory over Northridge on Saturday in Provo.
The Matadors (3-7) made just 17-of-61 (27.9%) from the floor for the game, including just five field goals in the second half. Northridge also made only 9-of-16 (56.3%) from the free throw line. Ofa Tulikihihifo also scored in double figures with 11, moving to within 10 points of becoming Northridge’s all-time leading scorer. Krisztina Fuleki added eight points, while Crystal Hahs tied a career high with eight rebounds.
The contest featured three ties in the first 3:25, with the game tied at two, four and seven. The Cougars scored five in a row to take a 12-7 lead, but a jumper by Kristin O’Rourke cut the deficit to 12-9. BYU (6-3) then responded with six in a row to take an 18-9 lead, as the Matadors went more than five minutes without a point during one stretch of the first half.
Trailing 22-13, the Matadors went on a run in the final eight minutes to take the lead to the locker room. Consecutive baskets by Jazelle Burries and Fuleki cut the deficit to 22-17 at 3:56, and following a free throw by BYU’s Lauren Riley, Tulikihihifo and O’Rourke sank back-to-back shots to make it a 23-21 game. Shawnee Slade made a jumper to put the Cougars back up by four with one minute remaining, but the Matadors scored the final two buckets of the first to take the halftime advantage. A McCaa three-pointer with just under a minute left made it 25-24 and a jumper by O’Rourke with 20 seconds remaining gave the Matadors their first lead of the contest at 26-25.
The Cougars took the lead back on the first basket of the second half and jumped out to an 11-1 run after intermission to take a 36-27 advantage with 13:46 remaining. McCaa netted the first two field goals of the second half after a seven-minute drought for the Matadors, scoring five straight on a 5-2 Northridge run to make it a 38-32 game. But a 10-3 spurt by the Cougars brought their lead up to 13 at 48-35 with 7:26 left.
The Matadors got as close as six at 54-48 in the final minute thanks to the three-point shooting of Fuleki and the free throw work of McCaa, but the Cougars held on for the seven-point win.
Mallary Gillespie led all scorers with 15 points for the Cougars, also adding eight rebounds. Riley added nine points and 13 rebounds, Jennie Keele had nine points and six assists and Slade posted eight points and seven rebounds. The Cougars didn’t shoot much better from the field than the Matadors, making just 21-of-61 from the floor. BYU also shot poor from the charity stripe, making 8-of-17 (47.1%). The Cougars dominated the boards battle, 55-39.
Northridge will be off from game action for seven days before returning to the court to open a five-game homestand on Sunday, Dec. 17 against Montana at 4 p.m. The Matadors also host nationally-ranked Michigan State (Dec. 22) to wrap up non-conference play before beginning Big West action with home contests against Pacific (Dec. 30), Cal State Fullerton (Jan. 4) and UC Riverside (Jan. 6).