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by Lisa Johnson, BYU Athletic Communications
PROVO, Utah (Nov. 20, 2007) -- BYU dropped its first home game of the season with a 59-70 loss to the University of Hartford Tuesday in the Marriott Center. The Cougars now have a 13-2 home record in between the last two seasons.
Freshman Keilani Moeaki tallied a career and game-high 19 points in the contest and senior Mallary Gillespie-Carling now leads the Cougars with 16 assists on the season.
"The girls weren't ready to play tonight, and we hoped that we could come back and play hard in the second half," said BYU Assistant Coach Jonas Chatterton. "But they just came out flat."
Hartford started out strong leaving BYU scoreless for the first three minutes of the game. The Cougars gradually gained momentum after the first basket made by senior Lauren Riley-Varley. Traveling violations against the Hawks helped get the ball back into the Cougars' hands early on in the game.
BYU fought hard to gain momentum and gradually closed the gap with Hartford. With a basket by junior Cassie King at 8:49 the Cougars took the lead 16-15. The Hawks quickly regained ground scoring the next eight points.
With a three point shot made by Gillespie-Carling, the Cougars came within one point with two minutes left. The Hawks remained solid as they drained a three-pointer of their own. BYU's Shawnee Slade dropped a three pointer at the buzzard to take a 30-29 lead at the half. The Cougars now have had half-time leads in all four games this season.
Moeaki led the Cougars coming out of the half, scoring the first two of the BYU's baskets. Moeaki continued to head BYU in points, scoring 14 of her 19 in the second half alone.
Early in the half the two teams continued the battle for the lead. There were a total of six lead changes and five ties throughout the game. After the Cougars tied the game for the fifth time at 13:44, Harford took the lead with a three point shot.
"Hartford executed well down the stretch, and they performed well at the line," said Chatterton. "I hand it to them."
Hartford won the game with free throw shots, making 29 of 38. The Hawks had only eight field goals in the second half and scored just one in the last 10 minutes.
Despite the tough loss, BYU has outscored their opponents this season 251-233. The Cougars will continue home play on Friday, Nov. 23, as they face Seaton Hall at 7 p.m. in the Marriott Center.