Cougars cruise to 87-66 win over Utah State
LOGAN, Utah — Behind a career night from Lauren Gustin and a game-high 27 points from Shaylee Gonzales, BYU women’s basketball cruised to an 87-66 win over Utah State on Monday at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum.
“We knew that Lauren would have an advantage tonight with her strength and inside presence,” said BYU head coach Jeff Judkins. “Her and Shaylee play really well together. It was a great team effort. Everybody that came in gave us a good lift."
Gustin racked up 21 points and a game-high 17 rebounds while also adding three assists in 31 minutes of play. The redshirt sophomore shot 7 of 15 from the floor in her most dominant game as a Cougar thus far.
Gonzales led all scorers with 27 points on 11 of 17 shooting, including 3 of 5 from three. The Gilbert, Ariz., native also tallied four rebounds, a game-high four steals and three assists on the evening.
Paisley Johnson Harding also scored in double figures for BYU (2-1), pouring in 14 points to go along with four rebounds and three assists. Tegan Graham contributed seven points and three assists while Maria Albiero stuffed the stat sheet with seven points, six rebounds, two assists and a steal.
As a team, the Cougars shot 50% from the field while holding the Aggies (1-3) to 38.3%. BYU jumped to an early 7-0 advantage and, after going up 19-8 with three minutes left in the first quarter, never let its lead get below nine the rest of the way.
Back-to-back baskets in the paint by Gustin followed by a layup and a free throw by Gonzales gave BYU a quick 7-0 lead. The Cougars continued to dominate down low early, as layups by Hamson, Graham and Gonzales put BYU up 13-3. Three-pointers by Gonzales and Graham followed by a Harding layup then gave the Cougars a 23-10 advantage at the end of the first quarter.
Gustin opened the second quarter with a layup before a Gonzales layup and triple put BYU up 14, 33-19, midway through the period. Gustin drained a pair of free throws, Gonzales hit a 3-pointer and Malli Perri scored a put-back layup to then give the Cougars a 40-24 lead. BYU held Utah State scoreless over the final 4:36 of the half, as a pair of Albiero free throws gave the Cougars a 42-24 advantage at the break.
BYU carried its solid shooting into the second half, as three baskets down low by Harding and a Gonzales 3-pointer extended the Cougars’ lead to 23, 51-28. The Aggies then answered with a 22-8 run to cut BYU’s lead to single digits, 59-50. A Gonzales layup followed by back-to-back baskets in the paint from Gustin, however, put BYU up 65-52 at the end of the third.
Harding scored down low while being fouled before a Gonzales steal led to a fast-break layup to give the Cougars a 69-52 lead. Layups by Harding, Gustin and Gonzales then put BYU up 20, 76-56. A spin move in the post by Gustin led to an easy lay-in before Albiero scored a layup off a euro-step move to bring the score to 80-59 for the Cougars midway through the fourth. A 3-pointer by Perri followed by layups by Babalu Ugwu and Devry Millett brought the final score to 87-66 for BYU.
Up next, the Cougars take on Montana State on Thursday, Dec. 10, at 2 p.m. in the Marriott Center for BYU’s home-opener. The game will be streamed live on the BYUtv App.
- Gonzales led all scorers at the break with 16 points on 6 of 9 shooting. She finished the game with 27 points on 11 of 17 shooting and added four rebounds, four steals and three assists.
- Gustin hauled in 10 first-half rebounds to go along with nine points and two assists. She ended with 17 boards and 21 points, both BYU career-highs.
- Harding reached double figures in scoring as well, contributing 14 points, four rebounds and three assists.
- Albiero filled the stat sheet with seven points, six rebounds, two assists and a steal.
- Graham added seven points, three assists and a rebound.
- Perri scored her first couple baskets of the year, finishing with five points and three rebounds
- Devry Millett also scored her first basket of the season on a fast-break layup.
- The Cougars shot 42.9% from the field in the first half while holding Utah State to 29.4%. On the game, BYU tallied a 50% shooting percentage while the Aggies shot 38.3%.
- Led by Gustin’s season-high 17 boards, the Cougars out-rebounded Utah State 40-35.
- BYU dominated down low, scoring 52 points in the paint while holding the Aggies to 28.
- In assists, BYU dished out 15 while the Aggies had 11.
- The Cougars had 11 fast break points while holding Utah State to none.
BYU head coach Jeff Judkins:
On Lauren Gustin
We knew that Lauren would have an advantage tonight with her strength and inside presence. She did a really good job of being aggressive, we did a good job of getting the ball in there two her. Her and Shaylee play really well together.
On the team's depth
It was a great team effort. Everybody that came in gave us a good lift. It helped that Paisley came out and scored like she can in the second half.
On finishing the game strong
Probably what I'm most proud of is when (Utah State) cut it down to nine, we just stepped it up a notch offensively and defensively. Our team has potential to do that, we just need to do it for longer periods of time.
Cougars back in action Monday night at Utah State
BYU women’s basketball (1-1) returns to the hardwood Monday, Dec. 7, at 6 p.m. MST to take on in-state rival Utah State (1-2) at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum in Logan, Utah. The game will be streamed live by the Mountain West Network. A video link is available at byucougars.com.
- The Cougars enter the matchup with a 1-1 record after splitting their first two games of the season at the South Point Thanksgiving Shootout in Las Vegas; BYU beat LSU 67-51 and fell to Washington 77-48
- Sophomore guard Shaylee Gonzales currently leads the team in scoring (17.5 ppg) and steals (1.5 spg) through the first two games. Gonzales was named the WCC Player of the Week for Nov. 30, 2020
- The team’s leading rebounder is sophomore forward Lauren Gustin (12 rpg); in assists, Gustin and senior guard Maria Albiero lead the way with 3.0 apg each
- The Cougars were picked to finish second in the 2020-21 West Coast Conference Preseason Poll after tying for second in the WCC regular season standings last season. BYU finished the 2019-20 campaign with a 13-5 record in WCC play and a 18-11 record overall
- Three Cougars were selected to the 2020-21 Preseason All-WCC Team: Gonzales, senior guard Paisley Johnson Harding and senior center Sara Hamson. Harding was named to the All-WCC First Team last season while Hamson is the reigning WCC Defensive Player of the Year
- Head coach Jeff Judkins, in his 20th season at the helm of the BYU women’s basketball program, is the all-time winningest women’s head coach in school history with a career record of 412-195
ABOUT UTAH STATE
- Utah State enters the game with a 1-2 record on the year. The Aggies opened the season with a 81-74 win over Montana before falling to Idaho State and Seattle
- Senior forward Jessica Chatman, a former Cougar, and freshman guard Meagan Mendazona are both averaging 14 ppg to lead Utah State
- The Aggies’ leading rebounder is Chatman (9 rpg) while sophomore guard Faith Brantley leads the team in assists (3 apg)
- As a team, Utah State is shooting 37.8% from the floor this season and 23.4% from three-point range
- Utah State was picked to finish last in the 2020-21 Mountain West Conference Preseason Poll. The Aggies finished last in last season’s conference standings, posting an 8-23 overall record and going 2-16 in MWC play
- Head coach Kayla Ard is in her first year at the helm of the Utah State women’s basketball program.
- Ard spent the previous three seasons as an associate head coach at the University of Denver
- BYU has an all-time 37-4 series advantage over the Aggies. The Cougars are 16-2 against Utah State in Logan
- Under head coach Jeff Judkins, BYU is 13-1 against the Aggies
- Last season, the Cougars beat Utah State 67-50 in the Marriott Center
- Following the matchup with Utah State, BYU hosts Montana State on Thursday, Dec. 10 for the Cougars’ home-opener. Tip-off is scheduled for 2 p.m. MT and the game will be broadcast live on the BYUtv App.