PROVO, Utah – BYU women’s basketball defeated Arizona State 55-44 in a loud Marriott Center matinee game on its annual kids day with more than 3,000 elementary school-aged children in attendance.
“I’m very proud of my team. I knew this game would be ugly, and it was," head coach Jeff Judkins said. "Arizona is a scrappy, physical team. I subbed our two freshmen in, and I thought they did a really good job. They came in and kept their composure, did what they needed to do. I thought that was the key to our win today. That is what is fun about this team, they win in different ways.”
The Cougars moved to 3-0 on the season beating their first power five opponent after topping Mountain West Conference favorite Fresno State last week and beating Lipscomb to start the year.
“Coming into this game we knew it was going to be super competitive against a Pac-12 team," guard Shaylee Gonzales said. "We prepared well for this team and we were able to execute.”
BYU’s defense held ASU to 30 percent shooting from the field and only 13 percent from the three-point line. The Cougars went 19 of 48 from the field and hit 36 percent from the three-point line. BYU cashed in from the free-throw line going 13 of 15 to the Sun Devils’ 5 of 12.
“We did a good job of closing them out, rotating when the ball got swung, and we made them take tough shots," Judkins said. "The defense wins games and I tell my team that all the time. If we can defend and hold people, we are going to win. That’s what the game was today.”
Senior Paisley Harding led all scorers with 25 points, going 8 of 15 from the field, 2 of 5 from the three-point line and 7 of 9 from the free-throw line. Harding also gathered four rebounds, one assist and one steal. Sophomore Shaylee Gonzales followed with 13 points, seven rebounds, two assists and two steals.
Sophomore Lauren Gustin pulled out a double-double with 16 rebounds and 10 points, along with tallying one assist and one block. It was her third double-double in as many games.
Gustin started the scoring for BYU as Harding put the Cougars ahead making three of four free throws in the first five minutes of the game.
BYU went on a 7-0 run when Gonzales made back-to-back baskets and assisted a Gustin layup. The Cougars kept their lead through the end of the first quarter holding the Sun Devils to just 22 percent from the field to lead 14-10 after one quarter.
ASU struck first going on a 4-0 run, closing in on the Cougars as Loville hit a jumper to tie up the game at 14-14. Harding drew her third shooting foul of the day hitting two more free throws.
Harding hit the Cougars' second three of the day out on the wing to extend the lead to seven with just over a minute left to play. BYU had possession with seconds left as Harding ended the half with a Cougar basket.
BYU led the half 29-20 shooting 36 percent from the field and going 2 of 5 from three-point range to ASU’s 24 percent and without a triple. Harding led with 14 points at the half.
BYU opened up the scoring with a Gonzales layup, however, ASU answered right back hitting its first three-pointer of the game. Senior Sarah Hamson blocked her second shot leading the Cougars to regain possession and maintain control of the game at 35-25 with 6:40 left in the third.
Both the Cougars and the Sun Devils hit a scoring drought halfway through the third, BYU ending it on a Harding jumper from the free-throw line. In the last three minutes of the quarter, ASU turned the ball over three times allowing BYU to capitalize going on an 8-0 run and extending the lead to 17 points going into the fourth at 45-28.
The Sun Devils opened on a 5-0 run looking to chip away at the Cougar lead. Harding missed an open three-point shot with just under seven minutes to go. Gustin rebounded finding Gonzales who whipped the ball over to Harding as she nailed her second three-point shot on the possession to make it 48-33 with seven minutes left in the game.
ASU’s defense played hard forcing turnovers and grabbing rebounds late into the fourth quarter cutting the lead down to seven. Harding ended the Cougars’ scoring drought off a jumper from the free-throw line, making it 53-44 with just under two minutes to play.
The Cougars held onto the lead through a tough Sun Devil defense, finishing off Arizona State 55-44.
BYU will take on Boise State in the Marriott Center Nov. 20 at 2 p.m. MST. The Game will televised on BYUtv and on BYUtv.org and the BYUtv app.