PROVO, Utah – Despite a fourth-quarter surge from Washington State (8-2), No. 20 BYU women's basketball took control late and picked up a 71-53 in the Marriott Center on Saturday, bringing the Cougars' record to 9-1 on the season.
It was a physical game with tough defense from both teams. The win is BYU's fifth over Power 5 opponents this season. It was a bounce-back effort after a heartbreaking loss on the road last week against Oklahoma.
BYU shot 45.2% from the field, hitting only five 3-pointers on 17 attempts, but the threes came at key moments late in the game. On the other end, Washington State was red hot from three for most of the game, but finally had some misses late. Washington State finished 13-of-31 from three, but tough BYU defense held the Cougars in red to just 3-of-29 on two-point attempts. BYU outscored Washington State 40-2 in points in the paint.
"We had so many different people on the court scoring," said BYU guard Paisley Harding. "It wasn't just one or two people. That's what is so great about our team."
Harding led the Cougars in scoring with 20 points, including some key buckets late. She also had five rebounds.
Tegan Graham had 15 points for the Cougars, with three baskets from outside the arc. She also had four rebounds, five assists, two blocks and a steal.
Lauren Gustin led BYU with 13 rebounds. She also added seven points, a block and a steal.
Shaylee Gonzales had 13 points, six rebounds, two blocks and a steal. Sara Hamson came off the the bench with 10 points, three rebounds, two blocks and two steals.
Harding started off the game with a three-pointer and continued to perform throughout the first quarter, earning nine of BYU’s 21 points.
A 3-pointer from Graham brought the score to 17-13 with just more than a minute left in the quarter, and Harding followed with a jumper to increase BYU’s lead to 19-13. A layup from Lauren Gustin finished the quarter with BYU up 21-13.
Both teams struggled to put down points in the beginning of the quarter, with the score staying at 21-13 until just less than four minutes in, when Harding was able to make a layup. Back-to-back layups from Hamson brought BYU’s lead to 27-14, and the Cougars held Washington State to just one point with four minutes remaining in the quarter.
Washington State pushed back with three 3-pointers, but BYU remained in the lead, with the score at 37-29 at halftime.
A 3-pointer from Graham less than a minute into the quarter put the score at 40-29 to begin the second half. BYU struggled to push past Washington State’s defense as Washington State fought to narrow the gap. Three more WSU 3-pointers put the score at 45-38 with less than four minutes to play in the quarter.
A layup from Hamson brought the score to 47-40 with just over a minute in the quarter, and a block from Hamson led to a WSU turnover with 30 seconds on the clock. The quarter finished with BYU leading 47-40.
WSU opened the final quarter with two 3-pointers in the first minute of play. With BYU holding a lead the entire game, Washington state came within one, narrowing the score at 47-46. Back-to-back layups from Hamson helped BYU hold onto the lead, and a 3-pointer from Graham put the score at 54-46. A three from Harding increased BYU’s lead to 57-46. BYU continued to put down points, finishing the game with a layup from Kaylee Smiler that brought the final score to 71-53.
BYU will hit the road to play Montana State on Tuesday, Dec. 21 at 7 p.m. The game will be broadcast on ESPN+.