SAN DIEGO – BYU sophomore guard Shaylee Gonzales scored 29 points and the No. 17 BYU women’s basketball team beat San Diego 74-63 on the road to remain perfect in league play.
The Cougars (15-1, 5-0) overcame some early turnover struggles thanks to shooting an efficient 55.8 percent for the game and holding San Diego (10-7, 2-3) to 36.7 percent from the field.
"That's how San Diego plays," BYU head coach Jeff Judkins said. "They make you do a lot of things to get you out of rhythm. We did a much better job in the second half."
The game was a four-point game at half, but a 21-10 third quarter in favor of BYU put the Cougars in control for the rest of the game.
BYU’s backcourt duo of Gonzales and Paisley Harding powered the offensive attack, with Gonzales’ season-high 29 and Harding adding 19 points of her own. Gonzales also added eight rebounds and four assists while Harding grabbed five boards and three assists.
"Those two girls were very good today," Judkins said. "It's relieving to have those two. They let the game come to them, especially today. It made a big difference. They let the system get them shots and let their teammates help them."
Both shot high percentages as well with Gonzales going 11 of 15 from the field and Harding 7 of 12.
San Diego led 8-7 with five minutes left in the first quarter despite five points from Gonzales out of the gate.
Gonzales added two more buckets, putting BYU back in front 11-8 with two minutes to go. Harding made a layup at the end of the first quarter, pushing BYU to a 15-11 lead at the end of the first.
With five left until halftime, San Diego put together a 6-0 burst to retake the lead at 24-23 but Gonzales had another answer, hitting her second triple of the game to put BYU back in front 26-24.
A steal and a three-pointer by Nani Falatea made it 36-30 inside of one minute to go until the break. The Cougars took a 36-32 lead at halftime. Gonzales had 16 at the break to lead all scorers.
BYU started the second half with six straight points to make the lead 10 points in the first three minutes, forcing the Toreros to regroup in a timeout.
Harding made a trey, Sara Hamson added a two and Gonzales and Lauren Gustin each added a bucket, giving BYU its 55-40 lead with three minutes left in the third quarter. The Cougars stayed in front 57-42 heading into the last 10 minutes.
After BYU stretched the advantage to 20, two quick layups during a 6-0 run from San Diego made it 64-50 with five minutes remaining.
The pesky Torero team didn’t go away quietly, cutting it to single digits at 71-62 with 1:43 remaining in the game after another three-pointer. San Diego hung around until the end but BYU finished off the game with a 74-63 win.
The Cougars and Toreros meet again Monday in Provo in a 5 p.m. tipoff at the Marriott Center. The game is the rescheduled contest from a COVID-19 postponement back in December. The game will be televised on BYUtv.