PROVO, Utah – The No. 16 BYU women’s basketball team won its second-straight game against San Diego 70-48 on Monday night at the Marriott Center, after beating the Toreros just two days earlier on the road.
“I am proud of these guys because this is a hard team to play,” said head coach Jeff Judkins. “I thought tonight we won this game because of our defense. Playing back-to-back games is tough, especially when you play an aggressive team like San Diego, so I thought our girls did a great job.”
The Cougars (16-1, 6-0) shot 46.7 percent from the field, going 28 of 60 and made seven 3-pointers to overcome 22 turnovers forced by San Diego (10-8, 2-4). The Toreros ranked No. 14 nationally in turnovers forced entering the game.
Sophomore forward Lauren Gustin added her ninth double-double of the year with 10 points and 13 rebounds while guards Shaylee Gonzales added 20 points and Paisley Harding added 16 points. The backcourt duo added five and four assists, respectively.
After the first three minutes of the game remained scoreless due to strong defense on both ends of the ball, Harding started the scoring for the Cougars. BYU continued to pull ahead of the Toreros with the help of two Harding layups and a three-pointer by Gonzales.
BYU started hot in the second quarter with two layups by Gustin and another basket by Harding to extend the Cougars lead to 18-9. Gustin would score on two straight Cougar possessions with hard drives to the basket and an offensive rebound and putback with 8:23 to go in the second.
After Harding drew a late foul and knocked down both free throws for the Cougars, Kaylee Smiler hit a three from the top of the arc to keep momentum going for BYU with 1:51 until the break, making it 31-18. With a buzzer beater layup, BYU went into the locker room ahead of the Toreros 35-19.
Gustin and Harding led the scoring for the Cougars in the first half with 10 points each.
Senior Maria Albiero started the second half scoring beating the shot clock with a triple to put BYU up 38-21 after one minute of the second half. Moments later, Gustin made a driving layup and Gonzales buried another shot from the arc to push the Cougars ahead 43-21 with 7:34 remaining in the third quarter.
At the end of the third, San Diego continued to get steals and force turnovers, but senior center Sara Hamson calmed the offense down with a made layup off an assist by Harding. Freshman guard Nani Falatea knocked down a three-pointer to end the third quarter with a 57-33 Cougar lead.
After a four-minute scoring drought in the final quarter, Gonzales made her third trey of the game for the Cougars with six minutes to go to get their momentum back. Posting nine points off the bench and forcing five San Diego turnovers, BYU finished the game with a 70-48 win over the Toreros.
“I am super excited for the games later this week, especially since they are both home games,” said Lauren Gustin. “I love our fans and the support from families who come out, and I’m excited to play some good ball against two really great teams.”
Up next, BYU hosts Santa Clara on Thursday night at 7 p.m. MT. The game will be streamed on BYUtv.org and the BYUtv App.