SAN FRANCISCO – The No. 18 BYU women’s basketball team won its first conference game with a 76-64 showing against San Francisco on Thursday night on the road.
BYU (11-1, 1-0) led for more than 38 of the 40 minutes of the game, took control in the second quarter and never looked back en route to its first West Coast Conference victory.
Forward Lauren Gustin picked up her sixth double-double of the year with 16 points and 14 rebounds. Paisley Harding led BYU with 19 points while Maria Albiero and Shaylee Gonzales chipped in nine apiece.
The Cougars shot 45.6 percent for the game and dominated the boards, outrebounding San Francisco (6-7, 0-1) 50-28 and also owned the paint with a 46-22 advantage.
Three straight buckets, including a triple by Tegan Graham pushed BYU to a 12-4 lead to open the game in the first five minutes.
San Francisco tied it up a few minutes later but Albiero drained an open three-pointer to put the Cougars back in front at 15-12 with 2:30 left in the first quarter. BYU added a free-throw make for a 16-12 lead at the end of the first.
A steal by Nani Falatea and a dish to Gonzales on the break gave BYU a 31-19 lead with under four to play until halftime.
Harding beat the buzzer with a turnaround layup, making it 39-22 at halftime. BYU’s trio of Gustin, Harding and Gonzales led the scoring attack with 10, nine and seven points, respectively.
After two freebies from Gonzales, BYU doubled up San Francisco at 46-23 in the first three minutes of the second half. Albiero later hit her third three-pointer of the game, putting the Cougars up 51-25 midway through the third quarter.
At the end of the third quarter, BYU stayed in control up 20 at 61-41.
Harding completed an old-fashioned three-point play with a two and a free throw to give BYU a 70-47 lead with six minutes to go in the game as part of a 7-0 run.
Coach Judkins was able to get several freshman experience in the final minutes as BYU cruised to a 76-64 win on the road.
The Cougars return home to the Marriott Center to host Pacific on Saturday at 2 p.m. in Provo. The game will be televised on BYUtv.