MORAGA, Calif. – Shaylee Gonzales scored a career-high 35 points and powered a big fourth quarter to lift No. 20 BYU over St. Mary’s 84-69 on Saturday.
Gonzales had 16 in the first half and followed it up with 19 in the second. She also added six assists and a career-high seven steals to lead a defensive effort that held the Gaels to eight points in the fourth quarter and scoreless for nearly six minutes to close out the victory.
“Tonight Shaylee just really had it,” BYU head coach Jeff Judkins said. “She moves so well without the ball that she got a lot of baskets that way. The way she can anticipate defensively too, she just had it going tonight.”
BYU (21-2, 10-1) trailed by as many as nine in the first half but outscored St. Mary’s (12-12, 6-7) 44-27 in the second half to pull away. Both teams shot over 50 percent from the field.
Paisley Harding added 18 points and Lauren Gustin posted her 13th double-double with 15 points and 11 rebounds. Tegan Graham scored 11 points, knocking down three from behind the arc and added six assists.
Through the first five minutes of action, BYU and St. Mary’s traded buckets and the Gaels led 11-10 with 4:36 to play in the first quarter.
BYU went cold and St. Mary’s made 6 of its last 8 field goals in the quarter to extend their lead to 23-16 heading into the second quarter.
The Cougars returned the favor in the second quarter, making three baskets in a row, making it a one-point game at 32-31 with a5:17 to go until halftime.
Graham drained BYU’s first trey of the game with 3:13 left until halftime and gave BYU a 36-35 lead. After 20 minutes, the Cougars went into the break down 42-40. Gonzales had 16 points to lead all scorers.
Both teams started the third quarter hot but BYU scorched the nets for 7 of 10 makes, including 3 of 4 from beyond the arc to take a 57-54 lead after the first five minutes.
The Cougars cooled somewhat but stayed in front 64-61 at the end of the third quarter after a Gonzales midrange jumper.
Gonzales added another layup at the 6:35 mark to push BYU’s lead to 73-65 and gave her 33 points on the night to set a new career best.
An 11-0 run stretched the Cougars lead to 84-69 with under two minutes to go after Graham knocked down another triple and went on to win it.
Up next, BYU hosts LMU on Thursday, Feb. 17 at 11 a.m. at the Marriott Center. The game will be broadcast on BYUtv.