SANTA CLARA, Calif. – BYU shot a blistering 60 percent for the game en route to its third 100-point game of the year, beating Santa Clara 103-66 on Thursday night at the Leavey Center.
“We came out a little flat but we changed a few things we were doing and the team really responded well," head coach Jeff Judkins said. "We started to really share the ball and it was just a great team win. I am really proud of how they came together for that win.”
BYU’s (24-2, 14-1) backcourt duo was stellar again, led by Paisley Harding’s 28 points and Shaylee Gonzales filling the stat sheet with 17 points, nine rebounds, five assists and two steals. Harding was an efficient 11 of 14 from the field.
“We got a lot of help tonight from our bench giving us good minutes," Judkins said. "They gave us a big lift defensively and on the offensive side too. I’m really happy with how the team responded tonight."
Emma Calvert had 13 points off the bench, Kaylee Smiler added seven and Sara Hamson had six points, five rebounds and two blocks.
Tegan Graham made three 3-pointers for nine points and dished out a game-high eight assists. Lauren Gustin added 13 points and five rebounds.
The Cougars finished the game shooting 60 percent, including 48 percent from behind the arc. The defense forced 18 turnovers and had 11 steals from seven different players.
Santa Clara jumped out to an early lead with the three-point ball, knocking down three in the first five minutes to build a 13-11 advantage with 4:35 left in the first quarter.
A block by Hamson turned into a transition bucket for Harding that tied things up and another bucket from Gonzales put BYU back in front. That sparked a 9-0 run and the Cougars led 24-19 heading into the second quarter.
BYU started with an 11-2 run and continued to keep the pressure on, making 5 of 6 baskets to take a 39-25 lead with 3:59 to go in the half after a Maria Albiero steal and dish to Gonzales. Albiero added a trey on the next possession to make it 42-25.
The Cougars finished the first half hot, shooting 56 percent, including 45 percent from distance, capped off by a three-pointer by Calvert off the bench on their last possession. With 21 points by Harding at halftime, BYU led 53-30.
Graham hit two treys in the third quarter, helping BYU extend the edge to 65-39 with just over four minutes remaining in the third.
The Cougars made nine field goals in a row down the stretch of the third quarter, including nine points from Gonzales and the BYU lead ballooned to 81-48 heading into the final quarter of action.
The fourth quarter was more of the same on offense, with several freshman getting into the action including seven points from Calvert. BYU cruised to a 103-66 victory.
The Cougars play at Pacific on Saturday for the regular-season finale. The game is set to tipoff at 2 p.m. PT from the Alex G. Spanos Center.