Cougars hold on, take down Aggies behind Gustin’s 20-point, 20-rebound performance

Lauren Gustin’s sixth-career 20-point, 20-rebound performance and Amari Whiting’s career-high 19 points paced BYU women’s basketball to a 72-66 victory over Utah State Tuesday afternoon.

Lauren Gustin vs. Utah State on Dec. 5, 2023Lauren Gustin vs. Utah State on Dec. 5, 2023

PROVO, Utah — Lauren Gustin’s sixth-career 20-point, 20-rebound performance and Amari Whiting’s career-high 19 points paced BYU women’s basketball to a 72-66 victory over Utah State Tuesday afternoon.

Gustin totaled 21 points and dominated the glass with 21 boards in a game in which BYU never trailed. Despite leading by as many as 16 early in the second half, the Aggies cut the Cougar lead to as few as three at 53-50 with 7:38 left in the fourth quarter.

As part of Whiting’s 19-point performance, the freshman went 6-for-11 from the floor and 7-for-8 from the line. Emma Calvert provided a spark off the bench, tallying 14 points and eight rebounds. Kailey Woolston also posted eight points, five assists and four rebounds. Kaylee Smiler added seven points on 2-for-3 shooting from beyond the arc.

BYU shot 45 percent from the field as a team while holding the Aggies to 39 percent. The Cougars outrebounded their in-state foe 41-34 and turned 16 Utah State turnovers into 23 points to help seal the six-point victory.

First Quarter

BYU started strong, seizing an early 8-0 advantage on 4-of-4 shooting. Gustin led the way with six of the first eight points, including a hook shot off an Aggie turnover leading to an early timeout by Utah State.

A drive by Kaylee Smiler collapsed the defense before tossing a dime to Gustin to make it 10-0 with 6:42 to go in the opening quarter. Utah State responded with an 8-4 run to trim the lead to 14-8.

The Cougars countered with pace and ball movement to close out the quarter with six straight points, making it 20-8. The scores came off triples from Emma Calvert and Kaliey Woolston on back-to-back fast breaks. In the opening quarter, Gustin neared double-double territory with 10 points and seven rebounds while Calvert also hauled in six boards.

Second Quarter

Both squads traded buckets to begin the quarter, staying even for the first several minutes. With BYU up 28-16 and five minutes to go in the half, the Aggies capitalized on a turnover and then converted on a turnaround jumper by Lauren Crocker. Smiler then nailed a 3-pointer on the right side early in the shot clock to make it 31-20 for the Cougars.

Two Utah State 3-pointers cut the lead to 31-26 before Whiting scored a pair of floaters on consecutive possessions. Whiting found her way to the charity stripe with seven seconds to go in the half, converting on the first attempt before missing the second. Gustin rebounded, quickly kicking out to Calvert for a deep jumper to close out the half.

Heading to the locker room, BYU led 39-29.

Gustin and Whiting led BYU at the half with 12 and nine points, respectively. Gustin also registered double figures in boards with 13. Kailey Woolston added three assists.

The Cougars shot 48 percent from the field and 40 percent from distance in the half while holding Utah State to 42 percent from the field and 3-of-8 from downtown. Both teams combined for 18 first-half turnovers. Turnovers proved a problem for BYU in the second period with five giveaways compared to Utah’s State’s two.

Third Quarter

Gustin helped assert footing early, scoring the first four points of the third followed by a Davenport layup as BYU went up 45-29 with 6:21 remaining. Woolston accounted for two assists on the early 6-0 run.

With newfound energy, Utah State went on a 9-0 run to trim the advantage to 45-38 with 3:28 left in the quarter. Woolston curbed a four-minute BYU scoring drought with a pair of free throws before Utah State later inched closer with a transition 3-pointer by Cheyenne Stubbs to make it 49-43. BYU led 50-45 at the end of the period.

Fourth Quarter

Woolston intercepted a kick-out pass near the baseline before zipping the ball to Gustin, drawing in the defense before finding Smiler in the corner for a three to go up 53-45. Utah State responded, scoring five straight, including a layup and the foul to make it 53-50, the closest the Aggies had been since the opening BYU score.

Amari Whiting kickstarted a quick 4-0 run after a steal and dish to Woolston for a layup. Whiting also capitalized on another turnover with a transition score to stretch the lead to 57-50 with 5:38 to go.

Following a traveling violation by the Aggies, Whiting knocked down another floater before Calvert and Gustin each went 1-for-2 from the charity stripe. Whiting then made a pair of free throws to go up 64-56 with 1:24 remaining, putting BYU in front by enough to close out Utah State and win 72-66.

BYU will continue its home stand with game two of three against Boise State at the Marriott Center on Saturday, Dec. 9 at 2 p.m. MST. Watch live on Big 12 Now on ESPN+ or listen to live play-by-play of BYU and the Broncos on BYU Radio 107.9 FM or BYU Radio app.

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