BYU opens conference play with 54-44 win over Santa Clara
SANTA CLARA, Calif. – BYU women’s basketball (9-3, 1-0 WCC) scored the final seven points of the game to open West Coast Conference play with a 54-44 victory over Santa Clara (7-5, 0-1 WCC) Saturday.
"This wasn't our best game but we figured out a way to win," BYU head coach Jeff Judkins said. "I thought Shalae Salmon played really well, especially in the second half. I thought our defensive intensity was really good all game long and we made some big plays at the end."
Shaylee Gonzales led all scorers with 13 points, with Brenna Chase and Paisley Johnson adding 10 each. Gonzales and Johnson had seven and six rebounds, respectively, while Chase led the assist category with four. Salmon had six points and six rebounds to go along with a season-high two steals.
The Broncos jumped out to a 7-2 lead midway through the first quarter, but a 9-0 run to close out the period put the Cougars on top, 13-9.
Santa Clara kept it close to start the second quarter and even took a three-point lead, 21-18, with 4:13 left in the half. Sara Hamson made a layup just seconds later, however, and a steal and score from Chase gave BYU its lead back less than a minute later. The Cougars headed into the break up by one, 24-23.
Gonzales led the scoring with six points for BYU, while Johnson and Babalu Ugwu each added five boards in the first half. Despite shooting just 37 percent from the field and 20 percent from the three, BYU outscored Santa Clara 16-10 in the paint and forced 12 turnovers.
The Broncos tied it up at 27 early in the second half, but a jumper from Johnson put BYU back in the lead immediately after. Santa Clara continued to answer back, however, and took a 32-31 lead on a free throw midway through the third quarter. BYU put together a 6-0 run late in the quarter to match its largest lead, 39-34 and put Gonzales in double figures with 10. Santa Clara closed the gap, but BYU still led, 41-38, heading into the final period.
Both teams started slowly in the fourth quarter, but another jumper from Johnson put BYU up, 45-41, and gave her double digits with 10. Free throws from Moody capped off another 6-0 run from the Cougars to give them their largest lead, 47-41, with five minutes remaining. BYU extended its lead to eight, 52-44, with a three from Gonzales and a layup from Hamson with two minutes remaining. A pair of free throws gave BYU its final points in the 54-44 victory.
The Cougars continue conference play as they travel to San Francisco to take on the Dons Monday, Dec. 31 at 3 p.m. PDT. The game can be viewed on TheW.tv.
Postgame Notes at Santa Clara
- With the 54-44 road win at Santa Clara, BYU women’s basketball improved its record to 9-3 overall and 1-0 in West Coast Conference play. The Cougars improved their series record over Santa Clara to 16-2.
- For the third time on the year, the Cougars finished a game with three players scoring in double digits. Shaylee Gonzales (13), Paisley Johnson (10), Brenna Chase (10).
- In the win, BYU shot 40 percent from the field, 61 percent from the free throw line and 27 percent from 3-point range.
- The Cougars recorded 28 points in the paint compared with 20 for the Broncos.
- In the rebound category, BYU pulled down 39 total boards to SCU’s 34. The Cougars are 6-1 on the year when they grab more rebounds than their opponents.
- BYU finished the game with the advantage in assists with 13 compared with 11 for the Broncos.
- Freshman Shaylee Gonzales tied for game highs in points with six in the first half. With a little over a minute left in the third quarter, she reached double figures for the 12th straight time on the year. Gonzales finished with a game-high 13 points and team bests in rebounds with seven. She also dished out two assists and collected one steal.
- Junior guard Brenna Chase had five points, one assist and one steal through the first 20 minutes of action. She recorded her ninth contest scoring in double digits with 10 and led the way in assists with a team-high four.
- With 6:03 left in the fourth period, a made jumper by Paisley Johnson put her in double digits with 10 marking her ninth game with at least 10 total points in a game. She pulled down six rebounds along with two assists.
- In her third start, freshman Babalu Ugwu tied her season best in rebounds with six and contributed four points in the win.