BYU holds on to stay undefeated in WCC after close game with Saint Mary's
MORAGA, Calif. – The BYU women’s basketball team held on to win against Saint Mary’s 74-73 to stay undefeated in the West Coast Conference on Saturday afternoon at McKeon Pavilion.
“We had a great defensive effort at the end of the game,” BYU head coach Jeff Judkins said. “This team doesn’t give up and that’s really good to see. It’s hard to win here, so this is really a big win for us. Paisley was unstoppable tonight and I thought Jasmine had a really good game for us defensively.”
The Cougars, who are on an eight-game winning streak and 6-0 in conference play escaped with another win after a late surge from the Gaels brought the game within one point with only 22 seconds left on the clock in the fourth quarter.
After BYU took a 13-point lead early in the fourth quarter, Saint Mary’s kept the game alive going on an 8-0 run cutting BYU’s led to 74-71 with just under two minutes to go. The Gaels took possession with 58 seconds left in the game, but a block from Shalae Salmon and a shot clock violation gave the Cougars the ball. However, BYU turned the ball over and Saint Mary’s netted a jumper bring the lead margin to one point making the score 74-73.
With the Gaels taking possession after a timeout, BYU chose to drain the clock to 14 seconds by fouling before Paisley Johnson stole the ball forcing Saint Mary’s to call another timeout. BYU in-bounded the ball but a foul was called on Sara Hamson giving possession back to the Gaels with 0.03 seconds left on the clock. Saint Mary’s Carly Turner put up a 3-point attempt at the buzzer for the win, but the ball missed the net and the Cougars took the win 74-73.
Johnson led all scorers with a new career-high of 25 points going 9 for 13 on field goals. It was her second straight 20-plus game after scoring 24 on Thursday night against Pacific and her fourth of the 2018 season. Shaylee Gonzales also netted 20 points to go with five rebounds and five assists, it was also her second straight game with 20-plus points.
The Cougars went 11 for 22 from behind the arc to pace the offense.
Both teams capitalized on their shots in the first quarter of the game. The Gaels put up the first points, but BYU answered back. The two teams traded baskets before Saint Mary’s pulled ahead scoring three treys making the score 17-14. A 3-pointer from Brenna Chase gave the Cougars its first lead of the game, followed by a jumper from Gonzales making the score 20-17. The Gaels closed out the first quarter netting a 3-pointer to tie the game at 20-all.
BYU took the lead to open the second quarter as Salmon posted a layup. Saint Mary’s quickly answered back, sinking a 3-pointer and a layup taking the lead again with the score at 25-23. But, back-to-back 3-pointers from Johnson and one from Chase, put BYU ahead with the score at 31-25. The Gaels cut the lead margin going on a 9-2 run, taking back the lead making the score 38-37. Babalu Ugwu closed out the second quarter netting two points from the charity line giving BYU the advantage 39-38 going into halftime.
Coming out of halftime, the Cougars scored the first basket but good defense from the Gaels put BYU into a scoring drought. Saint Mary’s capitalized on their defensive efforts going on an 11-2 run taking the lead at 49-43. It wasn’t long before the Cougars found their rhythm again going on a 12-0 run, again taking back the lead 55-49. A jumper from Johnson ended the third quarter with BYU ahead 65-56.
The Cougars opened up the final quarter taking advantage of three straight Saint Mary’s turnovers to tallying the biggest lead of the day, going up 13 points making the score 69-56. However, a late surge from Saint Mary’s brought the game within three points, after going on an 8-0 run making the score 74-71. With only 0.03 left on the clock, the Gaels took possession of the ball but ultimately missed a buzzer-beater 3-pointer and BYU won 74-73.
BYU returns home to take on Gonzaga on Thursday, Jan. 17 at 7:00 p.m. MST in the Marriott Center. The game will be broadcast live on BYUtv with live stats available on the schedule page.
Postgame Notes at Saint Mary’s
- BYU held on to beat Saint Mary’s 74-73 after being up by one, 38-37 at halftime. With the win, the Cougar women extend their win streak to eight and remain perfect in WCC play with a 6-0 record.
- BYU finished the contest shooting 46 percent from the field and 78 percent from the free throw line.
- Through the first half of play, the Cougars tallied 21 rebounds to the Gaels 19. At the end of the contest, the Gaels finished with the edge in rebounds, pulling down 36 to BYU’s 34.
- Saint Mary’s finished the game with 16 assists to BYU’s 14.
- In the steals category, each team recorded seven steals.
- Sophomore Paisley Johnson picked up her 14th game with double-digit points (14) at halftime. For the game, she totaled a game- and career-high 25 points. The points are her second-straight 20+ point outing and the fourth on the season.
- In her eighth start of the year, freshman Babalu Ugwu grabbed five rebounds in the game to go along with four points.
- Shaylee Gonzales scored 20 points, her seventh game with 20+ points and her second straight. She tied for game highs in assists with five and in steals with three while pulling down five rebounds.
- Brenna Chase picked up her 12th game with double-digit points, contributing 12 in the BYU win. She shot 4 of 9 from 3-point range and led the team in rebounds with six.