Braden Taylor | Posted: 14 Jan 2021 | Updated: 8 Feb 2021

Cougars Dominate in 80-63 Victory Over Saint Mary's

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BYU women's basketball's Lauren Gustin holding the basketball against SMC
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PROVO, Utah – Lauren Gustin recorded her seventh double-double of the season as BYU women’s basketball defeated Saint Mary’s 80-63 Thursday night at the Marriott Center.

BYU vs. Saint Mary's Final Box Score

"I thought offensively we had moments where we really moved the ball well," BYU head coach Jeff Judkins said. "Saint Mary’s did a really good job spreading us out and making us play one-on-one basketball, which is hard to do. I thought Paisley (Harding) played one of her better games tonight. I also think Lauren (Gustin) showed why she’s one of the best in the low post. I’m happy with the win and thought everyone played well." 

Gustin scored 12 points and pulled down a game-high 16 boards. Harding led the team in scoring with a season-high 20 points, adding five assists and a pair of rebounds to her stat line. Shaylee Gonzales added 19 points of her own while leading the team with six assists. Sara Hamson scored eight points while anchoring the Cougars’ defense with four blocks.

"I feel like we hit on all cylinders later on in the game," Harding said. "The game clicked for a lot of us. I think everyone on the team had a good game, and it was really fun to be a part of." 

BYU (8-2, 4-1 WCC) shot 50.8 percent from the field while holding Saint Mary’s (2-10, 0-6 WCC) to 36.9 percent shooting. The Cougars had their way in the paint, outscoring the Gaels 34-22, and forced 17 turnovers in the game.

Harding scored nine straight points to lead the Cougars to a 13-5 advantage midway through the first period. The Gaels answered with a quick 6-0 run to cut the deficit to two points, 13-11, with 3:12 on the clock. The two teams traded baskets in the closing moments as the first quarter ended in a deadlock at 19-all.

Saint Mary’s knocked down a pair of 3-pointers to jump out to a 29-23 lead early in the second period. Gonzales drained two treys and scored a fast break layup to personally fuel 8-0 run, evening the score up at 31-all. Gonzales remained hot from behind the arc, dropping two more from deep to help BYU retake the lead 39-33. Maria Albiero made a baseline jumper at the buzzer to send the Cougars into the half with a 41-33 edge.

After both teams struggled to score at the start of the second half, Gonzales and Harding scored back-to-back baskets to extend BYU’s lead to double digits, 48-36. The Cougars continued to build their lead, outscoring the Gaels 9-7 to end the third period with a 14-point lead, 57-43.

Harding opened the final quarter with two driving layups to increase BYU’s advantage to 16 points, 62-46. Malli Perri had six fourth-period points as the Cougars cruised to the 80-63 victory over the Gaels.

BYU is scheduled to continue WCC play against Pacific at the Marriott Center on Saturday, Jan. 16. The game is set to tipoff at 2 p.m. MST and will be televised on BYUtv.

Player Notes

  • Harding scored a season-high 20 points on 7 of 11 shooting to go along with five assists, two rebounds and one steal.
  • Gonzales scored a game-best 15 points in the first 20 minutes. She finished the contest with 19 points, six rebounds, six assists and one steal.
  • Gustin tallied eight rebounds and six points at the break. She finished the game with 12 points and 16 rebounds to record her seventh double-double of the season
  • Hamson stuffed the stat sheet with eight points, four blocks, three rebounds and one steal
  • Perri tallied a season-high six points on a perfect 3 of 3 shooting
  • Freshmen Megan Stevenson and Kate Vorwaller both recorded their first minutes of playing time this season during the win

Team Notes

  • The Cougars capitalized off of Saint Mary’s 17 turnovers, scoring 18 points off takeaways
  • BYU dominated down low, scoring 34 points in the paint compared to the Gaels’ 22
  • In blocks, BYU had five while Saint Mary’s had one
  • The Gaels out-rebounded the Cougars 40-37 and had 29 bench points to BYU’s 16
  • Twelve different Cougars saw playing time in the win, with nine of them scoring
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