Gustin Dominant as BYU Rides Over Waves
PROVO, Utah – Powered by Lauren Gustin’s historic performance, BYU women’s basketball broke away from Pepperdine for a 75-61 win on Thursday night at the Marriott Center.
“It was a fun night,” Gustin said. “I feel like we started out a little bit rough, but we pulled things together by the end and got the win.”
Gustin’s 27-point, 20-rebound night was not only fun but culminated in the greatest rebounding performance at home from a BYU women’s basketball player in the last 40 years.
With under two minutes to play, a Pepperdine three-pointer fell short and into the clutches of the sophomore forward. The BYU bench erupted in cheers and applause as Gustin checked out for the final time. Gustin’s rebounding performance is the sixth best in program history at the Marriott Center, placing her among BYU greats such as Tina Gunn and Melanie Sorenson.
“I thought Lauren played outstanding tonight,” BYU head coach Jeff Judkins said. “Her mental toughness and physicality are really impressive.”
While Gustin dominated Pepperdine in the paint, guards Shaylee Gonzales and Paisley Johnson-Harding pitched in on both sides of the floor. Gonzales’ two steals and Johnson-Harding’s two drawn-charges helped BYU dominate the turnover battle, with 19 points off 15 takeaways.
Though the Cougars cruised in the end, Pepperdine gave them all they could handle in the opening quarters. BYU escaped the first half with a six-point lead, following a Johnson-Harding put-back bucket at the buzzer.
In the second half, BYU’s defense clamped down, pushing Pepperdine to shoot late in the clock and capitalizing on turnovers. One such sequence saw sophomore guard Kaylee Smiler block a Pepperdine shot, setting up freshman guard Tahlia White’s first of two three-pointers. This gave BYU a game-high lead of 12 at 53-41 heading into the fourth quarter.
Despite an 11-0 run from the Waves late in the game, BYU stayed in front by sharing the ball and getting to the free-throw line. On the night, BYU shot 11 of 15 from the charity stripe and moved the ball to the tune of 21 assists and just five turnovers.
“I thought we had moments, especially in the second half, where we played really well,” Judkins said. “I thought we did a good job of grinding things out and coming away with the win.”
With Thursday’s win, BYU moves to 10-3 on the season and 6-2 in WCC play at second place in the conference.
Gustin, Gonzales and the Cougars return to action against Loyola Marymount at the Marriott Center on Saturday, February 6 at 2 p.m. MST. The game will be broadcast live on BYUtv.
- Gustin secured her eighth double-double of the season just three minutes into the second quarter. She finished the game with 27 points and 20 rebounds, both BYU career highs
- Gustin’s 20 rebounds is the sixth most by a BYU women’s basketball player in Marriott Center history. It is the most since Tina Gunn pulled down 23 boards in a game against Utah State during the 1979-80 season
- Gonzales stuffed the stat sheet with 11 points, eight rebounds, four assists and two steals in 32 minutes of action
- Albiero also scored in double figures for the Cougars, contributing 10 points, two rebounds, one assist and one steal
- Harding totaled nine points, five assists and two steals
- Graham tallied seven points, four assists, two rebounds and one steal
- White, coming off the bench, knocked down both her 3-point attempts to score six points in 10 minutes
- Fourteen different Cougars checked into the game for BYU, including Kayla Belles-Lee, who saw her first couple minutes of playing time in a Cougar uniform coming off an injury
- The Cougars forced 15 turnovers on the night while giving up just five of their own, tying their season low
- BYU scored 38 points in the paint to the Waves’ 24 and had 14 second-chance points compared to Pepperdine’s four
- The Cougars won the rebounding battle, 45-34. BYU had 19 offensive boards to the Waves’ six
- In assists, the Cougars tied their season-high with 21 while Pepperdine dished out 11
- BYU shot 39% from the floor, 21% from three and 73% from the foul line