Jacob Hable | Posted: 9 Nov 2021 | Updated: 24 Nov 2021

Big third quarter propels Cougars in opening night victory

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Tegan layup Lipscomb
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Lauren Gustin against Lipscomb Kaylee Smiler against Lipscomb Shaylee Gonzales against Lipscomb Paisley Harding against Lipscomb.

PROVO, Utah – Tegan Graham scored a BYU-best 18 points and Lauren Gustin posted a double-double in BYU women’s basketball’s season-opening victory over Lipscomb 81-58 on Tuesday evening at the Marriott Center.

The Cougars scored 32 in the third quarter and shot 40.3 percent from the field and 13 of 35 from the three-point line for the game. BYU scored 18 points on 17 turnovers and outrebounded the Bison 55-33. BYU also dominated the paint, outscoring Lipscomb 26-8.

“I think you saw tonight what this team can do offensively,” said BYU head coach Jeff Judkins, entering his 21st season at the helm. “We shot the three, we got the ball inside and we went to the basket. There is a lot we can get better at, but this is a fun team, and they can score really quick.”

BOX SCORE

Graham, a graduate senior guard, finished the night shooting 6 of 11 from the field, including 4 of 7 from three and added six assists.

“It’s all about creating for each other on offense,” Graham said. “I think we did that really well in the third quarter. We trust each other. We trust the coaches, and we trust the program.”

Gustin, in her second year with the Cougars, had 13 points and 13 rebounds in 28 minutes of play, earning her 16th double-double at BYU. 

Sophomore guard Shaylee Gonzales finished second in scoring for the Cougars with 15 points off 6 of 14 from the field, adding seven rebounds and four assists. Senior guard Paisley Harding also had seven boards, scoring 11 points and dishing out five assists.

Freshmen Kate Vorwaller and Nani Falatea each scored three points and Arielle Mackey-Williams finished with two in their BYU debuts.

The Bison opened the game with three 3-pointers to take an early 9-0 lead. The Cougars started off slow going 0 for 4 from the field until Gustin got the BYU offense started with a layup three minutes into the first quarter.

After the quick start from Lipscomb, the Cougars responded scoring 18 unanswered points, capitalizing on six forced turnovers and two three-pointers from Harding and sophomore Kaylee Smiler.

Harding hit another three-pointer with 30 seconds left in the first quarter to give the Cougars a 22-13 lead.

Both teams started off the second quarter cold as BYU shot just 3 for 11 from the field and Lipscomb hitting 1 for 7 with five minutes left in the first half. The Cougars found their stroke from behind the arc again, with three-pointers coming from Smiler and Falatea to extend their lead, 37-20.

Following a 7-2 Bison run, senior Sara Hamson scored her first bucket of the game with a putback sending BYU into the half leading 41-27.

Gustin opened the scoring in the second half with four points from two layups. Graham knocked down two from deep and Gonzales added one of her own, giving the Cougars a 21-point lead, 53-32 with six left in the third quarter. Harding hit another three to cap a 12-0 BYU run.

After hitting another from downtown, Graham sunk a jumper from the elbow off of a Harding assist. The Cougar offense turned to Hamson on back-to-back possessions in the paint, and Albiero drilled one from three. Gonzales hit again from downtown, giving BYU its seventh three-pointer of the quarter and a 73-49 lead going into the fourth.

Despite being outscored by Lipscomb 9-8 in the fourth quarter, the Cougars established a lead that would prove to be insurmountable.

BYU will host Fresno State on Saturday, Nov. 13 at 4 p.m. MST at the Marriott Center. The game can be viewed on BYUtv.org and the BYUtv app.