Brenna Chase Drollinger and Shalae Salmon led BYU women’s basketball to a 67-50 victory over Utah State on Tuesday, Nov. 26 in the Marriott Center.
Drollinger started BYU’s scoring with a layup that was quickly followed by another layup courtesy of Paisley Johnson. Sara Hamson kept the momentum for BYU with a big block on the defensive end before Johnson shoveled the ball under the basket to Salmon who converted on the shot and the foul, giving BYU a 5-2 lead.
The momentum continued as Drollinger drained a 3-pointer with 7:04 remaining in the opening quarter. Within a 2:50 span, BYU had given themselves an 11-0 run which forced Utah State to call a timeout with the score at 11-2.
Utah State was finally able to get back on the board with 5:21 remaining in the quarter off of a steal from Marlene Aniambossou who converted on the following layup. On the Aggies’ next possession, Lindsey Jensen-Baker hit a 3-pointer, giving the Aggies a 5-0 run coming out of the timeout.
Another shot block from Hamson gave BYU their momentum back before Drollinger put in a transition layup for the Cougars, extending their lead to 13-7.
Drollinger continued with her hot hand with a 3-point land late in the quarter, giving BYU a 16-8 lead with just over two minutes remaining in the quarter.
Utah State followed with a pair of buckets to bring the score within three with under a minute remaining. Johnson was brought in off a substitution for defensive reinforcement, and she quickly forced a turnover which kept BYU’s lead at 16-13 after the first frame.
Salmon was sent to the foul line 12 seconds into the second quarter, making her two free throws which gave BYU a 18-13 lead to start the second quarter.
Fresh off substitution, Maria Albiero drained a 3-pointer which was soon followed by a Drollinger layup, while Hamson’s stellar performance on defense continued with another block which helped Salmon put home a layup on offense giving BYU a 27-17 lead.
A four-minute scoring drought which included BYU going 0 for 4 from the field was ended by Albiero’s 3-pointer followed by a Johnson layup. Their efforts brought the score to 32-21 and forced Utah State to call a timeout
BYU dealt with Utah State’s aggressive play and kept up their defensive game, forcing Utah State into a four-minute scoring drought which led them into the third quarter with a 32-22 lead.
“I was a little bit surprised with their physicality. They definitely came out and were very aggressive and I think that it was good for them. It taught us how to handle the pressure and aggression,” Drollinger said.
Drollinger led all scorers with 12 points at the half while Hamson led the defense with five rebounds and four blocked shots. Utah State’s Jensen-Baker led her team with seven points.
BYU head coach Jeff Judkins said he was impressed with Drollinger’s performance, saying she runs the team and makes plays on offense and defense when the team needs it most.
Salmon started the second half scoring for BYU with a layup that pushed the score to 34-22, but a 7-0 Utah State run ensued. BYU matched the Aggies 7-0 run with a mini 5-0 run of its own, bringing the score to 39-28 before Utah State called a timeout.
BYU went 0 for 7 from the field after the timeout but still held on to a 39-32 lead. Babalu Ugwu ended the drought with a layup while also converting on the ensuing foul shot giving BYU a 10-point lead.
Drollinger’s third 3-pointer of the game was followed by an Albiero foul shot that gave BYU a 46-32 lead heading into the final quarter.
Johnson started the fourth quarter scoring a quick layup followed by consecutive BYU 3-pointers bringing the score to 54-36. Utah State followed this by converting a pair of buckets before Drollinger hit another three giving BYU an 18-point lead. With 2:43 remaining in the game, Judkins called a timeout while nurturing a 15-point lead.
The game ended with Malli Valgardson-Perri draining a 3-pointer that secured a 67-50 win for BYU.
BYU’s Drollinger, Johnson, Albiero and Salmon all reached double digits while Hamson and Salmon led the defense with 11 rebounds, respectively, while Hamson also blocked six shots.