Gonzales’ 30 points lead BYU to victory over LSU in season opener

BYU Women’s Basketball opened its season with a 67-51 win over LSU in the South Point Shootout on Friday.

In her first game back after sitting out all of last season with a knee injury, sophomore Shaylee Gonzales dropped 30 points on 11-for-14 shooting, including 6-for-7 from three.

Gonzales opened the game with two straight 3-pointers to give BYU a 6-0 lead. The Cougars held LSU to 0-for-7 shooting early before the Tigers scored on three straight possession to tie it up at 6-6.

Layups by Gonzales and Lauren Gustin put BYU back ahead by four, but LSU’s Awa Trasi, who shot 4-for-5 in the first quarter, kept it close for the Tigers.

Paisley Johnson Harding got on the board with a layup late in the first, and the quarter ended with BYU leading 12-10.

The Cougars shot 45.5% from the field in the first quarter, including 66.7% from three. Gonzales scored eight of BYU’s 12 points in the quarter.

Opening the second quarter, Gonzales hit another triple and then scored on a jumper to give the Cougars a 17-10 lead.

A deep two by grad transfer Tegan Graham and two pairs of free throws by Maria Albiero pushed BYU out to a 10-point lead at 23-13.

Another Gonzales layup and a three by Harding capped an 11-0 Cougar run, a span during which BYU held LSU scoreless for nearly six minutes.

The Cougars held a 15-point lead, ahead 28-13, but the Tigers clawed back again, drawing within 10.

Two free throws by Gonzales, a Harding layup, and a jumper by Gustin at the first-half buzzer brought the lead to 14, with BYU up 34-20 at the half.

Gonzales finished the first half with 17 points, only missing one shot. Harding closed the half with seven points and Gustin tallied four points and seven rebounds.

The Cougars shot 50% from both the field and beyond the arc in the first half and outscored the Tigers 22-10 in the second quarter. They also held LSU to 31% shooting in the half.

An early three by Gonzales gave BYU a 37-22 third-quarter lead. Harding then hit a 3-pointer for a 40-25 Cougar lead.

Three free throws and a jumper by LSU’s Trasi had the Tigers within 10 before a Gonzales layup pushed the lead back to 12 at 42-30.

Two buckets by LSU’s Faustine Aifuwa brought the BYU lead down to eight, but Kaylee Smiler followed with a quick triple to bring the lead back to 11.

After a pair of Tiger free throws, a three ball by Graham put the Cougars up 48-36.

A fast-break Gonzales layup as time expired had BYU leading 50-38 through three quarters. After 30 minutes, the Cougars were shooting 50% from the field and 61.5% from deep, with eight made 3-pointers.

Gustin scored on a fast-break layup to open the fourth quarter and Albiero followed with a jumper, but BYU traded baskets with LSU on back-to-back possessions and led 54-42.

A Tiger three by LSU’s Sarah Shematsi cut the Cougar lead to nine, but Gonzales nailed a triple of her own, her fifth of the night, on the other end for a 57-45 BYU lead.

Albiero then knocked down two free throws, stretching the Cougars’ lead to 14 at 59-45 with just under six minutes remaining in the game.

Graham hit a jumper following another pair of Tiger free throws, but an LSU bucket on the other end brought the score to 61-49 in favor of BYU.

Gonzales then hit her sixth 3-pointer of the game, putting the Cougars ahead for good, 64-49. Harding added a three late and BYU finished with a game-high lead of 16, 67-51.

The Cougars finished the game shooting 52.2% from the field and a lights out 61.1% from beyond the arc for 11 made 3-pointers. BYU held LSU to 35.1% shooting in the game.

Harding had 13 points on the night and Gustin grabbed a team-high 14 boards. Albiero also added eight points and four rebounds.

BYU will play again tomorrow night against Washington in the South Point Shootout in Las Vegas at 7:30 p.m. MST.

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