BYU Women’s Basketball rolls past Montana State in home opener
BYU Women’s Basketball beat Montana State 72-58 in the Cougars’ home opener at the Marriott Center on Dec. 10 to move to 3-1 on the season.
“I thought we came out at the start of the game with a lot of intensity defensively,” BYU head coach Jeff Judkins said. “We didn’t let them score for a while. We struggled offensively for the first three or four minutes, but I thought our defense was aggressive. We took some of their key players out early and then we started going. This team can score and when it gets going, it can score very quickly.”
The top scorer was Shaylee Gonzales, who led the team with 18 points, three rebounds and three assists. Paisley Johnson Harding followed, finishing with 11 points and six rebounds. Overall, the Cougars shot 48.1% from the field and 43.3% from 3-point range.
The Cougars jumped out to a 13-2 lead early in the game, with points evenly distributed between Gonzales, Harding and Lauren Gustin. The highlight of the period was when Gonzales scored on an inbounds pass to herself off the back of a Bobcat. Kaylee Smiler capped off the first quarter with a 3-pointer, making the score 25-9 in favor of the Cougars.
In the second quarter, the Cougars got five points off the bench from Tahlia White. Gonzales also knocked down two more 3-pointers, giving her 11 points and helping the Cougars open a 40-18 lead going into halftime. BYU shot 53.8% from the field and 37.5% from three in the first half. The Cougars held the Bobcats to 16.7% from the field and 7.1% from three in the opening half.
Sara Hamson established her presence down low early in the third quarter after scoring two points from a well-placed Harding pass. Later on in the quarter, Gonzales quickly added four points from another inbounds play to herself followed immediately by a steal and a layup. After a flurry of 3-pointers from multiple players, the Cougars finished the period with a 60-37 lead.
In the fourth quarter, Harding secured a 24-point lead for BYU by sinking her third 3-pointer of the game. Later on, Malli Perri scored from the baseline and Kyra Beckman scored another 3-pointer, giving the Cougars a 72-54 lead. The Cougars set a new season-high in 3-pointers made, going 14-for-31 from distance.
The Cougars will stay in Provo for their next game at the Marriott Center on Saturday, Dec. 12, at 12 p.m. MST against Boise State. The game will be available on BYUtv and the BYUtv app.