BYU women’s basketball smashes Pacific 81-60 to stay undefeated at home

The BYU women’s basketball team played a last-minute rescheduled game against Pacific at the Marriott Center on Tuesday, beating the Tigers 81-60 to remain undefeated at home with a 5-0 record.

After a week of canceled games due to COVID, three Cougars scored in the double digits: Shaylee Gonzales with 23, Tegan Graham with 15 and Sara Hamson with 12. Hamson also had nine rebounds, five blocks and three steals. Gonzales had an impressive all-around stat line herself with seven rebounds, six assists and six steals.

As a team, BYU had 14 steals in the game, disrupting Pacific’s offensive consistently and turning defense into offense with 13 fast-break points.

Lauren Gustin, the West Coast Conference Player of the Week last week, was unavaible against Pacific, giving Graham the opportunity to start in her place.

The Tigers held BYU in check early, but at the end of the first period the Cougars were up 29-9, and then extended the lead to 26 at halftime, 47-21.

Valerie Higgins scored 18 points to go along with 10 rebounds and eight steals for Pacific, while Erica Adams added 10 points.

“I thought we played a really good first half,” BYU head coach Jeff Judkins said. “Especially at the start of the game, I thought we came out defensively aggressive and I really think we pushed the ball.”

BYU scored half of their points in the paint, thanks in large part to Hamson and her seven-foot wingspan dominating the area around the basket. Judkins called it one of her “best all-around games” as a Cougar.

“It starts with my guard line,” Judkins said. “Shaylee, Maria and Paisley (Harding) are as athletic as any guard line in our league.”

Judkins went on to heap more praise onto Gonzales, saying she is not only the best player on the team, but also “the hardest worker on the team.” She leads the WCC in scoring at 19 points per game, and is also in the top three in assists and steals, making her an early favorite to win WCC Player of the Year.

BYU’s next game is at the Marriott Center on Saturday, Jan. 30 at 12 p.m. MST against San Diego.

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