BYU women’s basketball surges early for 101-74 victory over Utah State
A 36-point first quarter set the tone for a high-octane scoring performance for BYU women’s basketball, taking down rival Utah State 101-74 Tuesday afternoon at the Marriott Center.
The Cougars started on an 11-0 run and never looked back, leading for the game’s entirety and by as many as 35 points at one point. Their 36-11 first-quarter advantage set the record for the highest-scoring quarter in program history, and the 101-point outburst was the team’s first time crossing the century mark in scoring since 2011.
Head coach Jeff Judkins was a late scratch from the afternoon and stayed home ill, with assistant Lee Cummard assuming interim head coaching duties for the first time in his career to lead the Cougars to their first 5-0 start since 2013.
It was a complete scoring effort for the Cougars, scoring 50 points in the paint, 22 points in transition and hitting 11 3-pointers at a 39% clip. Defensively, the highly-aggressive unit racked up 10 blocks and 10 steals, ultimately scoring 23 points off of turnovers.
“They move the ball well, and it was everybody today,” Cummard said. “The ball just kept moving and kept going through the hole.”
Point guard Shaylee Gonzales was near perfect in the contest, scoring 24 points with seven rebounds, six assists and four steals. Tegan Graham served as chief facilitator offensively with 14 points and seven assists and also pitched in on defense with separate pairs of steals and blocks. Lauren Gustin, the third of BYU’s ‘killer G’s’, posted 18 points with two steals, and Paisley Harding added another 15 points.
“With that first unit, you’ve got to guard everybody or else they’ll make you pay, and they did today,” Cummard said. “Not a whole lot of minutes for them, but they were highly effective in their playing time.”
Such a sizable early lead offered Cummard the chance to increase his rotations and develop more depth off the bench, with freshmen forwards Emma Calvert and Rose Bubakar combining for 18 points and nine rebounds. BYU’s veterans such as Graham and Harding continued to affect the game while on the bench by leading the huddle during timeouts and coaching their teammates.
“They know exactly what’s expected, and they have high expectations themselves so they’re relaying that to the rest of the girls,” Cummard said of the team’s veteran leaders. “When I get to the huddle late, they’re preaching all about defense and that offense will come from defense. That’s what you want from your leaders of the team, they’re just awesome to be around.”
Now sitting at 5-0, BYU heads on the road for the first time in this young season for the St. Pete Showcase in St. Petersburg, Florida to play Florida State at 5 p.m. MST. A win would pit the Cougars against the winner of the previous West Virginia/Purdue matchup on Saturday.