Tegan Graham drives against LMU on Saturday. (BYU Women's Basketball)

BYU women’s basketball takes ‘the greatest show’ on the road with 77-37 win over LMU

BYU women’s basketball put on a spectacular performance on both sides of the ball in a 77-37 win over the Loyola Marymount Lions on Saturday at Gersten Pavillion Arena in Los Angeles.

With 26 points dropped in the first quarter, the Cougars started out with a good lead and dominated for the rest of the game. The leading scorer of the game, Shaylee Gonzales, finished with 19 points, five assists and five rebounds. Lauren Gustin and Paisley Harding followed with 14 points each.

BYU is currently on a six-game win streak, the best active streak in the West Coast Conference for women’s basketball, and leads the WCC with a 4-0 conference record.

By the middle of the fourth quarter, BYU pulled its starters and had almost all of its true freshmen on the court. Absent from the group was Nani Falatea, the 5-foot-9 freshman guard from Salt Lake City who injured her ankle and had to be taken off the court in the third quarter.

A total of 16 points came from BYU’s rookies, including six from Emma Calvert and five from both Falatea and Kate Vorwaller.

BYU put the pressure on LMU just seconds into the second quarter with a layup by Gonzales, assisted by Tegan Graham. Gustin brought BYU to 38 points with four minutes left in the second quarter.

Gonzales and Gustin started a perfect 10-of-10 from the field, putting up 23 of the Cougars’ first 38 points. BYU led LMU 44-21 at halftime, with Gonzales leading all scorers with 15 points and Gustin and Harding each adding 10.

“I think we did a good job on our rotations and we used our size to our advantage,” head coach Jeff Judkins said. “When Sara (Hamson) came in she changes the game for us. She has really been playing well the last few games. It has helped out our defense a lot.”

BYU grew its lead into the third quarter with a layup from Harding. The easy bucket fired the team up and points started to pour in for the Cougars. A free throw by Maria Albeiro got BYU up to 48 points, followed by more shots from Gustin, Gonzales, Hamson and Graham. By the end of the third quarter, the Cougars led the Lions by 36 points.

“I am very happy with what we are doing. We haven’t shot the ball as well as we can but what is nice about this team is I can go a lot of different ways,” Judkins said. “I can go aggressive like we did at the start or we can go bigger and it makes it challenging for the other team any way we can go.”

BYU matches its impressive offense with stifling defense, totaling 16 steals against LMU, including five from Gonzales and three from Albiero. Hamson had four blocks in the contest.

The Lions were left scoreless for the final 1:27 of the fourth quarter while the Cougars managed to sneak in three points during the remaining 86 seconds.

Both the Cougars and Lions are set to play Pepperdine next week.

“We have a big week ahead of us with Pepperdine on the road and San Diego on the road,” Judkins said. “It will be a really good test for us.”

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