Cougars take down Houston on Senior Night

It’s been an eventful week for the BYU Cougars. New Zealand native Ari Mackey-Williams was baptized, Kailey Woolston got her mission call to Baltimore, and Wednesday was Senior Night for Lauren Gustin and Kaylee Smiler.

Woolston decided to celebrate by starting the game on a 8-0 run which led to a Houston timeout where coach Ronald Hughey was seemingly quite frustrated with his squad in the huddle.

“I feel like a lot of the stuff leading up to (Kailey’s mission call) was a lot of pressure (on her) so I just pulled her aside yesterday and I was like, look, I don’t care what’s happened the last three games, just shoot,” BYU coach Amber Whiting said postgame.

Whiting is, of course, referring to Woolston going 3 of 23 from the field and 1 of 12 from three over the course of the last three games which were all losses.

The (blue) Cougars started the 4th quarter on a 10-0 run as well.

BYU went on to win by ten, 64-54. Interestingly, Houston won the last matchup on Jan. 10 by ten points also, 79-69.

Both teams were plagued by turnovers. Houston had 21 and BYU had 18.

“I didn’t expect for us to have 21 turnovers against a team that wasn’t pressing us…(BYU) was sticking their hands in (passing lanes) and knocking balls out and (that) disrupted our rhythm” Hughey said.

BYU had three players finish in double-digit points — Gustin with 19, Woolston with 16, and Whiting with 10.

The BYU Cougars also shared the wealth with 15 assists, which is a stark contrast from Houston’s four assists.

“They played together. They were finding each other. They did really well tonight,” coach Whiting said.

“They really did a good job of moving without the basketball, making things really tough for us,” Hughey said.

After the game, Smiler and Gustin were honored on the court. The two have played a combined 247 games, starting in 172 of them.

Family and friends of Smiler performed the Haka for her, as she is also a New Zealand native, and she watched while holding back tears over seeing her parents in person for the first time since Christmas.

“You don’t really see her accolades in the stats, but…she leads by example. The girls off the court respect her tremendously,” coach Whiting said about Kaylee Smiler.

Smiler does have a few impressive accomplishments, however.

She led the Cougars in three-point percentage over the past two seasons and holds the second-highest career three-point percentage in BYU women’s basketball history.

Not bad, right?

The list of Gustin’s accolades and accomplishments is gargantuan, but is headlined by being the all-time leading rebounder in BYU women’s basketball history and No. 5 all-time leading rebounder in NCAA women’s basketball history.

“Lauren’s relentless. She gives 110% on the court,” coach Whiting said about Gustin.

BYU’s final game of the season is March 2 at Texas. The Longhorns are currently ranked No. 3 in the country, but just lost to conference rival Oklahoma in the final 11 seconds of the game on Wednesday night.

Here’s the game winning 3-pointer from Sooners senior guard Lexy Keys.

The Cougars will certainly have their hands full in Austin against a team that has only lost four games all season.

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