BYU holds off Washington State at home
PROVO, Utah – Despite a fourth-quarter surge from Washington State (8-2), No. 20 BYU women's basketball took control late and picked up a 71-53 in the Marriott Center on Saturday, bringing the Cougars' record to 9-1 on the season.
It was a physical game with tough defense from both teams. The win is BYU's fifth over Power 5 opponents this season. It was a bounce-back effort after a heartbreaking loss on the road last week against Oklahoma.
BYU shot 45.2% from the field, hitting only five 3-pointers on 17 attempts, but the threes came at key moments late in the game. On the other end, Washington State was red hot from three for most of the game, but finally had some misses late. Washington State finished 13-of-31 from three, but tough BYU defense held the Cougars in red to just 3-of-29 on two-point attempts. BYU outscored Washington State 40-2 in points in the paint.
"We had so many different people on the court scoring," said BYU guard Paisley Harding. "It wasn't just one or two people. That's what is so great about our team."
Harding led the Cougars in scoring with 20 points, including some key buckets late. She also had five rebounds.
Tegan Graham had 15 points for the Cougars, with three baskets from outside the arc. She also had four rebounds, five assists, two blocks and a steal.
Lauren Gustin led BYU with 13 rebounds. She also added seven points, a block and a steal.
Shaylee Gonzales had 13 points, six rebounds, two blocks and a steal. Sara Hamson came off the the bench with 10 points, three rebounds, two blocks and two steals.
Harding started off the game with a three-pointer and continued to perform throughout the first quarter, earning nine of BYU’s 21 points.
A 3-pointer from Graham brought the score to 17-13 with just more than a minute left in the quarter, and Harding followed with a jumper to increase BYU’s lead to 19-13. A layup from Lauren Gustin finished the quarter with BYU up 21-13.
Both teams struggled to put down points in the beginning of the quarter, with the score staying at 21-13 until just less than four minutes in, when Harding was able to make a layup. Back-to-back layups from Hamson brought BYU’s lead to 27-14, and the Cougars held Washington State to just one point with four minutes remaining in the quarter.
Washington State pushed back with three 3-pointers, but BYU remained in the lead, with the score at 37-29 at halftime.
A 3-pointer from Graham less than a minute into the quarter put the score at 40-29 to begin the second half. BYU struggled to push past Washington State’s defense as Washington State fought to narrow the gap. Three more WSU 3-pointers put the score at 45-38 with less than four minutes to play in the quarter.
A layup from Hamson brought the score to 47-40 with just over a minute in the quarter, and a block from Hamson led to a WSU turnover with 30 seconds on the clock. The quarter finished with BYU leading 47-40.
WSU opened the final quarter with two 3-pointers in the first minute of play. With BYU holding a lead the entire game, Washington state came within one, narrowing the score at 47-46. Back-to-back layups from Hamson helped BYU hold onto the lead, and a 3-pointer from Graham put the score at 54-46. A three from Harding increased BYU’s lead to 57-46. BYU continued to put down points, finishing the game with a layup from Kaylee Smiler that brought the final score to 71-53.
BYU will hit the road to play Montana State on Tuesday, Dec. 21 at 7 p.m. The game will be broadcast on ESPN+.
No. 20 BYU returns home to face Washington State Saturday
PROVO, Utah – The No. 20 BYU women's basketball team will host Washington State on Saturday, Dec. 18 at the Marriott Center at 12 p.m. MT. The game will be broadcast on BYUtv.org and the BYUtv App.
Saturday's game will be a BYU family Christmas party, with free admission for the whole family with a BYU employee ID. There will be free donuts and hot chocolate for the first 1,000 fans, photos available with Santa and a BYU employee ID will also get free popcorn at the concession stands.
- LAST GAME: BYU pushed the game to overtime but suffered its first loss of the season to Oklahoma on the road in Norman. Tegan Graham set the school record with 10 made 3-pointers in the game.
- The Cougars dropped four spots to No. 20 in the AP Top 25 after their first loss. Despite the loss, BYU is ranked for the third consecutive week for the first time since 2007.
- BYU is playing its fifth game in a row against a Power 5 opponent. The Cougars beat No. 17 Florida State, No. 22 West Virginia, Utah and lost to Oklahoma leading up to Saturday’s game.
- Tegan Graham set a new school record with 10 three-pointers against the Sooners, topping the previous record of nine hit by Kim Beeston and Erin Thorn.
- The Cougars will be seeking their fourth-straight road win this Saturday at No. 20/22 BYU. WSU's current three-game winning streak in true road games is the longest road winning streak for the Cougars since the 2017-18 campaign. The last time Washington State won four-straight away games came during the 2014-15 season, when WSU won five-straight true road games.
- Saturday's matchup against No. 20/22 BYU will mark the second time this season Washington State has played a top-25 opponent this season. WSU previously lost to No. 5/4 NC State (62-34) on Nov. 27 in the Bahamas. The Cougars knocked off three top-25 teams last season, as they defeated No. 21 Oregon State (61-55), No. 7/10 Arizona (71-69 OT), and No. 5/4 UCLA (67-63) in Beasley Coliseum.
- Washington State is 6-5 all-time against BYU and will be seeking its third-straight win over the Cougars from Provo. Sunday's matchup against Stony Brook will mark the first meeting between the two schools in women's basketball.
- At 8-1, WSU is off to its best starts to a season since the 2015-16 campaign, when the Cougars also went 8-1 through nine games. This season marks the eighth time in program history that the Cougs have opened a campaign at 8-1. Only the 1978-79 squad has a better record through nine games at 9-0. The 1978-79 team began the season at 10-0, which is the program-record for most consecutive wins to begin a season.
Consistent with current Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and BYU requirements, BYU Athletics will require masks in indoor venues when physical distancing isn’t maintained. This includes a requirement for those attending indoor athletic events, such as volleyball in the Smith Fieldhouse, basketball inside the Marriott Center and inside the loges at LaVell Edwards Stadium. Wearing a mask will be required for entry to indoor BYU venues. Masks will not be required for outdoor BYU venues.