Record crowd watches BYU beat Gonzaga on Senior Day
PROVO, Utah — BYU defeated Gonzaga 63-39 in front of 6,289 fans––the most to ever watch a women's basketball game at the Marriott Center on Saturday afternoon.
On senior day, the Cougars (23-2, 13-1) used a big start to the second half to run away from the Zags (21-6, 12-2), outscoring Gonzaga 23-8 in the third quarter.
“These are fun games. They’re fun to coach and fun to play,” BYU head coach Jeff Judkins said. “I’m proud of these girls, every single one of them. They all had to sacrifice to make this team successful, and what a great example they are for the younger girls on the team.”
BYU's record crowd also helped extend the Cougars's home winning streak to 30 games, posting back-to-back undefeated seasons at the Marriott Center.
“The crowd was amazing today,” Judkins said. “I knew we would have a good turnout, but we had more than we expected and to break a school record on senior day, that is huge and so special.”
It was sophomore Shaylee Gonzales who led the scoring with 21 points but senior Paisley Harding posted 16 points and seven assists and senior Maria Albiero added eight points, including two triples.
BYU assisted on 20 of 23 makes from the field after entering the game No. 2 nationally with 20.1 assists per game. The Cougar defense held Gonzaga to a season-low 39 points, allowing just 25.5 percent from the field.
With a strong drive in the first minute of play, Harding drew a foul to start the game with a basket from the charity stripe. Lauren Gustin drove inside the paint to put more points on the board for the Cougars.
The Bulldogs answered back with a three-pointer and free-throw of their own. After a three from Albiero, the Cougars went up 6-4 with five minutes left in the first quarter.
After a few more layups on both sides of the ball and a set of free throws by Gonzaga, the first quarter ended with the Bulldogs ahead 12-11.
Harding started the scoring in the second quarter with a jumper from inside the paint. A driving layup from Gonzales and a three-pointer by freshman Nani Falatea put the Cougars ahead of the Bulldogs 19-13.
After a block by senior Sara Hamson, Harding drew a foul and went 2-of-2 from the charity stripe to extend the lead 23-14. With four minutes remaining in the second quarter, a Gonzales layup assisted by Harding pushed the momentum for the Cougars as they went on a 6-0 run over the Bulldogs.
The Cougars went into the locker room ahead of the Bulldogs by 10 points, 27-17. BYU ended the first half shooting 38 percent from the field and Gonzaga ended shooting just 20 percent.
Senior Tegan Graham started the second half with a three-pointer from the top of the arc. Albiero hit another Cougar three-pointer to stretch the Cougar lead to 16 points with a score of 37-21 in the fifth minute of play.
A 12-0 run and a three-pointer by Harding forced a Gonzaga timeout. BYU continued its momentum after Gonzales drew a foul for a three-point play. The Cougars finished the third quarter with a 25-point lead with a score of 50-25.
Gonzales went 2-of-2 from the free-throw line to put the first points on the board for BYU in the final quarter. A three-pointer from the top of the arc by Graham gave the Cougars momentum in the final quarter.
After a two-minute Gonzaga scoring drought, Hamson drew a foul and made both baskets from the free-throw line. Falatea hit a jumper from inside the paint to finish the game for BYU. The Cougars secured a 63-39 win over the Bulldogs in their last home game of the 2022 season.
After the game, the Cougars recognized the five seniors including Paisley Harding, Sara Hamson, Maria Albiero, Tegan Graham and Kayla Belles-Lee.
Up next, BYU is on the road Thursday, Feb. 24 against Santa Clara.
BYU hosts LMU Thursday and Gonzaga on Saturday
PROVO, Utah – The No. 20 BYU women's basketball team plays its final homestand of the 2021-22 season against Loyola Marymount on Thursday and Gonzaga on Saturday's senior day at the Marriott Center.
Thursday's game is a second "Kid's Game" for the year, with more than 1,000 elementary school children expected to be in attendance. The game is scheduled for an early 11 a.m. MT tipoff at the Marriott Center. The game will be televised on BYUtv.
Saturday's game against Gonzaga will honor the five seniors on the roster, including Kayla Belles-Lee, Maria Albiero, Sara Hamson, Tegan Graham and Paisley Harding. They will be recognized following the game with a special presentation. The game is scheduled for a 2 p.m. MT start and will be televised on BYUtv.
Senior day will also be a "blackout" with the team sporting its black uniforms at home for the only time this year. Fans are encouraged to wear black and 500 free t-shirts will also be available.
Consistent with current BYU requirements, all in attendance at the Marriott Center will need to provide proof of vaccination or proof of a negative COVID test upon entry. Masks will also be required, regardless of vaccination status. COVID testing will be available at Marriott Center 90 minutes before tipoff and 30 minutes after tipoff. Find more details at byu.edu/coronavirus.
BYU vs. LMU
Thursday, Feb. 17
11 a.m. MT
Video: BYUtv/BYUtv App/BYUtv.org
On Twitter: @BYUwbb
BYU vs. Gonzaga
Saturday, Feb. 12
2 p.m. MT
TV/Stream: BYUtv/BYUtv App/BYUtv.org
On Twitter: @BYUwbb
- LAST GAME: BYU rallied on the road again to beat St. Mary’s 84-69. Shaylee Gonzales led the way with a career-high 35 points.
- BYU has won 28 consecutive games in the Marriott Center. The program record is 33 games, set over the 1978-80 seasons.
- KIDS GAME. Thursday’s game is another “Kid’s game” when local elementary schools are invited to come. More than 1,000 youngsters are expected to be in attendance.
- SENIOR DAY BLACKOUT. BYU will honor five seniors in Saturday’s final home game - Kayla Belles-Lee, Maria Albiero, Sara Hamson, Tegan Graham and Paisley Harding. The game is a blackout, with the team wearing black uniforms at home for the only time this year.
- Shaylee Gonzales was named to the Midseason Team for the 2021-22 Naismith Trophy for the Women’s Collegiate Player of the Year.
- Lauren Gustin is 1 of 10 finalists for the Katrina McClain Award for the nation’s top power forward. Fans can vote at hoophallawards.com.
- BYU is ranked No. 4 in scoring margin at +20.0 points per game and ranks No. 10 in scoring offense at 78.9 points per game. The Cougars are No. 2 in assists per game (19.9) and No. 4 in assist to turnover ratio (1.47), No. 3 in field goal percentage (47.7) and No. 23 in field goal percentage defense (35.8).
LMU Lions (8-15, 3-10)
- LMU is coming off a tough loss to Santa Clara. A potential game-winner rolled off the rim at the buzzer in a 62-61 loss to Santa Clara last week.
Gonzaga Bulldogs (20-5, 11-1)
- The Bulldogs have won three in a row since BYU came back and beat them in the Kennel on Feb. 5. Gonzaga plays St. Mary's on Thursday before heading to Provo.