Cougars take down Toreros behind Gustin's career night
PROVO, Utah — BYU forward Lauren Gustin had 21 points and 24 rebounds to tie a 45-year-old Marriott Center record and help BYU women’s basketball take down San Diego 63-49 on Saturday.
“I expect greatness out of her," BYU head coach Amber Whiting said. "Lauren is getting really good at feeling where the defense is to either catch and go up or step through. At halftime we had a conversation about finishing and she was able to come away with 21 points.”
Gustin led the Cougars (8-8, 3-2) in points, made field goals and rebounds in the win over the Toreros (8-8, 2-3). The junior forward finished with 21 points on 9-of-18 shooting, 24 rebounds, eight coming on the offensive glass, an assist and a steal.
Her 24 rebounds bested the Toreros team total of 23 and matched the Marriott Center record for rebounds in a game set by Tina Gunn Robison against Wyoming on February 11, 1978. Her eight offensive and 16 defensive boards matched her previous career highs. It was her second 20-20 game of the season and third of her career.
“Rebounding is just about effort," Gustin said. "You have to go in every single time the ball goes up, looking to catch it no matter what. We know what it takes now to win and we are doing a lot better at executing to the end of the game.”
BYU shot 48.2 percent from the field on the night marking the third-straight game in which the Cougars have shot better than their season average (45.3%). The balanced BYU offense knocked down five of their 10 attempts from downtown while scoring 32 of its 63 points in the paint.
“This was a really good character-building game for us," Whiting said." We really had to come together and get things done. It was hard for us at the start of the season to close out games, but today we were able to come together and close it out.”
Nani Falatea went 6-for-15 on the day for 16 points while leading BYU with five assists. The sophomore also grabbed five rebounds, two on the offensive end and a steal in the 14-point win.
With the Toreros leading 4-2, the Cougars went on a 7-0 run to take a 9-4 lead with 4:51 left in the first quarter. Kaylee Smiler began the run with a perfect trip to the line followed by an Arielle Mackey-Williams jumper from the left junction. Falatea capped the seven-point run with a catch-and-shoot three from the left corner.
After a San Diego bucket, BYU scored nine of the next 11 points to finish the period. Falatea hit two threes during the 11-1 run with Rose Bubakar hitting a pair of jumpers to give the Cougars an 18-7 lead going into the second.
Mackey-Williams scored the first three points of the quarter for the Cougars to extend the lead to 21-9 with 8:46 to play in the period. The Toreros scored consecutive buckets with 6:04 left in the half to cut the lead to seven.
A layup from Gustin, two free throws from Mackey-Williams and a Bubakar score pushed the lead to 10 with 2:33 to play. BYU took a 32-21 lead into the half.
Gustin opened the scoring in third quarter for the Cougars with an up-and-under score followed by a kick-out three for Smiler to extend the lead to a game-high 14 with 8:21 to play in the quarter.
With 6:11 left, Bubakar found Gustin on a high-low action for a left-handed layup for her 11th point of the night, notching her 15th double-double in 16 games this season.
After the Gustin make, San Diego went on a 6-2 run of their own to draw within 10 with 4:11 to play in the period but back-to-back scores by Gustin inside retook a 14-point lead for the Cougars.
The Toreros scored the first four points of the final quarter to cut the lead to eight with 8:33 left to play before an and-one for Falatea bumped the Cougar lead back to double-digits.
San Diego again threatened but another driving layup from Falatea and a block by Smiler on the defensive end allowed BYU to stretch the lead to 13 with under four minutes left.
The Cougars will return to the court on Thursday, January 12 to take on the LMU Lions at Gersten Pavilion. The game will tip at 7 p.m. PST and will be streamed on WCC Network.
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