BYU falls to No. 18 Gonzaga on Senior Day
PROVO, Utah – BYU women’s basketball fell to the No. 18 Gonzaga Bulldogs 58-51 at the Marriott Center on Saturday afternoon on senior day.
"I am really proud of my women today," BYU head coach Amber Whiting said. "They battled and fought, shots just didn't fall. These are the games we can learn from but next time I know those shots will fall. I just have to keep their heads up and keep them in the moment of that nature.”
BYU (14-14, 9-8) held Gonzaga to just 58 points, a season low, and battled to a one-point game with 2:13 remaining but couldn't retake a late lead and fell to the West Coast Conference regular-season champions.
Sophomore forward Emma Calvert scored a career-high 17 points to lead the Cougars Calvert connected on her first six attempts from the floor for 15 first-half points to best her previous career high of 13. She also finished with seven rebounds, two assists, two steals and a block.
Forward Lauren Gustin, the nation's leading rebounder grabbed 13 boards while going 4-for-7 from the floor for eight points. Arielle Mackey-Williams also chipped in 11 points and four rebounds.
The Cougar defense held the No. 1 three-point shooting team in the country to 2-for-15 shooting from behind the arc on the day. BYU forced 11 Bulldog turnovers including six steals and a block in the seven-point defeat.
Gonzaga scored the first points of the game and quickly jumped out to an early 5-0 lead. Gustin scored the first bucket for BYU with a lay-in cutting its deficit to 5-2 with 5:14 left in the first. A three-pointer from Arielle Mackey-Williams tied the game at five with just over four minutes remaining in the quarter.
The Cougars and Bulldogs exchanged buckets as the game was tied at 12 at the conclusion of the first quarter.
BYU took its first lead of the game with 7:50 to go in the second on a three-pointer from Calvert, which gave BYU a 17-16 advantage. Later BYU extended its lead to 29-22 following a three from Nani Falatea and two made free throws by Mackey-Williams.
A 7-0 run for the Cougars helped propel BYU to a 31-22 lead with just over a minute remaining in the half.
BYU finished the first half shooting 48 percent from the field, going 11-of-23, and 40 percent from the three-point line. Finishing the first half with 15 points, Calvert led all scorers. The Cougars went into the locker room leading the Zags 31-27.
BYU started the second half with a layup made by Mackey-Williams, extending its lead to 33-27. But a 5-0 run by Gonzaga helped cut their deficit to 33-32 with just under seven minutes remaining in the quarter.
The Zags took their first lead of the second half as they led 34-33, but the Cougars retook the lead with a made jumper by Mackey-Williams to lead 35-34.
A 4-0 run from Gonzaga gave them a 38-35 lead going into the fourth quarter.
Gustin scored the first points of the final quarter with a layup assisted by Calvert and later BYU took a 41-40 lead following another lay-in by Gustin with under eight minutes remaining in the game.
Back-and-forth scores from BYU and Gonzaga knotted the score at 45 before Gonzaga took a two-point lead 47-45 with just under three minutes remaining.
Following back-to-back layups from Gustin and Mackey-Williams, BYU cut the deficit to 50-49, but following two made free throws from the Zags, the Cougars trailed by three with just over a minute remaining and couldn't cut it any closer down the stretch.
Up next, BYU takes on Portland in the Marriott Center on Monday, Feb. 27 at 4 pm MT. The game will be streamed on the BYUtv App and BYUtv.org.
Cougars finish WCC play with Portland and Gonzaga at home
PROVO, Utah – BYU women's basketball returns to the Marriott Center as the Cougars host Portland on Thursday and Gonzaga on Saturday. BYU will conclude the 2022-23 regular season as it takes on the top two teams in the WCC, Thursday at 7 p.m. MT and at 2 p.m. MT on Saturday with both games broadcast live on BYUtv, BYUtv.org and the BYUtv App.
BYU (14-13, 9-7) vs. Portland (20-7, 14-2)
Thursday, Feb. 23
7 p.m. MT
BYU (14-13, 9-7) vs. Gonzaga (25-3, 15-1)
Saturday, Feb. 25
2 p.m. MT
Follow on Twitter: @byuwbb
PORTLAND (FEB 23): Portland will visit the Marriott Center having won eight of its last ten contests, the two losses coming at the hands of the first place Zags. Three double-figure scorers lead the Pilots in Alex Fowler (18.0), Haylee Andrews (12.4) and Maisie Burnham (10.9) as they average 70.3 points per game on 46.5 percent shooting. In the previous meeting, Portland took home a 67-45 win in which the Pilots held Falatea and Gustin to a combined 13 points.
GONZAGA (FEB 25): The Bulldogs have won 18 of their last 19 games and come into the second meeting with the Cougars boasting a 15-1 conference record. Gonzaga is led by five players who average over 9.4 points per game: Yvonne Ejim (16.5), Kaylynne Truong (16.5), Brynna Maxwell (14.1), Eliza Hollingsworth (9.4), Kayleigh Truong. The conference leaders are shooting 45.3 percent from the field as a team, assisting on 56 percent of made field goals while holding opponents to 39.3 percent shooting.
SENIOR DAY: The Cougars will honor two players prior to the Gonzaga game on Saturday finishing their careers with the program. Gabriela Bosquez, a graduate transfer from Arizona State and Devry Millett, a veteran from Folsom, California, who has been with the Cougars for four years.
LAST GAME: The Cougars are coming off a 72-59 loss to San Francisco on the hilltop last Saturday. The Dons held BYU to just 37.7 percent shooting, 27.6 percent from behind the arc and limited the WCC Player of the Week, Lauren Gustin to six shot attempts. Nani Falatea and Arielle Mackey-Williams combined for 26 points to lead the Cougars.
CONFERENCE PLAY: BYU is 9-7 in league play and currently in fourth place, behind Gonzaga (15-1), Portland (14-2) and San Diego (10-6). The Cougars currently are one game clear of San Francisco (8-8). BYU is still in play for as high a three seed in the WCC Tournament and can do no worse than a No. 5 seed.
SCORING DUO: BYU has two players averaging double-figure scoring, Nani Falatea and Lauren Gustin. Gustin's 16.6 points per game ranks fourth in the conference with Falatea's 15.1 points being good for seventh in the league. Gustin has scored over 20 points in 10 games this season while Falatea has topped 20 points in five games.
NATION’S BEST: Forward Lauren Gustin was named one of 10 final candidates for the 2023 Katrina McClain Award, her second-consecutive year with that honor. She leads the nation with with 16.3 rebounds per game and 440 total rebounds. She is second in the country with 24 double-doubles in 27 games. The junior from Salem, Utah has posted 20 or more rebounds seven times this year to lead the country. Gustin was also named to the Naismith College Women’s Defensive Player of the Year Award watch list.
MILESTONES: With her first rebound against San Francisco on Saturday, the WCC Player of the Year candidate set the single-season WCC record for total rebounds with 428, passing the 427 set by Danielle Mauldin of Saint Mary’s in 2014. Gustin finished the game with 13 rebounds and is currently at 440 with two games to play in the regular season. She also joined the 1,000-points and 1,000-rebound club for her career, joining only former All-American Tina Gunn Robison on the list that has accomplished both at BYU.