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BYU roundup: Cougar softball splits doubleheader

By Jared Lloyd And Darnell Dickson daily Herald - | Feb 25, 2021

On the first day of the Wildcat Invitational, the BYU softball team split its games taking a win against Seattle before being overpowered by No. 3 Arizona.

Game No. 1 vs. Seattle

In the top of the third frame, a single from HannahJo Peterson got the Cougars on base. Huntyr Ava was hit by a pitch before Epenesa doubled to bring both runners making the score 2-0.

A Jensen-McFarland single brought in Taylei Williams in the fifth to increase BYU’s lead to 3-0. BYU added one more in the top of the fifth as Kaylie Erickson hit a sacrifice fly to left field bringing home Emilee Erickson capping BYU’s score to 4-0.

Moffat-Korth finished the game striking out two batters in the bottom of the inning to bring her strikeout total to nine for the day as BYU secured the 4-0 win.

Game No 2 vs. No. 3 Arizona

Peterson gave the Cougars their first hit of the game in the first inning as she singled to right field. However, it was not enough as the Cougars surrendered multiple runs in the bottom of the inning.

In the bottom of the third inning, Carley Brown recorded her first strikeout of the game as the Wildcats went three up, three down. Brown maintained her composure through the end of the game, hold the Wildcats scoreless for the final four innings. However, BYU could not overcome Arizona’s early 12-0 lead and ultimately took the loss in the fifth due to the NCAA eight-run rule.

BYU returns to the Wildcat Classic on Friday, Feb. 26 to take on Oregon State at 12 p.m. at Hillenbrand field.

BYU women’s basketball rallies past Santa Clara

BYU women’s basketball overcame an 18-point third-quarter deficit to defeat Santa Clara 66-63 Thursday night at the Leavey Center.

“I have to give our girls a lot of credit,” BYU head coach Jeff Judkins said. “When we were down 14 at halftime, I told them we couldn’t come back with just one shot. We had to do a little bit at a time and inch our way back. We just had a great effort from everyone tonight.”

The Cougars (17-3, 13-2) outscored the Broncos (13-10, 9-8) 38-17 over the final 14 minutes of the contest to secure their eighth consecutive win. After falling behind 38-24 at the break, BYU shot at a blistering 67% clip from three and 55% from the floor in the second half while holding Santa Clara to just 29% shooting over the final 20 minutes.

Shaylee Gonzales led all scorers with 20 points on 8 of 18 shooting, including 3 of 7 from distance, while Lauren Gustin tallied her 13th double-double of the season with 14 points, 13 rebounds, three assists, two blocks and a pair of steals.

Paisley Johnson Harding also notched a double-double in the win, recording 12 points and a career-high 10 assists to go along with five rebounds. Tegan Graham contributed 11 points off the bench, going 3 of 4 from deep, while Sara Hamson posted six points, six rebounds and three blocks.

With BYU trailing 49-46 at the start of the fourth, a Smiler triple followed by a tough basket in the paint by Gustin tied the game at 51 one minute into the quarter. The Cougars continued to roll, as layups by Hamson, Gustin and Gonzales gave BYU a 59-54 advantage with 6:26 remaining. Neither team scored over the next three minutes until a driving layup by Harding put BYU up 61-54. The Broncos refused to go down without a fight, however, as five straight Santa Clara points tightened things up at 61-59 with 2:31 left.

Neither team gave up a basket until Gustin got a baby hook to fall in the post with 59 seconds to play, giving the Cougars a 63-59 lead. Harding hit a pair of free throws with 20 seconds left, but a Bronco triple cut BYU’s lead to 65-62 with 15 seconds remaining.

With eight seconds left, Harding committed a foul during a dead-ball situation, giving Santa Clara two free throws and the ball. Bronco guard Lindsey VanAllen made one of two foul shots to cut the Cougars’ lead to just two, 65-63. BYU’s defense then held strong as Hamson grabbed a rebound off a Santa Clara 3-point miss and was fouled. Hamson hit one of her two ensuing free throws to put the Cougars back up three with three seconds left. Graham then blocked a last-second Bronco 3-point attempt to seal the 66-63 BYU win.

Santa Clara utilized a stingy full-court defense early on that forced three quick BYU turnovers as the Broncos took a 12-0 lead to start the game. The Cougars fought back, as Harding hit a trey and Gonzales converted a four-point play to bring BYU within five, 17-12, at the end of the first quarter. Graham hit a pair of 3-pointers, but hot shooting by the Broncos from deep gave them a 32-20 advantage mid-way through the second quarter. Gonzales hit a midrange jumper and Gustin scored in the post, but Santa Clara took a 38-24 lead into the locker room.

The Broncos continued their hot shooting from three, as a pair of triples gave Santa Clara a 46-28 lead four minutes into the third quarter. BYU answered, however, with a pair of Gonzales 3-pointers and a Gustin layup to cut its deficit to 10 at 46-36. The Cougars continued to claw back, as a three-point play by Harding, a pair of layups by Gonzales and a Graham triple from the top of the key brought BYU within three, 49-46, heading into the fourth.

The Cougars outscored the Broncos 20-14 in the final quarter to secure their eighth consecutive win.

BYU is scheduled to close out the regular season on Saturday, Feb. 27, at San Francisco. The game will tip-off at 12 p.m. PST and a live stream will be available on the WCC Network.

BYU women’s soccer game rescheduled

The originally-scheduled Feb. 20 matchup between BYU women’s soccer and San Diego has been rescheduled to Wednesday, March 24 at 1 p.m. PDT in San Diego.

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