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Cummard subs for Judkins, BYU women roll

By Darnell Dickson - | Nov 23, 2021

BYU women's basketball assistant coach Lee Cummard (right) talks to Tegan Graham during a pause in the action in a game against Utah State in the Marriott Center on Tuesday, Nov. 23, 2021. (BYU Courtesy Photo)

Due to a delayed COVID test result, BYU women’s basketball coach Jeff Judkins wasn’t on the bench for his team’s game against Utah State on Tuesday in the Marriott Center.

He missed a pretty good first quarter.

Former BYU men’s basketball great Lee Cummard, Judkins’ lead assistant, made his head coaching debut look easy as the Cougars exploded for 36 first-quarter points and led by as many as 31 in the first half of a 101-74 rout of the Aggies.

The 36-point outburst is a program record. Women’s college basketball started playing 10-minute quarters instead of 20-minute halves for the 2015-16 season. That campaign, BYU scored 34 points in one quarter against Santa Clara in the West Coast Conference Tournament.

Later on Tuesday, BYU announced that Judkins had tested positive for COVID-19 and would not accompany the team to Florida for their three-game tournament later this week, meaning Cummard’s stint as interim head coach would be extended.

BYU held Utah State scoreless for the first four minutes of the game and led 11-0 before the Aggies got on the board. It was 24-8 when Shaylee Gonzales dropped in a 3-pointer and a stunningly quick 9-0 run, including four points from Gonzales and a triple from freshman Nani Falatea, gave the home team a 33-9 advantage with under a minute to play in the quarter. A 3-pointer from Paisley Harding pushed the BYU advantage to 36-11 at the end of the first ten minutes.

“The ball was just moving moving offensively,” Cummard said. “With that first unit you’ve got to guard everybody or else they’ll make you pay and they did today. Not a whole lot of minutes for them but they were highly effective in their playing time.”

The numbers were overwhelmingly in the Cougars favor: BYU shot 68.4 percent from the field (13 of 19), outscored the Aggies 18-4 in the paint and 9-0 in fast break points. Gonzales tallied 13 points in the first quarter along with four rebounds and two assists.

Utah State found its offensive groove in the second quarter to keep pace with the Cougars but a 10-0 BYU run, with 3-pointers by Tegan Graham and Harding as well as four points from Lauren Gustin, gave the home team a 54-22 lead with 2:08 to play in the half. The Cougars took a 56-31 advantage at the break.

The 56 points was tied for third on the all-time BYU scoring list for one half of play. Gonzales and Harding finished with 15 first half points each for BYU with Gustin (12) and Graham (11) also hitting double figures.

The beating continued in the third quarter. The Cougars outscored the Aggies 12-3 in the first four minutes, including a slick 3-point play from Gonzales for a 68-34 advantage.

BYU led by as many as 35 points in the second half and broke the 100-point mark when freshman Rose Bubakar hit a 3-pointer with 40 seconds left in the game.

Gonzales sat most of the second half but still the BYU with 24 points on 8 of 12 from the field, seven rebounds and six assists. Gustin scored 18, Harding finished with 15 and Graham had 14. Freshman Emma Calvert broke into double digits for the first time in her career with 10 points.

The Cougars finished with 29 assists on 36 made baskets outscored the Aggies 50-18 in the paint.

Emmie Harris led Utah State (2-3) with 17 points.

Cummard said he found out Monday night that he would likely be taking over the team in Judkins’ absence. On Tuesday morning, Cummard sent a text to former BYU men’s coaching legend Dave Rose inviting him to watch the game on television. Rose, who coached Cummard in college and brought him on as an assistant to the men’s team, attended the game at the Marriott Center with his wife Cheryl and some grandkids.

“I owe that guy a lot and I’m glad he was here to experience this with me,” Cummard said. “It means a lot that he showed up here.”

The Cougars (5-0) head to Florida for the St. Pete Showcase, opening the tournament on Thanksgiving Day against No. 17 Florida State.

“It’s a national stage and it’s a huge opportunity,” Cummard said. “It’s a couple of more P5 opportunities for us and we’ve got a stretch of five straight against P5 teams, so it’s a good test for us. It’ll give us a chance to see where we’re all and what we need to improve on. Hopefully we go out there and play with confidence and have some success.”

BYU’s Lauren Gustin (in blue) battles for a rebound with a pair of Utah State defenders during a game at the Marriott Center on Tuesday, Nov. 23, 2021. (BYU Courtesy Photo)

BYU’s Shaylee Gonzales (2) drives to the basket against Utah State at the Marriott Center on Tuesday, Nov. 23, 2021. (BYU Courtesy Photo)

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