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BYU women’s basketball’s hot start results in blowout win over Saint Mary’s

By Jared Lloyd - | Jan 13, 2022
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BYU senior guard Paisley Harding goes up for a shot during the WCC game against Saint Mary's at the Marriott Center in Provo on Thursday, Jan. 13, 2022. (Jaren Wilkey, BYU Photo)
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BYU sophomore forward Lauren Gustin goes up for a shot during the WCC game against Saint Mary's at the Marriott Center in Provo on Thursday, Jan. 13, 2022. (Jaren Wilkey, BYU Photo)
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BYU senior center Sara Hamson celebrates making a tip-in during the WCC game against Saint Mary's at the Marriott Center in Provo on Thursday, Jan. 13, 2022. (Jaren Wilkey, BYU Photo)
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BYU sophomore guard Shaylee Gonzales drives to the basket during the WCC game against Saint Mary's at the Marriott Center in Provo on Thursday, Jan. 13, 2022. (Jaren Wilkey, BYU Photo)
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BYU players prepare to take the floor before the WCC game against Saint Mary's at the Marriott Center in Provo on Thursday, Jan. 13, 2022. (Jaren Wilkey, BYU Photo)

It’s not completely unheard of for a basketball team to score five or six times as many points as their opponent in the early going. Leads of 12-2 or even 20-4 may not be common but they happen.

It’s much more rare for a squad to be up by nearly six times as many points with under two minutes left in the first half.

That’s what the No. 18-ranked BYU women’s basketball team did to visiting Saint Mary’s in Thursday night’s WCC contest at the Marriott Center, dominating at both ends of the court to the tune of a 41-7 Cougar lead late in the second quarter.

The Gaels showed some heart after the break and made some nice plays but BYU was still able to cruise to the 78-36 win.

The Cougars set the tone in the first few possessions of the game.

On offense, BYU scored three quick field goals while on defense the Cougars forced three straight turnovers and an airball.

Saint Mary’s senior guard Taycee Wedin hit a 3-pointer to get the Gaels on the board, but that would be as close as the visitors would get.

It wasn’t that BYU’s offense was flawless in the first 20 minutes of action, making just 17-of-44 shots from the field (it had assists on 12 of those makes), 3-of-17 from beyond the arc and 4-of-8 from the free throw line.

But the Cougar defense was nearly impenetrable, forcing 14 turnovers and outrebounding Saint Mary’s by 22 boards (36-14). BYU senior center Sara Hamson only played 15 minutes but had four blocks and altered a lot of other shots as the Cougars refused to give up many easy looks.

It can be a challenge for a team to continue to have the same intensity after building such a big lead.

The Gaels certainly ramped up their play and started scoring more consistently, getting a 10-0 run early in the third quarter to build some momentum.

But BYU never lost control, maintain a comfortable lead throughout the remainder of the game.

The Cougars got contributions from a lot of players as 12 players got in the game and 10 players scored, led by a double-double from sophomore forward Lauren Gustin (15 points, 12 rebounds).

BYU also got 18 points from senior guard Paisley Harding, 13 points from sophomore guard Shaylee Gonzales and 11 points and seven assists from graduate forward Tegan Graham.

The leading scorer for Saint Mary’s was sophomore forward Ali Bamberger, who finished with 14 points.

With the win, the Cougars improved to 13-1 overall and 3-0 in West Coast Conference play, maintaining their unbeaten streak at home (8-0 on the year).

BYU next plays at Loyola Marymount on Saturday. That game is scheduled to tip off at 3 p.m. MT and can be seen on the WCC Network.

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