BYU women's basketball vs. Loyola Marymount

BYU's Paisley Harding drives to the basket in a women's college basketball game against Loyola Marymount at the Marriott Center in Provo on Saturday, Feb. 6, 2021.

SANTA CLARA, Calif. — 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.

BYU, which will likely be the No. 2 seed in the WCC Tournament, closes out the regular season at San Francisco on Saturday at 1 p.m. MT.

Men’s volleyball part of NCAA record but swept by Grand Canyon

PHOENIX — An NCAA record-breaking match between No. 1 BYU and No. 9 GCU ended in a Grand Canyon sweep (22-25, 43-45, 25-10) at the GCU Arena on Thursday.

BYU and Grand Canyon are now on record for the longest set played in NCAA history. Set 2 between the Cougars and the ‘Lopes ended in a 45-43 Grand Canyon win.

Gabi Garcia Fernandez led BYU with 15 kills, a .229 hitting percentage and two service aces.

Grand Canyon ultimately ran away with the lead in Set 1 after a 17-17 tie to win 25-22. BYU had 13 kills on a .310 clip as a team. Serves and blocks were in GCU’s favor with two aces and three blocks.

Set 2 started with a shakeup in the BYU lineup with Teilon-Jonathan Tufuga stepping in for Zach Eschenberg. The set began 5-0, with GCU taking a strong lead. at 24-22, one more point by GCU would have ended the set, but a ‘Lopes attack error led to a kill by Wil Stanley and a Davide Gardini ace to tie it at 24s. Service aces and errors would be the story of this historic set with a combined 22 service errors and six aces between the two teams. Each team had many, many opportunities to end the set but an attack error by Gardini and a blocking error by Garcia Fernandez allowed the ‘Lopes to seal the win.

The third set started, as the set before, with both teams fighting for the lead. After a 3-3 tie, GCU quickly took off with the lead. In the third set alone the ‘Lopes dished out four aces, five blocks, and seven kills to stifle the Cougars, holding BYU to only 10 points.

The Cougars, now 5-2, will face Grand Canyon for the fourth time in a row Saturday at noon in GCU Arena. The match will be broadcast on GCUTV.

Baseball drops second contest to Texas

AUSTIN, Texas — BYU baseball fell to No. 19 Texas, 12-6, in game two of its four-game series at UFCU Disch-Falk Field on Thursday.

After a pitching duel in game one on Wednesday, the Longhorn bats came alive in game two as Texas collected 15 hits over eight innings on Thursday. The first three batters in the Texas lineup did most of the damage collecting two hits each, while combining for six runs and six RBIs.

BYU got off to a hot start in its first at bat, scoring four runs off three walks, a sacrifice fly by junior Cole Gambill and a three-run home-run by junior Jacob Wilk. Texas answered with two runs of its own in the top half of the first and added four more in the second inning to take a 6-4 lead through two.

Texas and BYU each tacked on a run in the third and the Longhorns plated another in the fourth to increase its lead to 8-5.

Scoreless innings in the fifth and sixth by freshman right-hander Luke Sterner kept BYU in the ball game until the top of the seventh when the Longhorn bats exploded for five runs to take a commanding lead 12-5. The Cougars scratched out another run in the top of the ninth on back-to-back singles by sophomores Brock Watkins and Andrew Pintar to bring the final score to 12-6.

The Cougars are back in action at UFCU Disch-Falk Field on Friday, Feb. 26, at 6:30 p.m. CST, for game three of its series with the Longhorns. The game will be broadcast live on the ESPN Longhorn Network, as well as the BYU Sports Network on BYU Radio FM 107.7, BYUCougars.com and the BYU Cougars app.

Softball earns split

TUCSON, Ariz. – On the first day of the Wildcat Invitational, the BYU softball team split its games taking a 4-0 win against Seattle before being overpowered by No. 3 Arizona 12-0.

Autumn Moffat-Korth got the win against Seattle, tiying her career-high with nine strikeouts for the third game in a row while also throwing a complete game and tallying her second shutout of the season. Rylee Jensen-McFarland was 3-for-4 with an RBI and two stolen bases.

The second game was shortened to five innings due to the 10-run rule.

BYU returns to the Wildcat Classic on Friday, Feb. 26 to take on Oregon State

Follow Darnell Dickson on Twitter @darnellwrites or e-mail him at ddickson@heraldextra.com.

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