Brenna Chase Drollinger picked a great time to break out of an early shooting slump.
BYU’s senior guard scored 21 points on 8 of 14 shooting, including 5 of 9 from the 3-point line, to lead the Cougars past Utah State 67-50 in front of 5,804 fans at the Marriott Center on Tuesday.
The attendance was bolstered by local elementary schools students and was the second-largest crowd to see a BYU women’s basketball game in Provo.
Drollinger came into the game just 9 of 34 (27 percent) from the field and 4 of 19 (21 percent) from the 3-point line, but found a lot of success against the Aggies defense.
BYU got off to a quick 11-2 lead on a Shalae Salmon basket, but USU’s Steph Gorman hit a jumper to close the gap to three, 16-13, at the end of the first quarter. Maria Albiero drilled a 3-pointer and Drollinger made a driving layup to push the Cougars advantage to a 25-15 lead at the 8:02 mark of the second quarter. The lead was 11, 32-21, after a Paisley Johnson basket and the Cougars went into the locker room with a 32-22 halftime advantage.
BYU shot 50 percent (12 of 24) from the field and Drollinger had 12 points on 5 of 9 shooting, but the Cougars coughed up 12 turnovers, which allowed Utah State (29 percent shooting) to stay in the game.
BYU struggled to keep up its hot shooting in the third quarter, making just 2 of 16 from the field against the Utah State zone. But the Cougars closed the quarter strong, getting a 3-point play from Babalu Ugwu and a 3-pointer from Drollinger to claim a 46-32 advantage going into the final period.
Johnson made a 3-pointer and Drollinger drained two more triples as the Cougars got out to a 20-point lead, 56-36, with 6:53 to play.
Johnson added 15 points for BYU and Salmon finished with her second straight double-double with 10 points and 11 rebounds. Sarah Hamson didn’t score by totaled 11 rebounds and six blocks. The Cougars finished with a season-high 20 turnovers.
Lindsey Jensen-Baker led Utah State with 14 points and Gorman added 13.
The Aggies (2-4) were playing without head coach Jerry Finkbeiner, who stepped down on Monday after eight years in Logan due to health issues. His son, assistant coach Ben Finkbeiner, will be the interim head coach the remainder of the season.
BYU (3-1) hosts rival Utah on Friday at 7 p.m. MT in the Marriott Center.