BYU women's basketball vs. Saint Mary's

BYU senior guard Paisley Harding (13) looks to make a play during the 80-63 Cougar win over Saint Mary's at the Marriott Center in Provo on Thursday, Jan. 14, 2020.

STOCKTON, Calif. — BYU women’s basketball jumped out to a 13-point first-quarter lead and never looked back in a 65-52 win over Pacific Thursday night at the Alex G. Spanos Center.

“I’m proud of our team,” BYU head coach Jeff Judkins said. “I thought we played a really good game defensively. We were very active and didn’t give up a lot of easy baskets. We also did a good job of moving the ball on offense and getting some easy fast-break baskets. It’s hard to get a win here, so I’m happy for our team.”

Shaylee Gonzales and Paisley Johnson Harding scored 14 points apiece to lead the Cougars (13-3, 9-2) to their fourth consecutive win. Gonzales added four assists and four rebounds while Harding tallied three boards and two assists.

Lauren Gustin notched her ninth double-double of the season, pulling down a game-high 13 rebounds to go along with 10 points. Maria Albiero contributed nine points, six rebounds and three assists, while Sara Hamson tallied six points, seven rebounds and three blocks.

As a team, BYU shot a 45.6% clip from the floor while holding the Tigers (6-10, 4-9) to just 24.6% shooting on the night.

Triples from Gonzales, Albiero and Graham fueled a 13-5 BYU run to start the game. Following a Gustin three-point play, Harding got a put-back lay-in to fall and Graham found Gonzales for a reverse layup as the Cougars took a 22-9 lead at the end of the first quarter.

Harding opened the second quarter with a midrange jumper and a scoop layup before Albiero hit a 3-pointer to put BYU up 20, 33-13, midway through the period. Gustin scored in the post, Tahlia White drained a 3-pointer and Graham hit a runner off the glass to give the Cougars a 42-20 halftime lead. BYU shot 53% from the floor in the first half while holding Pacific to just 22% shooting.

A pair of transition baskets by Harding and another by Albiero extended the Cougars’ lead to 52-25 just three minutes into the third quarter. Gonzales knocked down a trey from the left wing and Harding hit another in the corner to put BYU up 59-35 heading into the fourth.

The Tigers refused to go down without a fight, outscoring the Cougars 17-6 in the final period, but a Hamson jumper and an Albiero free throw sealed the 65-52 win for BYU.

The Cougars close out their California road trip on Saturday, Feb. 13, when they take on Saint Mary’s at noon PST at the University Credit Union Pavilion. The game will be streamed live on the WCC Network.

Softball loses twice to No. 16 Arizona State

TEMPE, Ariz. — Despite an early lead, BYU softball lost a heartbreaker to No. 16 Arizona State in a 7-5 walk-off in game two of a doubleheader to open up the Kajikawa Classic on Thursday, Feb. 11. The Cougars lost a 7-2 battle earlier in the first game of the doubleheader.

“We played like it was the first game of the year in game one,” BYU head coach Gordon Eakin said. “We made some mistakes you can’t make against a top-ranked team. In game two, we came back strong but we just couldn’t put the game away. ASU deserves credit for fighting back but the game was there for us to take.”

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

See what people are talking about at The Community Table!