PROVO, Utah — BYU women’s basketball overcame a double-digit deficit to hold off No. 13 Gonzaga, 70-68 Thursday at the Marriott Center and become the only remaining undefeated team in West Coast Conference play.
“As a coach, these are the nights that you really pray for and that you work hard for," BYU head coach Jeff Judkins said. "This is what makes it all worth it. This opportunity to see them happy makes all the hours watching film and breaking things down worth it. This is what this team has been about all year. Nobody cares who gets the glory, they just want to win.”
Shaylee Gonzales shot 50 percent from the field on her way to scoring a game-high 17 points while also grabbing five rebounds. Brenna Chase contributed 14 points to go along with four assists and three steals. Paisley Johnson supplied 13 points and Sara Hamson scored six points while pulling down six rebounds and blocking four shots.
BYU (15-3, 7-0 WCC) came back from trailing by 12 points in the first period to hold a 67-64 lead over Gonzaga (16-2, 5-1 WCC) with 2:37 left in the game. Hamson recorded her fourth block to help maintain the three-point lead for the Cougars down the stretch. Johnson drew a foul and scored two free throws to put BYU up 69-66 with one minute remaining. The Bulldogs scored a jumper to bring the score within one point before putting Gonzales at the free throw line with 13 seconds left on the clock. Gonzales went one of two from the line giving BYU the two-point lead 70-68. Gonzaga missed a 3-point attempt and a second-chance layup as time expired to clinch the 70-68 win for the Cougars.
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Gonzales scored a driving layup and Shalae Salmon added a free throw to give BYU a 3-2 lead to start the game. The Bulldogs used a 14-2 run to take an 11-point lead over the Cougars 16-5. Johnson made two free throws and Jasmine Moody scored in the post off a lob to bring the score to 16-9 with a minute left in the period. Gonzaga answered with a 3-point jumper to lead 19-9 to end the quarter.
The Bulldogs took a brief double-digit lead before Chase knocked down a shot from behind the arc to bring the score to 21-12. Johnson capitalized off of a pair of defensive stops, scoring two baskets to cut the lead to 26-19 midway through the second period. The Cougars continued their run with a fast-break layup from Chase and made 3-pointers from Maria Albiero and Gonzales bringing the game within one possession, 30-27. Hamson put back an offensive rebound and Albiero hit her second 3-pointer of the quarter to put BYU within two points with under a minute left in the half. Johnson drew a foul on a 3-point shot with one second on the clock and made two of the free throws to tie the game at 34-all at the half.
Chase started the second half with a steal and a fast-break layup to give BYU its first lead since the start of the game. The two teams traded baskets with Gonzales scoring two straight layups to keep the lead 40-38. Hamson pulled down another offensive rebound and put it up for a score to give the Cougars a three-point lead 46-43. Gonzales added a pair of free throws and Hamson made another layup to extend the lead 50-46. Gonzaga ended the third period with a six-point run to take a 52-50 lead.
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The Cougars tied the game up 54-all off of a layup from Chase on a fast break and a driving layup from Moody to start the final period. Gonzales knocked down a 3-point shot from downtown to reclaim the lead for BYU 61-60. Chase scored on back-to-back possessions to push the Cougars’ lead to 65-62 halfway through the final period before BYU outlasted Gonzaga to win 70-68.
The Cougars remain at home to host Portland at the Marriott Center on Saturday, Jan. 19, at 2 p.m. MDT. The game will be broadcast on BYUtv with live stats available on the BYU women’s basketball schedule page.