No. 20 BYU topples Pepperdine, 104-53 for Judkins’ 450th win

BYU women's basketball celebrates Coach Jeff Judkins' 450th career win. (Photo Courtesy of BYU Photo)

By Nathan Farmer | @nlfarmer1

Behind double-doubles from Shaylee Gonzales and Lauren Gustin, the No. 20 BYU Cougars stormed past the Pepperdine Waves 104-53 Thursday at the Marriott Center to improve to 20-2 and 10-1 in WCC play.

Gonzales filled the stat sheet with 16 points, 13 assists, six rebounds, and four steals, while Gustin recorded her 12th double-double of the season with 16 points and 10 rebounds. Gonzales’ 13 assists were the seventh-most in BYU history. Paisley Harding continued her hot streak, stitches and all, with 22 points to lead all scorers. Tegan Graham found her stroke with 18 points and four made threes. As a team, the Cougars shot 63% from the field and 53% from three.

Tempo and ball movement were the stories of the night, with the Cougars turning 19 Waves turnovers into 37 fastbreak points, as well as assisting on 32 out of 40 made field goals.

“We got a lot of fastbreak layups,” said head coach Jeff Judkins. “Paisley runs out hard, and so does Shaylee, and so does Lauren. It just seemed like we made them miss and pushed the ball really hard tonight.”

The Cougars jumped out to an early 29-11 lead in the first quarter, kickstarted by that blazing transition offense. Harding had a pair of fastbreak buckets, one on a transition three off a Kaylee Smiler steal and another off of a steal of her own.

Pepperdine put together its best quarter of the night in the second, going bucket for bucket with BYU, as the Cougars outscored the Waves by just one. With time winding down in the half, Maria Albiero connected with Gonzales for the highlight of the night, a full-court pass that Gonzales caught and laid up all in one motion on the opposite end of the floor.

At halftime, Judkins lit a fire under his team by writing the number “22” on the whiteboard in the locker room signifying the 22 points the Cougars had allowed to the Waves in the 2nd quarter. That extra motivation led to a 33-6 quarter from the Cougars, including a 22-0 run, to extend the lead up to 83-46. BYU’s defense was at its best in the third quarter, with five steals as a team and three blocks from Sara Hamson.

Both squads emptied their benches in the fourth quarter, but the Cougars still pressed forward looking for their second 100-point game of the season. Arielle Mackey-Williams scored all eight of her points in the final quarter to help propel BYU to its highest scoring output of the season.

The victory marks Jeff Judkins’ 450th as the head coach of the BYU women’s basketball program, and the 104 points scored were the most-ever against a Division I opponent by a Judkins-coached team. BYU also extends its home winning streak to 28 games, the longest since winning 33 straight from 1978-1980.

“I knew I had 400-something, but I didn’t really know,” said Judkins on the milestone. “It’s a lot of games, but the first thing I think of is great players. I couldn’t have won those games without great players. I’ve been really lucky and blessed.”

The Cougars head back out on the road to Moraga, California to take on the Saint Mary’s Gaels on Saturday, Feb. 12. Saturday’s game is scheduled to tip-off at 2 p.m. MDT and can be streamed on the WCC Network. BYU will return for its final homestand next week with games against LMU and Gonzaga.

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