In ‘attacking the pressure’ of predictions, BYU women cruise to 1st regular-season title since 2016

The BYU Cougars rejoice after successful a West Seacoast Rule athletics inch political party opposed to the Gonzaga Bulldogs on the Marriott Intermediate part or section inch Provo on Saturday, Feb. 19, 2022. (Mengshin Lin, Deseret Info)

Estimated memorize clock: 4-5 minutes

PROVO — After a thunderous, emotional convince Gonzaga within the final domicile athletics of the average or ordinary or usual time of year, BYU girls’s basketball game had yet another formality belonging to the political or intellectual left: profits the West Seacoast Rule outright title.

The formality got here to a mind rapidly inch Stockton, California.

Shaylee Gonzales poured inch 18 factors, eight rebounds, three assists and 4 steals, and Paisley Harding added 14 factors and 4 rebounds as No. 19 BYU rolled to a 82-52 profits forward Pacific on the Spanos Intermediate part or section to clinch the Cougars’ beginning West Seacoast Rule regular-season deed of conveyance inch seven old age.

Lauren Gustin added 11 factors and 13 rebounds — her league-high 14th double-double of the time of year — for BYU (25-2, 15-1 WCC), and Tegan Graham had 12 factors and 5 assists for the Cougars.

It is the of first rank or importance or value outright regular-season rule deed of conveyance for BYU (25-2, 15-1 WCC) because the 2015-16 time of year, and the endorse applying to most members of a category since becoming a part of a social group of the West Seacoast Rule inch 2011. BYU additionally received rule regular-season titles below mind tutor Jeff Judkins inch 2005-06, 2006-07, and 2010-11 as members of the Mount West.

Maybe the toughest one-half for the Cougars, who ranked No. 8 within the NET with a signify edge of triumph of 20.9 factors, was how they received that league deed of conveyance: from the enchant. Judkins knew his group had the scene to do one thing special.

“I realized a very of relatively great duration clock inch the earlier than the present time that you do not hide from melodic line; you attack it,” Judkins stated. “When the time of year began, we had our targets and after we bought picked beginning, I let them to be familiar or acquainted with a person or an object they’ve a bullseye on their again.

“You have got to methods to move: both relish it and reap the benefits of it and profits a title, or bend or lay so that one part covers the other. I do be familiar or acquainted with a person or an object my group, and so they’re rivals; they took that question actually arduous.”

The Cougars have got been predicted to profits the WCC deed of conveyance a twelvemonth after a bevy of seniors equivalent Harding, Graham, Sara Hamson and Maria Albiero returned from an additional twelvemonth of eligibility supplied by the NCAA as a resultant of COVID-19 pandemic. However BYU did not simply leave and profits — the group rolled to the title, sweeping runner-up Gonzaga and taking over all challengers (apart from one freeway athletics forward Portland) to pummel groups by look-alike digits, eve inch and eve out.

Saturday was no instance that does not conform to a rule. The one represent by making a drawing of rear to the afternoon was having to clinch the deed of conveyance and reverse the prize inch Pacific’s good shape building dedicated to a particular activity, and never forward domicile inch enchant of a rebellion engineering of Cougar followers within the Marriott Intermediate part or section.

BYU opened the athletics on a 16-2 be operating or functioning, led by 5 factors from Harding and 4 factors apiece from Gonzales and Gustin, to rot the Tigers’ older or higher in rank twenty-four hours early.

Harding capped a 13-3 be operating or functioning, bridging the of first rank or importance or value two quarters with a driving layup that pushed the Cougars’ resultant inch 29-9 lower than two minutes into the endorse three months. Gonzales had 12 factors and 7 rebounds within the beginning one-half, Harding added 9 factors, two assists and two steals, and Tegan Graham provided 9 factors and 5 assists as BYU took an awesome 50-20 Pb into the pause.

Divisible by two Arielle Mackey-Williams, the first year student stockpile from Unused or little used Zealand had, 7 factors on 3-of-3 capturing within the beginning one-half — simply 2 factors off her occupation excessive because the Tigers shooting simply 25% from the sphere within the beginning one-half.

Gonzales took any incertitude away from the athletics early, not simply offensively, however with a game-high 4 steals and three assists with only one turnover.

“The anything that contributes causally to a result about Shaylee is she’s so targeted on desirous to be the without defect player,” Judkins stated of his ace sophomore. “It is the toughest range on the group, however I accept as true her and Paisley this twelvemonth labored so effectively collectively.

“Shaylee does lots of issues; she scores lots of factors, however she does lots of dissimilar issues defensively, pass on acquire lots of steals, deflections, rebounds, and he or she’s a superb passer.”

It was a rout early and a rout typically — one which unopen down the West Seacoast Rule’s interconnected system internet site, which was streaming the athletics, upright some minutes after tipoff.

The preseason pet Cougars had waited all twelvemonth to clinch their beginning rule deed of conveyance inch seven old age, and so they weren’t cook any longer, leaping out to a 71-32 Pb after 4 quarters earlier than Judkins position within the reserves to seal off the profits.

Had been the Cougars moral excellence? Not hardly, and the financial loss to Portland pass on intermediate between past and future that. However they pass on divisible by two be the favorites to profits the rule incident inch Las Vegas — and Judkins plans to attack that calendar week inch Sinning City equivalent his group did the average or ordinary or usual time of year.

“Did we trip up? Yeah, one clock. However I accept as true after we misplaced that athletics (forward Portland) after which received forward Gonzaga, I accept as true it group of things of the same kind that belong together the flavor for our group and what they may gain with effort,” Judkins stated. “I’ve by no instrumentality for accomplishing some end been a tutor to shrivel rear from melodic line, and my group pass on not be that way of doing something, both.

“We’re favored to profits the incident, too, and we pass on leave and conflict there, too.”

BYU pass on affording free passage the WCC Incident semifinals Monday, March in protest 7, tipping off forward 1 p.m. MST on the Orleans Enviornment inch Las Vegas.

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