Four Cougars scored in doubles digits in their season opener as BYU topped UC Riverside, 72-70, in overtime Friday in the Marriott Center.
“I thought Riverside played really well tonight,” BYU head coach Jeff Judkins said. “They shot the lights out, and they usually don’t shoot like that. We did a good job hanging in there, and I’m really proud of my team tonight. They got down when they could have made some bad mistakes, but they stepped it up. Each kid did something in a positive way for us to win that game, and for us, that’s big because it didn’t happen a lot last year.”
Brenna Chase and Paisley Johnson led BYU (1-0) with 18 points each. Johnson had a double-double as she pulled down a game-high 12 rebounds. Chase dished out seven assists for game highs as well. Freshman Shaylee Gonzales and sophomore Maria Albiero also scored in double digits with 16 and 10, respectively.
UC Riverside (0-2) held a two-point advantage in the final minutes of the fourth quarter. With the clock winding down, Johnson drove to the basket for a layup tying the game at 66-66 sending the game into overtime.
Two free throws from the Highlanders gave them a two-point lead as the overtime period began. Chase quickly responded with a jumper in the paint to tie the score at 70-70. On defense, Jasmine Moody snagged the rebound to prevent UC Riverside (UCR) from scoring on its next possession. Gonzales made two free throws to give the two-point 72-70 lead to BYU with 2:06 left in the overtime period. The Cougars held UCR scoreless for the remainder of the game to clinch the home win.
UCR made the first shot of the game, but the Highlanders quickly fouled Albiero in the paint, giving her two shots to even the game. Johnson drove under the basket and brought the lead back for BYU, 4-3.
The Highlanders went on a 7-0 run to take a 10-6 lead before Moody ended the run on a jumper in the paint. Later, Chase weaved between the defenders to drive to the basket and give BYU two points. She followed it up with two more layups for the Cougars, bringing the score within three at 17-14.
In the second quarter, Chase was fouled under the basket and made both free throws, which brought the score within three, 21-18. Johnson made the first trey of the game, tying the game at 21-21. She then brought the ball down the court and dished it out to Chase, who drained the second three for BYU and gave the Cougars their first lead of the game, 24-21.
BYU finished the half with back-to-back threes from Gonzales and Johnson to take a narrow four-point, 37-33 lead heading into the break.Comment on this story
In the third quarter, the Highlanders went on a 7-0 run to tie the game at 45-45. Gonzales drove the ball into the basket for a two-point, 47-45 Cougar lead. BYU maintained its lead until UCR made a trey as time expired in the third period and a 52-50 advantage for the visiting Highlanders.
Gonzales made the first shot of the fourth quarter with a three. Both teams battled back and forth with neither team taking more than a two-point edge. Chase tied up the score at 59-59 from a breakaway off her own steal. On the final two possessions of the fourth period, Johnson made two critical baskets that sent the game into overtime.
BYU stays home to face Pac-12 foe California on Tuesday, Nov. 13, at 4 p.m. MDT, in the Marriott Center. The game will have a live video stream on TheW.tv.