A career game from sophomore Maria Albiero helped BYU women's basketball beat Portland, 79-71, on Saturday afternoon at the Marriott Center.
“Portland played a heck of a game tonight,” BYU head coach Jeff Judkins said. “It wasn’t the best night for some of our players, but they made plays when they needed to make them. It’s tough coming off a physical and emotional game against Gonzaga and then playing less than 48 hours later. I think we’re playing some of our best basketball right now.”
The Cougars went on a 16-3 run in the final minutes of the game to increase their win streak to 10 games and stay undefeated in West Coast Conference action.
Albiero led the team with 16 points while grabbing two rebounds and one steal. Paisley Johnson contributed 15 points, three assists, three steals and two rebounds. Brenna Chase recorded 13 points, three assists, three rebounds and two steals, while Shaylee Gonzales recorded a double-double with 11 points and 10 assists.
The game opened with both teams hitting a shot from beyond the arc. However, Portland went on to jump ahead to a 20-8 lead with less than three minutes remaining in the first quarter. Albiero came off the bench, scoring back-to-back buckets as the Pilots ended the first quarter on top, 27-15.
Johnson started the second quarter with a pair of free throws, but Portland answered with a 6-0 run, the only run for the Pilots in the quarter, as the Cougars started to find a rhythm. With 1:36 remaining in the first half, BYU went on a 7-0 run with buckets from Babalu Ugwu and Caitlyn Alldredge to bring the Cougars within seven, 44-37.
Portland started the second half with a free throw before Ugwu kicked off a 6-0 run for BYU to bring the game within two, 45-43.
Despite the Pilots extending their lead back to double digits, Albiero knocked down a jumper and ended the third quarter with a four-point conversion after draining a trey with two seconds on the clock. The Cougars went into the final quarter down 55-61.
Johnson hit a 3-pointer from beyond the arc to make the score 64-58 for Portland with eight minutes remaining in the game for the first BYU basket of the final quarter.
With 4:37 left on the clock, Albiero hit another trey and Chase followed with one of her own to cut the deficit down to two points, 68-66. Chase came out of the timeout and forced a steal for a layup to even the game at 68-all.1 comment on this story
A pair of points from the charity stripe by Gonzales gave the Cougars their first lead of the game, 70-68, with three minutes to go. Three players finished the game off at the free-throw line as BYU secured the comeback win.
On the game, BYU shot 40.3 percent from the field, 30.8 percent from the three and 75 percent from the free-throw line. The Pilots recorded 39.7 percent from the field, 27.6 percent from beyond the arc and 81 percent from the charity stripe.
The Cougars continue WCC action at San Diego on Saturday, Jan. 26. Tipoff is scheduled for 2 p.m. PST, and will be broadcast live on TheW.tv.