LAS VEGAS — The No. 5-seeded BYU girls’s basketball workforce entered the West Coast Conference match on a three-game shedding streak and had dropped six of its earlier eight video games.
But of their 74-59 second-round victory over No. 9 Pepperdine Friday afternoon at Orleans Arena, the Cougars left nothing to probability towards a workforce that shocked them on the Marriott Center on Feb. 9.
“I felt like our girls really came and competed and played for each other. Foul trouble in the first half could have rattled them really easily but they stayed locked in and stayed together and stayed the course. I’m really proud of them.” — BYU coach Amber Whiting
That night time, the Waves edged BYU 64-63 in time beyond regulation.
“I felt like our girls really came and competed and played for each other,” stated coach Amber Whiting. “Foul trouble in the first half could have rattled them really easily but they stayed locked in and stayed together and stayed the course. I’m really proud of them.”
BYU managed the sport each inside and out of doors and led by as many as 20 factors late within the third quarter.
Guard Nani Falatea and Lauren Gustin scored a game-high 23 factors apiece. Falatea dished out seven assists and knocked down 4 of 10 3-pointers, whereas Arielle Mackey-Williams completed with 14 factors and Emma Calvert added seven.
Gustin pulled down 18 rebounds, which tied a WCC match document.
“Emma and Lauren were dominating inside and that opened things up,” Falatea stated. “When they do well, everyone starts collapsing on them and it leaves some things open for me.”
With the win, BYU (15-15) takes on No. 4 seed San Francisco Saturday (2 p.m. MST, BYUtv) within the WCC match quarterfinals.
As for Pepperdine (11-19), it has been coping with this week’s departure of coach Kristen Dowling after 4 seasons on the helm.
“BYU’s a tough out,” stated Waves performing head coach Brian Rosario. “Coming into the game, we knew we were coming off a win at their place, which is the first time Pepperdine’s ever won (in Provo) on the road. But understanding with that rest day, (the Cougars are) coming in inspired and ready to play. I’m just proud of our team and our coaches.”
The Cougars led the Waves 34-27 at halftime and Pepperdine traded baskets with BYU early within the third interval. Then the Cougars went on a decisive 15-2 run, which featured eight straight factors by Falatea, together with back-to-back 3-pointers.
“By the third quarter, we were a little more settled in,” Gustin stated. “At halftime, we talked about some things we needed to work on. We came out with the mentality of, we just want to win. We all stepped up and came together.”
Early within the recreation, Gustin discovered herself in some foul hassle however she and the Cougars remained aggressive.
“Credit my teammates for getting me the ball and just having faith and confidence in me down there,” Gustin stated. “I feel like they put me in a lot of good positions with Nani hitting shots. They have to worry about that. I think it was just everyone contributing to that.”
Pepperdine’s Theresa Grace Mbanefo, who completed with a team-high 18 factors, credited Gustin.
“Gustin’s really good at capitalizing on defensive mistakes,” Mbanefo stated. “She does her work early. That showed today and we didn’t have an answer for it. She’s a great player. Congrats to BYU.”
The Cougars transfer on to face USF. BYU cut up the regular-season collection with the Dons. San Francisco beat BYU of their most up-to-date assembly at USF on Feb. 18, when the Dons earned a 72-59 victory.
BYU is relying on an improved defensive efficiency this time.
“Defense first. The last time we played them, our defense wasn’t up to par,” Falatea stated. “It wasn’t up to the standards we hold ourselves to. Tomorrow’s all going to be about defense.”
Whiting echoed these sentiments.
“Defense creates offense. When we were there just barely, we didn’t take care of defense. We’re going to make sure our game plan is set,” she stated. “Also, these girls came to fight in this tournament and they’re ready for it. They’ve had some really big character-building things that have happened lately to them. So I’m excited about what they’re going to bring tomorrow.”