Paisley Harding’s Career-High Lifts No. 21 BYU Women’s Basketball Over Utah
SALT LAKE CITY – No. 21 BYU Women’s Basketball remains unbeaten after defeating rival Utah 85-80 at the Jon M. Huntsman Center.
It was BYU’s first game this season as a nationally-ranked team and it marked the return of head coach Jeff Judkins to the bench. Judkins missed the previous three games due to a positive case of COVID-19.
Paisley Harding scores a career-high 33 points as No. 21 #BYU takes down rival Utah 85-80 at the Huntsman Center.
— Mitch Harper (@Mitch_Harper) December 5, 2021
His return as head coach featured a career night performance from one of his stars. Senior Paisley Harding scored a career-high 33 points on 14-of-20 shooting from the field in 36 minutes of play.
BYU Women’s Basketball star Paisley Harding scores career-high
“Paisley wanted to play really well here (Huntsman Center),” head coach Jeff Judkins said. “She knew it was her last time up here and that she needed to step up. What a performance, the kid is amazing.”
Harding’s performance capped off a big week for the Harding home. Paisley’s husband, Connor, was part of UVU’s big upset win over the No. 12 BYU men’s basketball team on Wednesday.
CELEBRATION TIME🎊 pic.twitter.com/M3vNHLyuGR
— BYU Women's Hoops (@byuwbb) December 5, 2021
Harding’s career-high was much-needed as BYU pulled off the victory without All-American forward Lauren Gustin. In relief of Gustin, heralded freshman Emma Calvert saw an elevated role earning 28 minutes and scoring eight points.
To go along with Harding’s 33, sophomore guard Shaylee Gonzales poured in 22 points and dished out seven assists. Center Sara Hamson had four blocks, three of those coming in the second half.
BYU built up a lead of 21 points with 4:38 remaining in the 3rd quarter. But Utah did not go down lightly on their home court.
The Utes entered the fourth quarter down 18 and trimmed it down to three, but Gonzales hit a pair of free throws to put the game out of reach. BYU’s win improves their record to 8-0 on the season.
Next up for BYU & Utah
Next up for BYU is a road tilt in Big 12 country against the Oklahoma Sooners on Friday, December 10 at 5 p.m.
Utah falls to 6-2 overall on the season, with their losses coming against WCC teams (Gonzaga). The Utes return to action on Friday when they host Cal State Fullerton on Teacher Appreciation Day.
Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for KSLsports.com and host of the Cougar Tracks Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and Cougar Sports Saturday (Saturday from 12–3 p.m.) on KSL Newsradio. Follow him on Twitter: @Mitch_Harper.