Shaylee Gonzales Among Observations From BYU’s Hard-Fought Win Over Portland

Mar 7, 2022, 4:26 PM

Shaylee Gonzales - BYU Women's Basketball - WCC Tournament...

BYU women's basketball guard Shaylee Gonzales scored a game-high 20 points against Portland in the semifinal round of the 2022 WCC Tournament. (Nate Edwards/BYU Photo)

(Nate Edwards/BYU Photo)

LAS VEGAS – Behind a game-high 20 points from WCC Player of the Year Shaylee Gonzales, BYU women’s basketball took down Portland 59-52 in the semifinals of the 2022 WCC Tournament.

It was a revenge game for BYU as the Cougars faced a Portland team that handed them their lone WCC loss this season. BYU exacted that loss with a hard-fought victory in front of a strong crowd of Cougar fans that attended the Monday matinee in Sin City.

With the win, BYU will now face either San Francisco or Gonzaga in the WCC Tournament Championship Game on Tuesday at 2 p.m. (MT) on ESPNU.

Here are three observations from BYU’s victory over the Pilots.

The long layoff had an impact on BYU

Before Monday, BYU’s last game was nine days ago when they clinched the outright WCC regular-season title. The first game in any tournament is always challenging, but a nine-day layoff after weeks of going no more than five days in between games can alter routines. It seemed to affect BYU as they struggled with Portland.

BYU head coach Jeff Judkins told reporters in postgame that the layoff impacted his players. However, he believes the value of having a long bye will come in the championship round now that they have some familiarity with the court and the environment.

Whenever BYU women’s basketball needs a bucket, go to Shaylee Gonzales

WCC Player of the Year Shaylee Gonzales had the quietest 20 points you’ll ever see the star guard produce in her BYU career. But she always came up clutch when BYU needed her the most. The fourth-year sophomore struggled from distance, going 0-for-5 from three, but she was 8-of-17 from the field and knocked down three clutch free throws in the final two minutes.

In a physical game that tested BYU’s patience, Gonzales’s cool, calm, collected demeanor was a steadying force that BYU desperately needed. She provided a lift to BYU in key stretches and was willing to go down low to battle for rebounds, as she was third on the team with six boards.

Gonzales wasn’t shy about bringing up BYU’s goal of reaching a Final Four in the postgame. Since she arrived at BYU, she has made it clear that she wants to be the first BYU player to appear in four NCAA Tournaments. She’s well on her way to being one of the most accomplished players in BYU basketball history. A big reason for that was on display in a hard-fought win in March.

Portland’s zone defense gave BYU headaches

Portland played a defensive scheme that BYU had not seen all year, a matchup zone defense. In the postgame press conference, BYU players Shaylee Gonzales and Tegan Graham told reporters that was a look that didn’t see much this year.

The Pilots zone led to one of their top frontcourt players in Lucy Cochrane, finishing with eight blocks on the day. Nothing for BYU’s high-powered offense came easy as a byproduct of the Pilots’ defensive scheme.

For BYU to escape a game in the postseason without playing at their best on the offensive end can only serve them well going forward as the battles only get more physical and more daunting the rest of this month.

Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for 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.

  • BYU Cougars Scoreboard

  • BYU Cougars Team Leaders

  • BYU Cougars Standings

BYU Cougars

BYU Basketball, Max Triplett, Snow College...

Mitch Harper

BYU Basketball Adds Snow College Transfer To Frontcourt

BYU basketball picked up a commitment from Max Triplett out of Snow College.

2 days ago

Allstate, Big 12 Conference, Naming Rights...

Mitch Harper

Social Media Reacts To Big 12 Potentially Selling League Name To Allstate

Social media had its share of takes after the reports surfaced that the Big 12 is looking to sell its naming rights to Allstate.

3 days ago

Big 12 Conference, Allstate, Name Change...

Mitch Harper

Big 12 Looking At Selling Name Of League To Insurance Company

The Big 12 Conference is looking for additional revenue streams.

3 days ago

Big 12, Brett Yormark, Conference Expansion...

Mitch Harper

Big 12 Reportedly Considering Up To $1 Billion Private Equity Investment

SALT LAKE CITY – The Big 12 Conference could be ushering in a new era of college athletics. On Thursday, CBS Sports’ Dennis Dodd reported that the Big 12 Conference is considering a private equity investment of up to $1 billion. Breaking: Big 12 considering private equity investment of up to $1 billion for as much […]

4 days ago

justin sterner rays...

Brian Preece

Locals In MLB: Former Cougar Justin Sterner Makes Most Of MLB Debut

Former BYU Cougar Justin Sterner didn't have much time to prepare when the rookie pitcher learned he was needed in the big league bullpen.

6 days ago

payton henry...

Brian Preece

Locals In MiLB: Former Pleasant Grove Baseball Star Suffers Scary Injury

It was a scary scene in late May when former Pleasant Grove Viking Payton Henry was struck in the head by an opponent's backswing.

6 days ago

Sponsored Articles


KSL Sports

Utah Hockey Newsletter: Sign Up Now

Want to get the latest info on Utah's newest sports franchise? Sign up for the Utah Hockey newsletter!

Hans & Scotty's Day of Adoption...

Hans & Scotty’s Day Of Adoption

Join the KSL Sports Zone for Hans & Scotty's Day of Adoption, in partnership with the Humane Society of Utah, on June 25th, 2024!


KSL Sports

KSL Sports Newsletter: Sign Up Now

Sign up today for the KSL Sports newsletter. Get the latest Utah sports news delivered to your inbox.


KSL Sports

Jazz Notes Newsletter: Sign Up Now

Sign up today for the Jazz Notes newsletter. Get insider analysis, game recaps and opportunities to win tickets!

3 kids wearing real salt lake jerseys smiling...

Real Salt Lake

6 Reasons You Need to Experience a RSL Matchday

RSL Games are a great way to spend time with your family with fun activities, good food, and traditions you can only experience at the field.

High angle view of the beautiful Rose Bowl Stadium...

KSL Digital Sales

How to Prepare for the 2023 Rose Bowl

Everything you need to know to plan your 2023 Rose Bowl trip in Pasadena, California. This year, the Utes will face Penn State.

Shaylee Gonzales Among Observations From BYU’s Hard-Fought Win Over Portland