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Cougars trounce Gauchos

BYU's Anderson, Gillespie lead the way in home-opening rout

BYU's Laura Stratton is fouled while shooting during Saturday's game against UC Santa Barbara at the Marriott Center in Provo.
BYU's Laura Stratton is fouled while shooting during Saturday's game against UC Santa Barbara at the Marriott Center in Provo.
Michael Brandy, Deseret Morning News

PROVO — Good things came in twos — and in threes — Saturday afternoon as the BYU women's basketball team won its home opener in a 72-39 rout of UC Santa Barbara.

The Cougars rode a pair of 20-point scoring performances from senior forward Ambrosia Anderson and sophomore guard Mallory Gillespie.

BYU improves to 3-0 on the season, while the Gauchos — last year's Big West Conference tournament champions — are winless through four games this year.

"We just want to keep rolling over people," said Anderson, coming off Tuesday's upset victory at UCLA.

Anderson logged game-highs with 21 points and 12 rebounds, shooting 8-of-15 from the floor and 3-of-5 behind the three-point line. Gillespie's 7-of-13 shooting included 6-of-9 behind the arc — with the sharpshooter having made only 2-of-11 3s in the two previous games.

"I wasn't worried," said Gillespie of any chance her trey might be missing in action. "I knew it was going to come back."

It came back early and often — she canned 5-of-6 3s in the first half — as the Cougars broke open a 13-10 score five minutes into the game for a 41-20 lead at intermission.

With Santa Barbara anxious to stifle the Cougars' inside game, which was a strength in the UCLA victory, Gillespie fired away from outside and Anderson did her damage both from behind the arc and slashing toward the basket.

"When they doubled our bigs, it left us open," Gillespie said.

The Cougars still found a way to struggle in the first half-dozen minutes of the second half, as UCSB cut its deficit in half — to 11 points — during a lackluster BYU stretch that Anderson labeled "a little fog."

"We had moments where we played really well, and we had moments where we were asleep," said BYU coach Jeff Judkins, pleased with his defensive effort that kept the Gauchos at 24-percent shooting for the game — 18 in the second half.

Judkins admitted experiencing a scare midway in the second half when starting center Dani Kubik crumpled to the floor under the basket — the Cougars are already thin inside with sophomore Mary Martha Abell sidelined for the year with a torn ACL suffered in exhibition play. Judkins gave freshman center Cassie King her first action of the year after previously considering her for a redshirt season.

With the sprained left ankle, Kubik was deemed "probable" for Wednesday's game at Stony Brook, which is followed by a Saturday contest at Seton Hall.

BYU met its pregame goal of holding UCSB under 45 points, as Jenna Green led the Gauchos with 12 points and Autumn Nichols added 10.