A balanced scoring effort helped the BYU women’s basketball team to a 78-51 victory over ZKD Ilirija in Slovenia on Saturday.
Freshman Ashley Beckstrand’s 12 points off the bench along with Shalae Salmon’s 10 points and 10 rebounds, her second double-double on the tour, and 11 points from Jasmine Moody provided the lift the Cougars needed to clinch the win. BYU is now 3-0 on its European Tour with one game left.
Freshmen Shaylee Gonzales and Malli Valgardson contributed eight and seven points, respectively, with teammate Paisley Johnson tallying seven. Maria Albiero and Babalu Ugwu put up six points each. Albiero pulled down six rebounds, while Gonzales led the way in assists with six.
“Jasmine and Shalae had an outstanding first half for us tonight,” BYU head coach Jeff Judkins said. “Our inside presence hurt them. Then, in the second half, other players stepped up like Ashley, Paisley and Shaylee. I think our team is learning how to play together, and our balance will be one of our strengths this upcoming season.”
BYU grabbed 55 rebounds, dished out 16 assists and had six steals. As a team, BYU shot 44.2 percent from the field, 63.6 from the free-throw line and 16.7 percent from behind the arc.
The Cougars have scored more than 70 points in each of the three games to date on their tour.
Tied at 15 through the first 10 minutes of play, BYU’s inside presence took control in the second quarter. Beckstrand hit a 3-pointer when she checked with 7:28 left in the half to give the Cougars a five-point, 22-17 lead. Albiero extended the lead to seven, 24-17, taking the ball coast to coast for an easy layup. Salmon scored the last four points of the half to maintain a seven-point Cougar lead, 36-29, after getting her own rebound for an easy put-back.
In the second half, BYU took control of the game going up by 12, 49-37, with a 2-pointer from Signe Glantz with less than four minutes left in the third quarter. The Cougars went up by 18, 55-37, to finish the period with Glantz’s second basket of the game.
A 3-pointer from Beckstrand with 5:35 remaining in the contest gave BYU a 21-point lead, 63-42. She went on to score four of her team-best 12 points to finish the game and seal the Cougars’ 27-point win.
BYU makes its way through Italy starting Sunday, finishing with a game in Rome next Tuesday. Along the way, the team will make brief stops in Trieste, Venice and Florence.