Rutgers women fall to BYU Cougars in NCAA tournament
Paisley Johnson Harding scored 28 points and 11th-seeded BYU gave the women's NCAA Tournament its first upset with a 69-66 victory over sixth-seed Rutgers on Monday.
After Sunday's 16-0 start for the higher seeds, the Cougars (19-5) — believed to be the last team to make the field — came out Monday morning to knock off the 21st-ranked Scarlet Knights (14-5) and advance to Wednesday's second round against the winner of third-seed Arizona and 14-seed Stony Brook.
Harding scored eight straight points and Lauren Gustin the next four in a 12-0 run over 5 1/2 minutes of the fourth quarter to take a 57-54 lead while Rutgers was committing five turnovers. BYU held on from there, matching the one-woman offense of Ariella Guirantes, who scored 13 straight Rutgers points in the quarter.
Guirantes threw a bad pass that led to West Coast Conference player of the year Shaylee Gonzales' last of her six straight free throws with 13.4 seconds left and a five-point lead. Liz Martino hit a baseline 3-pointer but Harding added another free throw and the Scarlet Knights wouldn't get another shot off.
Harding was 8-of-17 shooting with four 3-pointers. Gonzales, who was only 3-of-17 shooting, made 10 of 11 from the line and finished with 17. Gustin scored six of her 10 points in the fourth quarter. BYU made nine 3s, including five in the third quarter to help them keep pace and go into the final quarter trailing 50-43.
Guirantes scored 30 points on 10-of-18 shooting with Diamond Johnson adding 13 and Tekia Mack 11.
Guirantes and Johnson combined to score all the points in a 10-0 run to end the first half and take a 30-24 lead.