BYU’s excellent fall athletics season continued Saturday night as the women’s basketball and volleyball teams both beat Utah.
The 21st-ranked women’s basketball played Utah at the Huntsman Center on Saturday afternoon, beating the Utes 85-80 behind Paisley Harding’s 33 points and Shaylee Gonzales’ 22 points. The Cougars led by as many as 18 near the beginning of the fourth quarter, but the Utes came flying back to narrow the lead to three with 16 seconds left. Utah fouled Gonzales’, who knocked down two free throws to secure the win for the Cougars.
The team is now 8-0 on the season and will likely be ranked in the Top 20 next time the rankings come out. Next up on the schedule is Oklahoma on Friday in Norman.
Later in the evening, the Cougars hosted the Utes in a Second Round match at the Smith Fieldhouse in a rematch of their rivalry match earlier in the season. The Cougars swept the Utes then, but the Utes came out flying in the first set and beat the Cougars 25-17. The Cougars had to battle the Utes in the second set, but ultimately won 25-22.
The third and fourth sets were tight as well, with the Cougars winning both 25-23. It took everything to beat the Utes, who refused to go away and put pressure on the Cougars until the very end. Kenzie Koerber, who played up north before transferring to BYU was cramping in her calves near the end, and Erin Livingston and Taylen Ballard-Nixon each had 13 and 12 kills.
The win gives the Cougars their 30th of the season as they now travel to Regionals and will face 6-seed Purdue in the Sweet 16. The Cougars are 30-1 on the season, with the one loss coming against Pitt, who is hosting Regionals.
The Cougars have had a phenomenal fall 2021 season, especially against the rival Utes. The Cougars have beaten the Utes in football, men’s and women’s basketball, and now twice in volleyball, as well as drawing with the Utes in women’s soccer.