Early in the third quarter, Megan Huff decided it was her time. She blocked a shot on the defensive end, controlled it and ended up with a layup on the other end. On the next possession, the senior forward grabbed an offensive rebound and put it back in.
Those four points were just as many as Huff had in the entire first half, and set the tone for a dominant second half that lifted the Utah Utes to a 78-67 win over the BYU Cougars on Saturday at the Jon M. Huntsman Center.
Huff score 24 of her 28 points and made 10 of 13 shots in the second half for the Utes, who stayed undefeated on the season (8-0). Huff finished the game shooting 52.1 percent from the field and added eight rebounds, an assist, a block and a steal.
Huffy said she felt under the weather before the game, but settled in as the game went on. Utes head coach Lynne Roberts said she tried to get Huff the ball more often in the second half.
“With Huffy, she just has to stay confident and stay with it,” Roberts said.
Utah freshman guard Dru Gylten contributed 17 points and eight assists, many of them to Huff. She is Utah’s best passer statistically, averaging 6.7 assists coming into Saturday.
“I could care less how many points I score in game,” Gylten said. “I love passing and I have great teammates that knock down shots. It’s just fun that way.”
But Gylten found herself in an offensive rhythm from the opening seconds of the game. The first play call was for her to get a 3-pointer from the left corner, which she made. About a minute later, she swished another 3-pointer from the opposite corner.
“I think our first couple of games here [at home], I’ve kind of been struggling with shooting,” Gylten said. “So I think being passed the first ball and I made it, that just instantly gave me confidence.”
Huff and Gylten ignited a 7-0 run to close the third quarter that finally gave the Utes some momentum after struggling in the first half. Gylten made three free throws after BYU sophomore guard Paisley Johnson fouled her on a 3-point attempt. Huff made two free throws of her own right after that.
Utah ignited a fast break moments later and Gylten set up Huff for a layup to give the Utes a 58-47 lead going into the fourth. Before the run, the Utes led by only four.
“That was the difference,” Cougars head coach Jeff Judkins said.
Utes reshman Dre’una Edwards added a double-double of 12 points and 15 rebounds, eight of which were on the offensive end.
Paisley Johnson tallied 17 points on 7-of-10 shooting for the Cougars, who fell to 6-3. Junior guard Brenna Chase had 17 points on 4 of 8 from the 3-point line, and freshman guard Shaylee Gonzales added 11 points.
Utah started the fourth quarter on a 7-2 run to break the game open and take a 65-49 lead. The Utes coasted the rest of the game.
Despite poor shooting from the Utes in the first half, they managed to take a three-point lead into halftime due to an advantage in 3-pointers and second-chance points. Utah attempted 10 more shots than BYU due to 13 offensive rebounds in the first 20 minutes.
The Utes got going early with two consecutive 3-pointers from Gylten en route to an 8-2 lead. The Cougars tied the game at 12 on a fast-break layup and took a two-point lead. Utah scored the last four points of the frame for an 18-16 advantage.