BYU women’s basketball inches closer to second straight season of a perfect home record

The Cougars are just one home away from an undefeated record at the Marriott Center this season after Thursday’s win over LMU.

(Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune) BYU guard Shaylee Gonzales (2) leads a fast break for the Cougars, in women's basketball action between the BYU Cougars and the Pepperdine Waves, at the Marriott Center in Provo, on Thursday, Feb. 10, 2022.

Provo • The sign, written in large, bold letters on a board inside their locker room, says it all.

“We always win at home.”

On Thursday, in a 77-54 win over Loyola Marymount University, the BYU women’s basketball team won at the Marriott Center for the 13th time this season and 29th time in a row.

BYU’s win over LMU brought its home record to 13-0 with just one game left at the Marriott Center in the regular season: Saturday against Gonzaga. If the Cougars win Saturday, it will mark the second straight season the team has finished with no blemishes on its home floor. Last season, the Cougars went 9-0 at home. The program’s record for most consecutive home wins is 33, set between the years 1978 and 1980.

And for a team that literally writes down that it should never lose at home, reaching that feat Saturday means a great deal.

“It would just mean so much to us,” senior center Sara Hamson said.

BYU on Thursday was led by sophomore guard Shaylee Gonzales, who scored 19 points on 8-of-18 shooting. Senior guard Paisley Harding added 18 points. No other Cougars scored in double figures, but Hamson did contribute nine points.

The Marriott Center was filled mainly with elementary-school-aged children on field trips who let their voices be heard throughout the game. This season, attendance for women’s games has seen an uptick compared to recent years. Plus, road teams have to deal with the high elevation.

It’s all part of a home court advantage Hamson said has helped the Cougars excel at the Marriott Center. She can’t even remember the last time the Cougars lost at home. For the record, it was against Portland on Jan. 4, 2020, a date on which Hamson recorded a double-double.

“If you want to have a good team, you don’t lose at home,” coach Jeff Judkins said. “It’s something these guys really focus on and we really try to do it.”

Winning Saturday won’t only secure the second straight undefeated regular season at home. It will also secure first place in West Coast Conference standings. And, it’ll be a day that honors the seniors on the team.

Hamson said Saturday’s game will be emotional for the seniors, but she is glad that what might be her last game at the Marriott Center will be against Gonzaga because of the stakes.

“We’re excited and I think it’s super fitting and super special,” Hamson said.

When asked what special significance winning on Saturday would bring, Judkins said, “It would make my day.”

“It’s undefeated, it puts us one game ahead in the league, we beat Gonzaga, it helps us get our NET better,” Judkins said. “It’s a win-win situation.”