Has Lauren Gustin reached star status for BYU women’s basketball?

Plus, the Kobe Bryant quote played by Mark Pope to his team after a tough loss.

(BYU Athletics) BYU women's basketball center Lauren Gustin muscles through a defender during a game against St. Mary's on Dec. 31, 2022 at the Marriott Center in Provo.

Lauren Gustin knew more would be expected of her this season after the BYU women’s basketball team lost the likes of Shaylee Gonzales to the transfer portal and Paisley Harding, Tegan Graham and Sara Hamson to graduation. Before the season started, she even said she likes the pressure of having to step up her role.

But no one imagined Gustin would perform like this.

Gustin is averaging career highs in points (15.9), rebounds (15.4), blocks (0.8), assists (2.1) and minutes (37.6). She’s tied for first in the country in double-doubles (15) and is second in the country in rebounding.

Gustin is the team’s go-to player on offense and has become one of the team’s most vocal leaders. As she goes, the Cougars go. That was evidenced by the loss to Portland in which the Pilots forced her into a 1-of-12 shooting night and the only time so far his season where she didn’t record a double-double.

Gustin has already tied or reached new career highs several times this season. But her performances during the team’s four-game winning streak might have put her on a different stratosphere.

In the last four games, Gustin has pulled down at least 20 rebounds. She had 23 against Monmouth, 22 against Pacific and 24 against San Diego. The 23 was a career high before she grabbed 24.

The 24 rebounds weren’t only a career high. That number also represented more than the entire Torreros team. It’s a rare feat for one player to out-statistic an entire team.

It would be a mistake to suggest that Gustin’s value comes only with her rebounding. Defenses have to game plan around her and often send double-teams to force her to pass the ball to perimeter shooters.

That’s how superstars are treated.

KenPom/NET Ranking


KenPom: 75.

NET: 90.


NET: 132.

The women dropped four spots compared to the last time we documented their NET ranking in this space. That’s a bit strange considering they increased their win streak to four games since last week. Meanwhile, the men split a road trip and rose in both rankings.

Most Eye-Popping Stat

Lauren Gustin brought down 24 rebounds against San Diego on Saturday. Not only did that tie a Marriott Center record, but she also outrebounded the entire Torreros team. San Diego had 23 rebounds in that loss. That’s wild.

Most Telling Quote

“We played a Kobe Bryant quote for the team [Friday] night that we talked about for a long time about all the things that want to pull you away from just the purity of just trying to win as a team. I thought the guys responded well.” — Mark Pope

Here’s the full quote from Bryant that Pope played for the team, per a source with knowledge of the meeting.

“It’s also the strength, too, of being able to tell your family members and your friends to shut up. Because they’ll [say], “You should be starting, you should be playing, I don’t know what they’re doing.’ Shut up. If I’m not playing, I need to get better at this, I need to get better at that. There’s things I can control. But unfortunately there’s a lot noise. A lot of outside noise from friends and former coaches and all sorts of stuff filling your head with nonsense. You have to be able to have the strength to edit that and say, ‘No, uh-huh, I don’t wanna hear it. This is on me.’ That becomes tough for young players.”

What’s interesting about this is the timing. Pope played the quote for the team the day after its close loss to Loyola Marymount. So it appears that after that tough loss, the Cougars were struggling with those outside opinions, whether they’re coming from media, close confidants or anywhere in between.

Schedule Lookahead


Thursday vs. Gonzaga

Saturday vs. Pepperdine


Thursday at Loyola Marymount

Saturday at Pepperdine