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PROVO —No Loss November continues for BYU basketball.
Shaylee Gonzales scored a game-high 24 points, including 10 of 11 from the free-throw line, to go along with five steals and four rebounds as BYU women's basketball upset No. 17 Florida State 61-54 in the opening game of the St. Pete Showcase at Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, Florida.
Maria Albiero added 10 points, three rebounds, two assists and two steals for the Cougars, who scored 25 points off 25 turnovers with 14 steals. Reigning West Coast Conference Player of the Week Paisley Harding added 7 points, five rebounds and three assists for BYU (6-0).
Sammie Puisis led Florida State (4-1) with 16 points, and Morgan Jones had 12 points and 10 rebounds for the Seminoles.
But BYU got off to a hot start, scoring 12 points off its first 12 turnovers to take a 19-16 edge on Gonzales' jumper a minute into the second quarter.
Big win = Big celebration pic.twitter.com/cCOfJNeCNi— BYU Women's Hoops (@byuwbb) November 26, 2021
The Cougars were without head coach Jeff Judkins, who did not make the trip to Florida after testing positive for COVID-19 prior to BYU's game Tuesday against Utah State. He is expected to join the team next week, according to a source close to the program.
"The remainder of the team has been tested and it's been determined by BYU's sports medicine staff that they are safe to travel with no other positive tests in the team travel party," a statement from the team read. "Assistant coach Lee Cummard will assume head coaching duties who coach Judkins is in quarantine."
Cummard improved to 2-0 as acting head coach, including a 101-74 win over the Aggies that marked the highest offensive output since 2011.
"The toughness that this team exhibited tonight was special," Cummard said. "The whole team was locked in and made an impact. We have another great opportunity on Saturday."
The Cougars forced 18 turnovers, converted them into 17 first-half points, and held the Seminoles to 44% en route to a 32-28 halftime lead. Gonzales led all scorers with 15 points on 5-of-9 shooting, and Harding added 4 points, three rebounds and two assists for BYU at the break.
Florida State cut the deficit as low as 3 points in the third quarter. But the Cougars ended the period on a 4-0 spurt, holding the Seminoles scoreless over the final 2:52 to cling to a 45-38 advantage. Nani Falatea pushed the lead back to 10, 48-38, with a 3-pointer to open the fourth quarter and the Cougars did just enough to hold on down the stretch.
Kourtney Weber converted an and-one play during an 11-2 run to pull Florida State within four with less than 2 minutes remaining. But the Seminoles could get no closer.
The Cougars are off to a 6-0 start for the first time since the 2013-14 season, when BYU opened the season with nine-straight wins en route to a 28-7 record and a spot in the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament.
BYU will face No. 22 West Virginia in the St. Pete Showcase championship game Saturday before returning home to face Utah on Saturday, Dec. 4 at the Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City.
Saturday's game will be streamed live on FloHoops.