BYU shows fight in 77-66 loss to No. 16 Oklahoma
PROVO, Utah – The BYU women's basketball team gave No. 16 Oklahoma all it could handle for most of the game, but the Sooners had too much down the stretch as the Cougars fell to Oklahoma 77-66 at the Marriott Center Tuesday afternoon.
A one-point game with under three minutes to play, BYU (0-3) was unable to stop Oklahoma's (3-0) offensive rebounding efforts and defensive intensity late in the second half, falling short in the final minutes.
"We need to get better at coming together and not getting rattled, but our perseverance pushed us through," said BYU head coach Amber Whiting. "I was really proud of the girls tonight because we've played a solid half before, and tonight we played three quarters. We are young still, and super inexperienced, but this team is growing and getting experience every day."
Forward Lauren Gustin had another dominant performance on the boards, recording her 32nd career double-double, scoring 15 points while registering 20 rebounds, just one rebound shy of tying her career high.
Redshirt freshman Amanda Barcello shot the lights out for the Cougars, going 4 of 5 from three to tally 12 points for the game. Nani Falatea scored 12 points and Kaylee Smiler scored 11, as both guards helped control the offense throughout the game.
Oklahoma was led by Madi Williams who scored a game high 21 points, shooting 10 of 16 from the field.
The first quarter featured a back and forth battle with both teams struggling from the field early, shooting just 35 percent in the period. The Sooners got out to an early lead, but Barcello's three tied things up 9-9 heading into the first time-out of the game.
The BYU defense forced some early turnovers and quick shots, keeping the Cougars close against the explosive Oklahoma offense. Rose Bubakar recorded her first steal of the game and turning it into a transition bucket, tying the score 11-11 with just under three minutes left in the period.
After a score by Smiler and free-throws by Falatea, the Cougars grabbed an early 15-11 point lead, their largest of the game so far. After giving up a three at the end of the period, the Cougars maintained a 15-14 edge. Bubakar and Smiler led the way scoring four points each for BYU. Gustin led the team on the glass, recording nine early rebounds.
The second quarter featured a hot offensive performance by BYU with a team effort to start the period with five Cougars scoring to go on a 14-4 run. The scoring burst was capped off with a Barcello three and two free-throws by Gabriela Bosquez, making the score 29-18. After a quick 4-0 run by Oklahoma, a three by Falatea helped maintain the Cougar lead at 32-22. BYU would take an eight point lead into the half, leading 34-26.
The Cougars shot 40 percent from the field and 50 percent from three for the quarter. The defense was the story of the period, as they held the Sooners to just 25 percent shooting, their lowest quarter percentage of the game. Rebounding was key for the Cougars to gain the half-time lead, as Gustin kept the Sooners off the boards by recording six more rebounds, bringing her game total to 15 at the half.
The Oklahoma offense had scored 105 and 97 points in their first two games this season. The Cougars held them to just 26 in the first half, their lowest scoring half of the season.
The Sooners came out energized to start the second half, as two early offensive rebounds in as many possessions led to a quick five points to cut into the Cougar lead. Falatea's 3-pointer weathered the early second-half intensity from the Sooners, hitting a pull-up jumper to maintain a six point lead, 37-31. Oklahoma would continue to chip away, but Smiler and Barcello's threes kept the lead at 45-37.
Following a timeout by BYU, Oklahoma's defensive pressure intensified as they managed to cut into the score, 46-44. The Sooners first lead since the first quarter came near the end of the period, as Nevaeh Tot's free-throws and Robertson's three brought the Sooner lead to five with under 2 minutes remaining. Gustin responded with a 4-0 run of her own, and the score was tied 52-52 heading into the 4th.
After three hard fought quarters by the Cougars, the Oklahoma offense proved too much down the stretch. BYU's Gustin and Falatea helped the Cougars keep things close throughout the quarter scoring back to back buckets to keep the game tied at 56.
Heading into the final minutes of the game with the Sooners leading 61-60, Oklahoma's Tot jumped the passing lane and went the other way, resulting in an and-one that would be the turning point of the game, extending the lead to 64-60. From here, Oklahoma wouldn't look back, as two late turnovers from the Cougars leading to two threes by Tot brought the Sooner lead to 12 with just 1:06 to play, capping off an 11-0 run in just a two-minute span. The Cougars would ultimately fall by a final score of 77-66.
BYU will travel to Laie, Hawaii this weekend to participate in the North Shore Showcase. The Cougars will face off against Washington State in the Cannon Events Center at 3 p.m. HT Friday, Nov. 18. The game can be streamed live at BeTheBeast.com
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