Kenny Cox | Posted: 4 Feb 2023 | Updated: 21 Feb 2023

Comeback effort falls short in 52-49 loss at San Diego

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SAN DIEGO, Calif. – Despite coming back from an 11-point deficit to tie the game with under two minutes remaining, the BYU women’s basketball team came up on the losing end of 52-49 game against San Diego on Saturday afternoon.

“I love the fight that I saw from the team today when they could have given up,” BYU head coach Amber Whiting said. “It showed a lot of character for them to stay together but we need to get better from this loss. We didn’t hit any of our goals today and have to learn something from this one.”

The Cougars trailed 36-25 in the opening minutes of the fourth quarter and battled back to tie the game at 43-43 with 1:33 to go.  They weren’t able to get in front in the end before time ran out on the comeback.

BYU (12-11, 7-5) outshot the Toreros (13-10, 7-5) 39.8-30.8 percent but were outrebounded 34-32 and gave up 20 points off of 19 turnovers.

Forward Lauren Gustin notched her 50th career double-double with 14 points and 16 rebounds, leading the scoring effort for BYU. Nani Falatea added 13 and four assists and Kaylee Smiler added three 3-pointers for nine points.

Box Score

First half
A defensive battle started off with the Cougars scrapping their way to a 6-4 edge in the first five minutes.

Rose Bubakar hit a jumper, Falatea hit a three and Arielle Mackey-Williams made a layup to keep pace with San Diego and lead 13-11 at the end of the first quarter.

After falling behind in the second quarter, Falatea took it back at 19-18 with a driving right-handed layup with just over 5 minutes left until halftime. Bubakar added a midrange jumper and BYU led 21-18 with 3:21 remaining until the break.

The Cougars held on to a 21-20 advantage at halftime. BYU shot 50 percent from the field in the first half, made only one of three attempts from distance.

Second half
Out of the break, San Diego pulled ahead 28-25 midway through the third quarter. The Toreros used a 10-0 run to push their lead to 34-25 after three quarters. The Cougars managed just four points and shot 2 of 15 in the third quarter.

BYU started a rally in the fourth quarter with back-to-back buckets from Gustin in the first two minutes and Smiler added a trey and Gustin another layup just over a minute later to cut the deficit to 38-34.

After an intentional foul on San Diego, Falatea hit both free throws and possession went back to the Cougars. Mackey-Williams was fouled going driving to the basket and sank to more to make it a one-possession game with 4:20 remaining.

A Gustin layup with just over three minutes to go made it 41-40 as part of a 6-0 run.

After two freebies from San Diego, Smiler tied it with a three from the corner on an assist from Falatea with 1:33 to go.

San Diego’s Kiera Oakry drained a 3-pointer with 30 second left to take a 46-43 lead. After the Cougars didn’t get a great look and had to foul on the ensuing possession, the Toreros cashed in with two more free throws and again down the stretch. 

BYU added another Smiler three in the last few seconds and one at the buzzer by Mackey-Williams but it wasn’t enough, eventually falling 52-49.

The Cougars return to Provo to play Pepperdine at the Marriott Center on Thursday, Feb. 9 at 7 p.m. MT. The game will be broadcast on BYUtv, and the BYUtv App.

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