Sloppy ball handling and an uneven offensive performance on the road is usually a recipe for a loss.
That was the story for the BYU women’s basketball team in San Diego on Monday as the Cougars threw away the ball three times in the final 45 seconds of a 58-56 loss to the Toreros.
Trailing 56-49 with 3:12 to play, BYU mounted a rally and tied the game at 56 on a driving layup by Shaylee Gonzales with 1:03 to play. The Cougars trailed 57-56 with 13.1 seconds remaining and had the ball but fumbled it out of bounds. After San Diego made one of two free throws, BYU had 5.8 seconds to score the tying or go-ahead basket. But another turnover – the Cougars 27th of the game – allowed the clock to run out.
"Credit to San Diego, their defensive pressure took us out of our rhythm for most of the night," BYU head coach Jeff Judkins said. "We did have our chances. We made some nice plays to put us where we needed to be at the end, but we just couldn't quite pull it off."
Gonzales led BYU (2-1 WCC, 6-2 overall) with 21 points, eight rebounds, five steals and three assists but also turned the ball over eight times. Lauren Gustin scored seven points but also grabbed a career-best 18 rebounds. Sara Hamson added seven points, six rebounds and six blocks for the Cougars.
Hamson passed her sister, Jennifer, on the all-time school blocks list and now has 343 blocks. The leader is their mother, Tresa Spaulding Hamson, who finished her career with 424 blocks.
Jordyn Edwards led San Diego (2-1, 5-3) with 13 points and six steals. Eric Martindale was 4 of 5 from the 3-point line and scored 12 points.
BYU played right into San Diego’s hands in the first quarter, coughing up nine turnovers and sending the Toreros to the foul line frequently. USD made 6 of 8 from the line and led 5-0 in the first two minutes of the game. The Cougars tied the game up at 7-all on a jumper from Gonzales but the home team closed the first quarter on a 5-2 run and led 14-11.
BYU got out in transition early in the second quarter and went on a 7-0 run, capped by a 3-pointer from Gonzales, for an 18-16 lead with 6:45 to play. But the Cougars scored only one more field goal the rest of the quarter – a 3-pointer from Teagan Graham – and finished the first half with 14 turnovers. San Diego took a 23-21 lead into the locker room at half.
Gonzales keyed a 10-0 run early in the third quarter. She scored six points and Maria Albiero dropped in a 3-pointer to give the Cougars a 31-26 advantage with 6:16 to play in the third. BYU led by as many as seven points but a 3-point play by Laura Erikstrup brought San Diego to within two points, 44-42, in the final minute of the third. Gonzales nailed a long jumper to beat the buzzer and the Cougars took a 46-42 lead into the fourth period.
BYU stays on the road and will play at Loyola Marymount on Thursday. A Saturday contest with Pepperdine has been postponed due to COVID-19 concerns in the Waves program.