After trailing visiting San Diego the entire second half, the BYU women’s basketball team got a huge 3-pointer by sophomore guard Brenna Chase to cut the Torero lead to a single point at 61-60.
On the ensuing San Diego possession, the Cougars got the stop they needed and with 25 seconds to go, the ball came to Chase in almost the exact same spot.
This time, however, the shot came up a little short.
BYU was forced to foul at that point and San Diego put the game away at the free-throw line as the Toreros earned the 66-60 victory.
“We stopped them and had a play we wanted to run,” Cougar head coach Jeff Judkins said. “As a coach, it’s tough to know whether you should’ve called a timeout, but Brenna had a wide-open look to win the game. I’d take that shot, for sure.”
Judkins felt like San Diego won the game with its defense and ability to knock down big shots.
“It felt like it was uphill from the start,” Judkins said. “They hit some 3-pointers early that got us a little bit out of sync. We had a lot of open looks. There’s no question that when you make shots and get some momentum, it really helps.”
BYU ended up shooting 22-of-66 from the field (33.3 percent) while the Toreros finished 26-of-61 (42.6 percent). Since most of the other stats were similar, the shooting numbers were the biggest difference in the game.
“They were on fire in the first half and we weren’t,” Cougar senior Cassie Devashrayee said. “We weren’t making shots we normally make while they had players step up.”
BYU got out to a 12-6 lead in the early going but San Diego went on a 9-0 run to go in front and didn’t trail the rest of the game. The largest Torero advantage was nine points early in the second half but the Cougars were generally close enough to have chances to take control until the end.
“We’ve lost a couple of games like this where we have had an opportunity to come down and make a play — and we just haven’t seemed to finish it,” Judkins said. “We missed a couple of layups, we missed a couple of wide-open shots, defensively we would stop them and then let them get the rebound. It’s just been one of those things and it’s been tough.”
Both teams were relentless at going after their own missed shots, combining for 36 offensive rebounds (20 for BYU, 16 for San Diego). The Cougars had the 16-12 edge in second-chance points but it seemed like the Toreros got big offensive boards when they needed them.
“They are really good rebounders and for some reason they out-tough us,” Judkins said. “They get position and do it. This year’s team gets pushed around a lot inside. It’s something we need to do better at as a team.”
BYU ended up getting 15 points from Devashrayee, with Chase and senior Malia Nawahine adding 10 points apiece. The Toreros were led by 16 points from senior guard Aubrey El-Ward.
The Cougars finish out their 2018 home schedule by hosting Portland State on Thursday at 7 p.m.