By Sara Trump
So the Cinderella story wasn”t meant to be.
Just one night after upsetting No. 13 Utah, the BYU women”s basketball team wasn”t quite able to make another comeback against Colorado State, falling to the Rams in the championship game, 59-56.
“CSU is a great basketball team,” said coach Trent Shippen. “We battled back and fought hard, and that”s all I can ask.”
Playing their third game in three nights, the Cougars got off to a sluggish start, but stayed in the game with an 11-0 run to go up 15-9.
“We were a little tired, but everyone had their whole heart and soul in it,” said forward Lisa Osguthorpe who had a game and career high 16 points.
With a balanced attack, the Rams answered right back and closed out the half on a 19-4 run to take a 28-19 advantage into halftime.
“Countless times different people have stepped up for us,” said Rams coach Tom Collen.
The Cougars weren”t about to panic with a nine point halftime deficit, however, since overcoming a 20 point setback against the Utes the night previous.
“Honestly, I was looking at the score, but I wasn”t keeping track,” Osguthorpe said. “I was really just focused on playing defense and scoring.”
And focus she did, as Osguthorpe sparked her team to a comeback, scoring 10 of her 16 in the second half.
“I”m proud of Lisa (Osguthorpe), she kept us in there with Stacy (Jensen) and Erin (Thorn) not having good games,” Shippen said. “Lisa is our best defensive player.”
Senior center Caroline Beus also added a double double with 13 points and 10 boards, setting a MWC tournament record with a total of 29 rebounds.
Colorado State was the No. two seed for good reason – they are the best offensive team in the conference with a balanced scoring attack from their starters and bench players.
“Give credit to CSU for hitting big shots,” Shippen said. “They capitalized and converted on all our turnovers.”
And capitalize they did, as the Rams had 11 three pointers for 45 percent from beyond the arc, slightly better than their 43 percent from the field.
Even though no Rams scored in double figures, it was a total team effort as three players had nine points and two others chipped in eight.
Besides shooting the lights out on the offensive end, the Rams held BYU”s leading scorer, Erin Thorn to zero points – the first time in Thorn”s career.
“Erin hasn”t had the energy she”s had the two previous games,” Shippen said. “They were also defending her very well.”
And what hurt the Cougars all night proved fatal in the end as the Rams Katie Borton hit a three pointer with 1:13 left to put her team up 57-54.
The Cougars had one last chance to tie the game, but an off balance three pointer by Jensen wouldn”t fall, as the Cougars thought she was fouled.
“On the last shot there was a bump on the body,” Shippen said. “But sometimes that”s just how it goes.”
Although a shot at the NCAA tournament is probably a long shot at best, the Cougars are hoping to continue their season with a bid to the WNIT.
“I think we”re playing good enough to be in the NCAA, but chances are slim,” Shippen said. “I hope at least the NIT will give us an opportunity.”