By Sara Trump
So maybe it was asking too much for another comeback, another Cinderella story just wasn”t meant to be.
The BYU women”s basketball team created their own tale of the Cinderella story Thursday afternoon as they overcame a 40-20 halftime deficit to No. 13 Utah, and came out victorious 57-50 to advance to the championship game.
“Our second half performance was maybe one of the biggest comebacks I have been involved in as a coach,” said coach Trent Shippen.
After scoring just 20 points in the opening half, it appeared the Cougars were doomed to be victims to Utah once again.
The basketball Gods were with the Cougars, however, as they out scored their rivals 37-10 in the second half, holding the Utes to a miserable 11.8 percent shooting in the second half.
“They started putting their heads down in the second half, and we pulled together,” said forward/center Caroline Beus who had a game high 14 points and seven rebounds.
The clincher came with 59 second remaining when Erin Thorn – who had been relatively quiet all night – hit a three pointer to put the Cougars up for good 53-50.
“I knew the shot clock was counting down,” Thorn said. “I was lucky it went in.”
Such luck did not appear to be in the Cougars for a second night in a row, however, as they fell short of another come-from-behind victory in the conference championship game Saturday night to Colorado State, 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.”
Katie Borton hit back-to-back three pointers in the final two minutes, to clinch the victory for the Rams and stave off another surprising Cougar comeback.
The Rams had a balanced scoring attack led by tournament MVP Heather Haanen, Katie Borton and Lisa Narkiewicz, each of whom had nine points.
BYU”s Stacy Jensen shot an off balance three pointer with the game clock running down, but did not get a call on what appeared to be a foul on Borton.
“On the last shot there was a bump on the body,” Shippen said. “But sometimes that”s just how it goes.”
The Rams jumped on the Cougars early and closed out the half on a 19-4 run to take a 28-19 advantage into halftime.
A nine-point halftime deficit seemed like pie compared to their miraculous 20-point comeback the night day before.
“Honestly I was looking at the score, but I wasn”t keeping track,” said forward Lisa Osguthorpe, who had a game and career high 16 points.
“I was really just focused on playing defense and scoring.”
Osguthorpe along with forward/center Caroline Beus – who had 13 points and 11 rebounds – sparked a Cougar comeback in the second half.
“I”m proud of Lisa, she kept us in there with Stacy (Jensen) and Erin (Thorn) not having good games,” Shippen said. “Lisa is our best defensive player.”
The Rams were clicking on all ends, holding the Cougars leading scorer, Erin Thorn to zero points – the first time in her career – and connecting on 45 percent of their three pointers for 11 long bombs.
“Give credit to CSU for hitting big shots,” Shippen said. “They capitalized and converted on all our turnovers.”
Osguthorpe, Beus and Erin Thorn were all named to the All-tournament team.
The Cougars now prepare for Oregon State on Friday in the opening round of the WNIT.