The air in the Marriott Center was bitter as tears flowed and the BYU women’s basketball team fell to San Francisco on Thursday, 71-64.
BYU got out to a quick start, putting up the first points on the scoreboard. The Cougars left nothing to the imagination as their offense was on the money, leading early 12-5. The team got into foul trouble early on, as the referees called six fouls on the Cougars (22-5, 10-3), while the Dons (5-22, 3-11) had two.
Things got a little too close for comfort after a series of questionable calls and the Dons got several points off the foul shots. BYU led by two points on and off as the first half ran into its final minutes. The Dons caught up, taking the lead 35-32 when the game went into halftime.
“I’m proud of my team for fighting back,” BYU coach Jeff Judkins said. “We need to play with that urgency a lot earlier, then we did in the last three minutes of the game. We need to play a lot harder than that.”
The game continued to be one sided from the referees, they gave BYU several interesting calls and overlooked USF’s errors. Foul trouble was a major factor in the flow of the game as Cougar sophomore Jennifer Hamson collected her fifth foul with 8:36 left in the game, taking the bench.
Going into the second half things were rough while BYU tried to pull ahead after falling by as much as 13 points. The team’s shots weren’t falling and everything USF touched seemed to be golden. Things got physical and aggressive as both teams showed what they’re made of.
The BYU defense was tight as it kept USF from making shots within the allotted time on the shot clock. Unfortunately that defense wasn’t enough as USF hit big 3-pointers at the end of the clock.
“Hopefully we’ll bounce back,” Judkins said. “These guys are competitors and hopefully we’ll get back to what we need to and take care of the next game ahead of us.”
Senior Kristen Riley moved to seventh all-time in BYU history with her 674th rebound, and she had 16 points and 11 rebounds on the night.
On the Dons’ side, freshman Jamie Katuna was a hot shooter with 21 points. She was fierce on defense and gave the Cougars good competition.
Senior Haley Steed had six assists, putting her at a career 513 assists, one away from tying for second place in BYU history. She had 15 points, seven rebounds and two steals. Freshman Lexi Eaton shone as she scored 12 points and kept up her defense until the end.
“We came back with energy at the end but it was unfortunate we didn’t have it earlier,” Eaton said. “We’re disappointed but will be back with a good practice and be ready for Saturday.”