BYU women’s basketball season ended March 25 when the Cougars fell 72-63 to No. 2 seeded Stanford. The Cougars had a successful season beating nationally-ranked Gonzaga three times and winning the WCC tournament in addition to their first-round win over Auburn in the NCAA tournament.
“First of all, I am very, very proud of my team. I really felt that they came out with a lot of fight,” head coach Jeff Judkins said. “We’re going to continue to get better.”
BYU took its first lead of the game with just seconds left in the first quarter. A Paisley Johnson 3-pointer capped off a 10-0 run and propelled the Cougars to an 18-11 lead. The Cardinal answered with a 9-0 run of its own, hitting back-to-back 3-pointers and forcing Judkins to call a timeout with 6:48 remaining in the half. Prior to these successful 3s, the two teams were a combined 2-18 from behind the arc.
Shaylee Gonzales took over BYU’s score sheet, draining a 3 with 5:41 remaining in the half and giving BYU a 23-22 lead. Gonzales added two clutch free throws with 10 seconds remaining in the first half, but Stanford answered with a field goal just before time expired. The Cardinal finished the half with a 31-29 lead.
Gonzales led the way for the Cougars with 15 first-half points, while Johnson added 9 points. Star guard and first-round MVP Brenna Chase was held scoreless in the first half, going 0-5 from the field. As a team, BYU shot just 34 percent in the half and 22 percent from 3-point land. Stanford’s Dijonai Carrington carried most of the Cardinal’s workload, going shot-for-shot with Gonzales and netting 14 points before heading into the locker room.
Gonzales continued to be BYU’s superstar, making back-to-back 3s to start the third quarter for BYU. Stanford answered with a three of its own, starting a Cardinal onslaught. Consistent Stanford shooting and controversial fouls given to BYU propelled the Cardinal to a 17-0 run and 48-35 lead. A Jasmine Moody 3-pointer halted the onslaught, but a 53-38 Stanford lead was ultimately too much for BYU to overcome. Gonzales scored 6 of BYU’s 9 points in the quarter.
“I think not only did we miss a little bit of the shots, but we kind of started getting a little bit tired,” Moody said. “With Stanford, we can’t afford to be tired … I think getting a little tired and being selfish is what caused the drought a little bit.”
Moody gave BYU a little bit of life by making back-to-back shots, but Stanford immediately answered by hitting another shot from behind the arc.
Chase found the scoresheet with just over five minutes remaining in the half with a couple of made 3-pointers, forcing Stanford to take a time out in hopes to cool off the BYU sharpshooter. Anna Wilson made a 3 for the Cardinal when play resumed, but three straight BYU steals gave the Cougars a 9-0 run over a 52-second span.
Ultimately, it was too little too late for the Cougars as they fell 72-63 to No. 2 Stanford. Gonzales capped off her freshman season with an impressive 32-point performance, the most she scored all season. Gonzales was also perfect from 3-point range and from the foul line.
“You know, it wasn’t just me,” Gonzales said. “It was my team, too. They were the ones who were getting me open and setting screens for me and just play-making and the spacing.”
With just two seniors on the team, BYU is set for another successful season with all three of its star guards set to return for the 2019-20 campaign.