Tight game for BYU women’s basketball ends in an agonizing 61-56 loss to Ball State

In 40 minutes of game time, the Cougars and Cardinals managed to keep everyone on the edges of their seats in a tight race to the finish at the Marriott Center Saturday afternoon. 

The first quarter ended how it started with a tie between the two teams at 14-14. The second quarter began with a quick three-pointer by Hana Mühl for Ball St to take a lead. However, no lead was held for long by either team as both sides fought hard to stay on top. 

Kaylee Smiler took another lead for BYU with her 10th three-point shot for the season. This took BYU up 19-18. As the half came to a close, the Cougars up five points, Natalea had possession of the ball when Ball St forward Alex Richard stole the ball. This opened up the perfect opportunity for a fast break layup on the other end. BYU up 35-32 at the end of the half.

“On the defensive and offensive side there wasn’t a whole lot of urgency. We were slow to things and didn’t have a whole lot of aggressiveness,” Lauren Gustin said. “We’re trying to learn from each loss and use that to make us better.”

Gustin received her seventh consecutive double-double for the season with 18 points and 12 rebounds. 

Continuing into the second half, the Cardinal’s aggression did not lighten up as they wanted the win. With multiple tied scores, the third quarter concluded with Ball St taking the lead 48-45 after a three-pointer by Thelma Dis Agustsdottir. 

The lead was maintained by the Cardinals for the rest of the fourth quarter and only grew larger as time ticked down on the clock. In the last minute, Nani Fatalea decreased the Cardinal’s lead to a one possession game of 59-56. 

Despite great efforts, BYU’s stamina did not withhold as the Cardinal’s hammered the final nail into the Cougar’s coffin with a jumper by Ally Becki. Final score was 61-56 for Ball St. 

This was BYU’s fifth loss over the last seven games. 

“We’ve had a hard non-conference and it’s preparing us for conference,” head coach Amber Whiting said. 

The Cougars hit the road this week as they play Boise State Thursday.

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