Despite a strong hard fought effort and 13 three-pointers, BYU's women's basketball teams' run in this year's NCAA Championships came to an end with a disappointing 86-81 loss to 18th ranked Oklahoma, Saturday.
BYU finishes the year with a 22-9 record and a first NCAA Championship trip since 1993. Oklahoma advances with a 24-7 record. They will play the winner of the Purdue vs Dartmouth game Monday in the east region's second round action.
Senior Cady Williams led the BYU effort with 27 points and a career-high six three-pointers. Williams was one point shy of breaking her all-time scoring record of 28 points when she went down after getting an elbow to her left eye with three minutes left in the game. The injury caused her limited vision, with a possibility of a detached reitna.
The Cougars took a one-point 33-32 lead at half time in a half that saw six ties and seven lead changes. Oklahoma had taken a nine-point advantage with just under four minutes to play in the half before BYU's Williams put in her second of six three-pointers to spark the BYU team.
"Overall, I was really proud of our team. We played extremely well against a top 20 ranked team," said BYU coach Trent Shippen. "I thought that our three-pointers kept us in the game down the stretch."
Erin Thorn had her 21st game scoring in double digits with 17 points. Jennifer Lietner also tallied 17 and had a team-high nine rebounds. Jill Adams and Stacy Jensen also scored in double figures with 10 points a piece.
An early run by the Sooners at the start of second half action gave them a 12 point lead with 13 minutes to go in the game and was the key to their victory, according to BYU coach Trent Shippen. "We weren't able to keep it close in the second half and we had a couple of turnovers late in the game. I'm still very proud of our team and it was good for us to show well here, for our program and for our conference as well."
Oklahoma's Big 12 Conference Player of the Year Phylesha Whaley led all scores with 33 points with LaNeishea Caufield picking up 26 points and seven rebounds. The Sooners shot 54 percent from the field and 73 percent at the free-throw line.
In its final game of the year, BYU shot 43 percent from the field, 72 from the free-throw line and went 13-25 from behind the arc. The Cougars are 0-4 in NCAA Championships.