Cougars fall to San Francisco 72-59
SAN FRANCISCO — BYU women’s basketball fell to San Francisco 72-59 at War Memorial Gymnasium on Saturday.
After a back-and-forth opening 20 minutes that saw the score knotted at halftime, San Francisco shot 53.3 percent from the field and 58.3 percent from behind the arc to score 46 second-half points and pull away from the Cougars that were held to 38.7 percent shooting, 35.3 percent from behind the arc, putting up 33 in the second half.
Arielle Mackey-Williams and Nani Falatea were the lone Cougars (14-13, in double figures on the night with 14 and 12 points, respectively. Mackey-Williams matched her career high in field goals made as she went 6-for-15 from the field with four rebounds and an assist. Along with 12 points, Falatea also recorded three rebounds, three assists, two steals and a block.
The nation’s leading rebounder, Lauren Gustin, finished with nine points on 3-of-6 shooting, 13 rebounds, four assists and a steal as she was frequently double and triple-teamed in the post in the 12-point defeat. With her first rebound of the game, Gustin set the single-season West Coast Conference record for total rebounds with 428, passing the 427 set by Danielle Mauldin of Saint Mary's in 2014. Gustin is currently at 440 with two games to play in the regular season.
The Dons took an early 7-4 lead with 6:30 to play in the first, but the Cougars responded by scoring ten-straight points to take a 14-7 lead. Kaylee Smiler began the run with a second-chance three followed by layups from Emma Calvert, Mackey-Williams and Gustin to open a 15-7 lead.
San Francisco cut the deficit to one with 1:32 to play in the opening quarter before Falatea found Gustin in the post for a floater off the glass to extend the Cougar lead to three going into the second quarter, 17-14.
BYU was held scoreless through the first four minutes of the second quarter before Mackey-Williams knocked down a long two to take one-point lead, 20-19.
After the Dons retook a four-point advantage with 4:12 to play in the half, Mackey-Williams scored five straight to level the score at the half, 26-26.
Mackey-Williams scored all eight points for the Cougars in the second quarter going 4-for-6 from the field and 1-2 from behind the arc.
BYU and San Francisco traded baskets to open the third with USF taking a 32-30 lead before Mackey-Williams knocked down a kick-out triple with the assist from Gustin. After the Dons responded with a three of their own, Falatea weaved through the defense and laid it up with the left hand to give BYU a 35-34 lead with 6:00 to play in the quarter.
Out of the media timeout, USF scored eight-straight points to open a 10-point lead with 3:40 left, leading to a BYU timeout. The Dons hit another three before Calvert ended the San Francisco run with a three of her own. On the next Cougar possession, Smiler knocked down a second consecutive three to bring BYU within seven with 2:20 left.
Despite drawing within six, the Dons took a ten-point advantage into the fourth quarter as they scored 26 points on 10-17 shooting while going 4-for-6 from deep in the third.
The Dons opened the fourth with a 13-3 run to extend their lead to 20 with 4:27 to play. Rose Bubakar scored five-straight points to trim the USF lead to 15. Back-to-back scores from Bubakar and Falatea drew BYU within 11, but time ran out and San Francisco downed BYU 72-59.
The Cougars return to the Marriott Center for the final regular season games next week as they host Portland on Thursday, Feb. 23 at 7 p.m. MST and Gonzaga on Saturday, Feb. 25 at 2 p.m. MST.
At 9-7 in West Coast Conference play and in fourth place behind San Diego (10-6), BYU has a chance to earn as high as a No. 3 seed in the WCC Tournament with two wins and some help from the Toreros. The Cougars are sure to be at least a No. 5 seed after Pacific's loss today. San Francisco is currently one game back of BYU in fifth place at 8-8 in the league standings. The No. 3 and 4 seeds earn byes to play in the quarterfinals Saturday, March 4, while the No. 5 seed would play Friday, March 3.
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