The Best Come From Behind Win, as BYU Beats Utah in MWC Semifinal Game
LAS -- BYU outscored No. 13 Utah 37-10 in the second half to erase a 20 point halftime deficit and defeat the Utes 57-50 in the semifinals of the EAS Mountain West Conference Tournament on Friday.
The Cougars amazing second half comeback was fueled by tenacious defense and rebounding that limited Utah to 11 percent shooting in the second half.
"Our second-half comeback was one of the biggest comebacks I've been involved in as a coach," BYU head coach Trent Shippen said. "The start of the second half was the key. We started to get back in to the game real quick thanks to some big rebounds and a lot of hustle."
Caroline Beus had a game-high 14 points and scored six of those in a stretch to open the second half.
"This was the most exciting game ever I've played in my career," said senior center Beus.
Guards Stacy Jensen and Erin Thorn scored 13 a piece as both hit key three pointers down the stretch. Jensen hit a trey to even the score 46-46 with Utah at the 6:46 mark. The lead changed hands several times before Thorn broke a 50-50 tie with 58 seconds to play, hitting a leaning three-pointer as the shot clock expired.
"The defender went for my first ball fake and I put it up off-balance," Thorn said. "I was just fortunate it went in."
The Cougars snapped Utah's 14-game win streak and 16-game conference win streak. Utah outrebounded BYU 40-33, but the loose balls and hustle plays went BYU's way the second half. Shippen stressed to his players to make the most of every possession and they did.
"We played every possession extremely hard," Shippen said. "Our girls responded at halftime with a lot of energy."
BYU will play CSU in the EAS MWC Women's Basketball Championship, Saturday night in a 9:30 p.m. PST tip off. The game can be seen live on ESPN 2 from the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas.
The Rams are in the title matchup after defeating New Mexico 70-65 in Friday's earlier semifinal game.
For Utah, Lauren Beckman and Kristina Andersen scored in double digit points with 11 and 10 respectively. The BYU win over the Utes coincides with Utah's last loss on Feb. 26 of last season. Since then, Utah had won its last 16 straight conference games.