Anonymous | Posted: 11 Jan 2001 | Updated: 11 Jan 2001

Cougars Lose MWC Opener to San Diego State

SAN DIEGO -- The BYU women's basketball team missed a shot at the buzzer that would have sent the game into overtime as they lost 63-61 to San Diego State in its Mountain West Conference opener, Thursday night.

The Cougars could not hold onto a six-point halftime lead as the Aztecs outscored BYU 38-30 in the second half, due in part to an overwhelming San Diego State free-throw advantage. BYU shot only one free throw in the second half, while San Diego State made good on 17 of its 22 attempts. The Cougars struggled for the second game in a row to consistently score points in the second half as they had a six-minute span in which they struggled to score. BYU had 21 turnovers and many of those came at key moments down the stretch in the second half.

"We've got to take better care of the ball," head coach Trent Shippen said. "We had some key turnovers down the stretch that really hurt us."

Erin Thorn and Heather Cheesman led a balanced Cougar scoring attack, with 11 points each. Chanell Rose and Caroline Beus each chipped in nine points while guard Stacy Jensen had eight points and six assists on the night. BYU outrebounded San Diego State 37-29, but it was not enough to overcome a hot Aztec team, which is 4-1 at home this season.

"We've got to keep hanging in there," Shippen said. "We've been on the short end of these close games, but we need to take care of the ball and shoot better down the stretch."

The loss drops the Cougars to 8-6 (0-1) on the season, while San Diego State improves to 9-5 (1-0) on the year. BYU now travels to Las Vegas to play UNLV Saturday. The game is scheduled to tip-off at 7:35 p.m., Pacific time.