SAN ANTONIO (ABC4 Sports) – The BYU women’s basketball team nearly pulled off its second straight upset at the NCAA Tournament.
But the Cougars could not hold off 3rd-seeded Arizona in a 52-46 loss to the Wildcats in the second round.
Shaylee Gonzales led BYU with 16 points, while Tegan Graham poured in 13 off the bench.
“It was a good fight tonight,” head coach Jeff Judkins said. “Both teams fought very hard and were very physical. In games like this, it comes down right to the end and which team hits the big shot or makes the right play. I’m really proud of our team. This has been a hard season, but a really fun season. To be able to get this far and knock on the door and come close to making it to the Sweet 16 was really great for this team.”
The Cougars had a four point lead in the fourth quarter, but Aari McDonald and Cate Reese led the Wildcats back. McDonald finished with 17 points and 11 rebounds, while Reese added 12 points for Arizona.
Paige Harding, who scored 28 points in BYU’s upset win over Rutgers on Monday, battled through an injury to her shooting hand and finished with just two points and four rebounds in 22 minutes of action.
Lauren Gustin had eight points and 11 rebounds for the Cougars, who end the season with a record of 19-6.
“I totally believed in my team,” said Gonzales, who also had nine rebounds. “It’s so unfortunate. It’s very frustrating to have that lead and to lose it. Lots of people overlooked us. Lots of people thought that we didn’t deserve to be in this NCAA Tournament. I hope that these couple games really proved to everyone what kind of team we are.”
BYU had a 26-23 lead at the half, but Arizona opened the second half on a 13-7 run to take the lead. Neither team led by more than four until the final seconds.
The Cougars shots just 35.3 percent from the field and committed 15 turnovers.