Courtesy BYU photo
San Diego's Aubrey Ward-El puts up a shot against BYU during an NCAA women's basketball game, Saturday, Feb. 17, 2018 in Provo, Utah.
We had some opportunities to win this game but just didn't make plays when we had to make them. —BYU coach Jeff Judkins

PROVO — At times, statistics pretty much tell the entire story, and did so in BYU's 66-60 loss at the hands of San Diego on Saturday.

The Cougars (15-12) shot just 33 percent from the field, with the visiting Toreros (15-12) taking advantage, leaving the Marriott Center court loudly celebrating the win.

"We weren't making shots we normally make, and they had kids on their team step up and make shots," summed up BYU leading scorer Cassie Devashrayee, who managed 15 points in the loss, but on just 4-13 shooting from the field.

Yet again, Devashrayee warranted the focus of the opposing team's defensive scheming, which she's grown accustomed to with every game played. What she's not grown accustomed to is her teammates struggling to make shots, with many of those shots coming with open looks.

Starters Brenna Chase and Malia Nawahine went 4-16 and 4-13 from the field, respectively, as shots seemed to just rim out time and again during the most inopportune times.

Case in point would be Chase, who managed to swish through an open 3-pointer with just 1:03 remaining to cut the lead to 61-60, but a possession later failed to repeat the make from exactly the same spot on the court. Chase's second attempt came off a brilliant block on the defensive by Sara Hamson, but it came up just short.

"We had some opportunities to win this game but just didn't make plays when we had to make them," said BYU coach Jeff Judkins. "There was just a couple of plays we needed to make, and, for whatever reason, we didn't make it."

Other notable misses down the stretch included Devashrayee having two shots rim out in the game's final two minutes, one on a driving layup and the other on an open 3-point attempt.

"We had open looks and open shots, we just didn't hit them — I didn't hit them, and it hurt us," Devashrayee said. "It wasn't any different than other games, with how they guarded me, but I didn't hit shots I normally hit."

The Toreros set a good tone for themselves from the start. After nudging out a 15-14 lead after one quarter, they expaned the lead to 35-29 at the half. Leading the way for the visiting team was Aubrey Ward-El, who scored a game-high 16 points and Maya Hood, who not only scored 12, but drew the primary responsibility of guarding Devashrayee.

"They were on fire that first half," Devashrayee said of the Toreros. "We weren't, and I think that really hurt us."

The Cougars did cut the lead to just 52-48 after three quarters, but they couldn't regain the lead throughout, although on two occasions managed to cut it to just a one-point deficit.

"It seemed like we were going uphill the whole game, even from the start," Judkins said.

With the loss, BYU drops to 10-6 in West Coast Conference play and is now in danger of entering the conference tournament with a No. 3 seed. The Cougars will finish out the regular season with a home game against Portland on Thursday and then travel to take on Gonzaga the following Saturday.

"It's tough to lose, and hopefully we'll be able to bounce back Thursday, and then Saturday, and then go into the conference tournament with a lot of confidence," Judkins said.


Twitter: @BrandonCGurney