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Utah Suffers Tough Loss To USC 84-80

Utah Utes guard Kiana Moore (0) drives to the basket during the Utah versus USC women's basketball game at the Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City on Friday, Feb. 8, 2019. (Steve Griffin, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The No. 17 University of Utah women’s basketball team suffered their third straight loss in heartbreaking fashion to the USC Trojans 84-80.

Dru Gylten finished with a career-high 24 points on 7-for-9 shooting from the field to lead the Utes. Megan Huff had 13 points and 10 rebounds.

For USC, Mariya Moore scored 23 points, while Aliyah Mazyck had 16 points.

Utah had a hard time defending the Trojans in the first half as they were outscored 23-19 in the first quarter and 27-23 in the second quarter to trail 50-42 at halftime.

USC shot 54 percent from the field, while the Utes made 55 percent of their field goals.

“Our defense was horrendous in the first half,” said Utah head coach Lynne Roberts after her teams’ performance in the first 20 minutes of play.

Dru Gylten had 16 points on 5-for-5 shooting from the field and 2-for-2 from downtown in the first half.

The third quarter was much the same for until the Utes cut the lead to 8 after trailing by double digits.

Utah woke up in the fourth quarter by going on a 9-3 run to start the final period and trailed by just three points.

With two minutes left in the game, Utah crawled back to within two points before USC stretched the lead back to four.

Gylten made two free throws to cut the lead to two once again with 34 seconds left.

USC had the ball with 13 second left when Erika Bean stole the ball and gave the Utes a chance to tie the game.

The Trojans blocked Niyah Beckers’ potential game-winning three pointer and USC sealed the deal at the free throw line.

Utah dropped to 18-4 overall and 7-4 in Pac-12 play and have lost their last three games. They will return to action on Sunday at 7 p.m. against UCLA on the Pac-12 Networks. The Bruins are 14-9 overall and 7-4 in conference play.