Utes Hold On For Third Consecutive Pac-12 Win In Sunday Matinee
SALT LAKE CITY – The University of Utah women’s basketball team used staunch defense and a balanced offensive attack on their way to their third Pac-12 win in a row 72-66.
The Utah Utes (4-4, 13-7) hosted the Washington State Cougars (6-4, 14-7) at the Jon M. Huntsman Center on Sunday, February 6.
The Cougars came into the game riding a team high four game winning streak and currently sit fourth in the Pac-12, just 3 games behind No. 2 Stanford. Utah sits squarely in the middle of the Pac-12, tied with UCLA and Arizona state for seventh in the conference.
A dynamic guard duo of Krystal and Charlisse Leger-Walker lead the Cougars this season. Charlisse’s 17.3 points per game lead Washington State and she is the third leading scorer conference wide.
Fabulous freshman Jenna Johnson closed the quarter with an offensive rebound put back on a missed Isabel Palmer drive that gave Utah a 21-18 lead after one.
The Utes used a 14-0 run across the first and second quarters to build an 11 point lead.
Ten rebounds from Kelsey Rees, including five offensive boards allowed Utah to score 11 second chance points while they out-rebounded Washington State 21-14 in the first half.
The Cougars struggled to penetrate Utah’s defense in the second quarter as they were limited to 2-12 from the field. Each of their field goals in the quarter was from beyond the arc, keeping Washington State within striking distance.
The Utes continued to pull away in the second half as Washington State had no answer for Utah’s perimeter passing and offensive rebounding.
After shooting 1-7 in the first half, Gianna Kneepkens hit a pair of three’s in the third quarter as the Utes extended their advantage to 15.
Offensively, Utah seemed to have the Cougar offense figured out, once again limiting them to under 40 percent shooting and only allowing 12 points.
The Utes opened the final quarter with a comfortable 58-39 lead.
In similar fashion to a recent game on the road against Arizona State, Utah had just enough to hold on to the lead after Washington State made a fourth quarter run, cutting the lead to as few as five points with 2:28 left.
From there, it became a free throw shooting contest as Utah went 7-9 from the charity stripe to finish with the 73-64 win.
The Utes will stay home to host USC on Wednesday, February 9 with tipoff scheduled for 2 p.m. (MDT).
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