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Utes Force 23 Turnovers In ‘Must-Win’ Game Over UCLA

Feb 20, 2022, 4:07 PM
Gianna Kneepkens hold's form after taking a shot against 
UCLA on February 20, 2022. Thanks to Becc...
Gianna Kneepkens hold's form after taking a shot against UCLA on February 20, 2022. Thanks to Becca Jonas & UCLA Athletics

SALT LAKE CITY – Utah women’s basketball head coach Lynne Roberts didn’t mince words when she said this was a game the Utes had to win in order to reach their goals.

“This was a must win, there’s no question about it,” Roberts said following the Utes 75-70 win. It was the first win against UCLA in the Pac-12 era.

UCLA (6-8, 11-11) hosted the Utes (7-6, 16-9) at Pauley Pavilion on Sunday, February 20.

Looking to rebound after a 83-62 blowout loss to USC on Friday, Utah struggled to get their offense on track against the Bruins in the first half.

UCLA limited one of the most prolific offenses in the Pac-12 to 26.5 percent shooting in the first 20 minutes.

The Utes stayed within striking distance by forcing 11 first half Bruin turnovers while only giving the ball away three times themselves.

After some halftime adjustments, Utah put together a sterling third quarter.

Beginning with an 8-0 run, the Utes would go on to force 10 Bruin turnovers, leading to a 25-9 scoring advantage in the quarter.

The Utes bookended the quarter with another 8-0 run thanks to a pair of Brynna Maxwell threes, giving the Utes an eight-point advantage heading into the final quarter.

The Bruins got within three points with 12 seconds remaining, but it was too little, too late for the Bruins. Maxwell knocked down a pair of free throws after an intentional foul to clinch the 75-70 Utah win.

Limited to 25 minutes of action in the previous four games due to a foot injury, freshman Jenna Johnson returned to lead the Utes with 20 points in 29 minutes of play.

Maxwell scored all 15 of her points in the second half. Kneepkens (17) and Kennady McQueen (10) also finished in double-figure scoring.

Ilmar’l Thomas led the Bruins with 20 points.

Utah returns to Salt Lake City where they will face the Oregon State Beavers on Thursday, February 24. Tipoff is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. (MDT)

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