No. 15 Utah Women’s Basketball Beats Rival BYU In Provo

Dec 10, 2022, 7:17 PM | Updated: 7:17 pm
Utah Utes forward Alissa Pili (35) goes to the hoop during a game against the BYU Cougars at the Marriott Center in Provo on Saturday, Dec. 10, 2022. (Courtesy of Deseret News)
(Courtesy of Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY – The University of Utah women’s basketball team remained undefeated as they beat the BYU Cougars, 76-59, in Provo in a game where the Utes never fell below a 10-point lead.

The Utes were led by the tremendous scoring of Alissa Pili. Pili scored 28 points on the night and came up with several key steals throughout the game to propel the Utes to victory.

Utah shot 55 percent from the field on the night, an insane clip. BYU also had an impressive shooting night putting up 40 percent from the field throughout the night.

Rebounding came out as a wash as BYU outrebounded Utah by 1 32-31. While BYU struggled with turnovers in the first half they limited them in the second half and both teams finished with less than 15 turnovers in what was a very cleanly played game by both teams.

BYU’s Nina Falatea had an impressive night, getting some very impressive scoring chances throughout the night. In the end, finishing with 18 points on the night. Lauren Gustin also posted 18 points for the Cougars in the loss.

Alissa Pili came out of the gates on fire to start the game, scoring 9 points in the first quarter of the game alone. Pili’s ability to drive the basket and establish position in the paint are unmatched on this Utah team and has bought a different element the team lacked last year.

Utah cruised out to an early 20-10 lead, propelled by the tremendous defense, especially in the BYU passing lanes.

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A Gianna Kneepkins three in the second quarter pushed the Utes lead back up to 12. The Utes entered halftime with a 39-27 lead as the Cougars did an excellent job controlling a Utah offense that ranked number one in the nation coming into the game.

Alissa Pili led the way with 15 points going into the half while the Cougars leading scorer heading into the half was Nani Falatea with eight points.

The defensive fight from the Cougars in the first half was impressive, the Utes still shot an impressive 50 percent from the field in the first half while the Cougars shot 34 percent.

A major statistical difference at halftime was turnovers, BYU committed eight to Utah’s just three turnovers in the first half.

The Utes started strong in the second half on a nearly ten-point run that put the team up 49-34, punctuated by a diving Alisa Pili steal. The Cougar offense started the half on a cold street going 0-4 to start the third quarter.

Despite a rough night for BYU, Falatea was a bright spot for the Cougars throughout the game. Her ability to carve the defense and get to the basket were both on full display throughout the game.

The Utes took 16 point lead into the fourth quarter on another run going into the final frame of play. The story of the night was the inability of BYU to respond to Utah runs.

The Cougars did find a bit of footing late going on a 6-0 run to start the fourth and nearly cut the lead below ten.

The story down the stretch of the game though was Pili, who dominated in the paint and leveraged defenders. Pili adds a completely different aspect to Utah’s game that the Utes just didn’t have this year, the physical game.

Gianna Kneepkens opened up the three-point shooting for the Utes down the stretch, nailing five threes down the stretch to push Utah’s lead to 20 down the stretch. Kneepkens finished with 18 points on the night and was Utah’s second-leading scorer.

The Utes walk out of BYU with a 76-59 win over BYU. The sky appears to be the limit for the Utes but the tests start coming quickly. The Pac-12 is the best conference in college basketball from top to bottom and the Utes may be in the top tier of those teams now, we will see soon.

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No. 15 Utah Women’s Basketball Beats Rival BYU In Provo