Utah Women’s Basketball Pull Through Bogged Down Game Against USC Trojans

Jan 27, 2023, 9:03 PM

SALT LAKE CITY – Utah women’s basketball pulled through with a win after a bogged down fourth quarter hosting USC at the Huntsman Center Friday night.

It took the Utes very little time to let the Trojans know who was running the show, gaining their first lead of the night at the 7:33 mark in the first quarter, but a string of fouls in fourth quarter slowed the game down to a snail’s pace. The Utah women ultimately went on to win the game 83 – 73.

The Utes finished the night shooting 53% from the field, 35% from the three, and 81% from the line while being consistent rebounding with 32.

Utah also finished the night raising $800 off of three-point shots for the Special Olympics as part of their “Beyond the Paint” community service initiative.

Utah And USC First Quarter

USC controlled the tip-off to start the game and after a few tries capitalized on a two-point jumper shot. However, Kennady McQueen answered right back with her own three-point shot just minutes into the first quarter.

Jenna Johnson tied the game up cleaning up her own layup about eight minutes into the game and Alissa Pili followed it up with a three to give Utah their first lead of the night, 8-5. Gianna Kneepkens and Johnson added to the lead putting the Utes up 12-7 by the 6-minute mark.

Kelcey Rees entered the game extending the Utes’ lead over USC 19-14 before the officials took a timeout at the 2:10 mark. The Trojans struggled to score for over two minutes allowing Utah to build the lead.

Second Quarter Utes

Pili entered the game to start the second quarter after taking a break to end the first and wasted no time putting points on the board putting Utah up 25-14. USC’s scoring drought continued in their first possession partially due to a foul that gave the ball back to Utah.

At the 8-minute mark the Trojans finally got a point on the board after Rees was called for a foul changing the score slightly 25-15.

Pili continued remind her old team why they should miss her through the second quarter helping to extend the Utah lead 36-21 with 4:41 remaining to play. The Utes asserted their dominance out-rebounding USC 15-10 and capitalizing on points from turnovers with five.

Utah And USC Third Quarter

Out of the half Utah and the Trojans traded shots back and forth, but USC never really gained ground and still trailed by 10 with just under seven to play. Kneepkens put and end to that with a big-time arch three putting the Utes up 60-47 with 5:37 in the third quarter.

Utah went on a 12-2 run over 3:09 in the third quarter and going five of seven from the field in the process. In the meantime, USC made up points from trips to the line, but the Utes continued to hold a strong lead through the third quarter 69-52.

USC ended the quarter with their own 7-0 run over the last three-minutes, but it wasn’t enough to gain a lead. Utah remained large and in charge 69-56 as the game moved on to the final quarter.

Utes Finish Up In The Fourth Quarter

Pili extended Utah’s lead 70-56 after a trip to the line to start the final quarter and USC followed it up with a travel that gave the ball immediately back to the Utes. After a few tries, Utah returned the travelling favor with no points.

USC went on a 6-0 run hitting two three-pointers to cut Utah’s lead, 74-68 with 4:19 on the clock. A foul sent Kneepkens to the line where she went two of two and gave the Utes a bit more cushion, 76-68. McQueen then came in hot with a much needed three to put Utah up 79-70.

McQueen puts another three in the hoop to help cushion Utah’s lead with seconds remaining in the game, 83-73.

Michelle Bodkin is the Utah Utes Insider for KSLsports.com and host of both the Crimson Corner Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and The Saturday Show (Saturday from 10 a.m.–12 p.m.) on The KSL Sports Zone. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram: @BodkinKSLsports

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Utah Women’s Basketball Pull Through Bogged Down Game Against USC Trojans