Jenna Johnson Goes Off In Second Half, Lifts Utah To Win Over Cal

Feb 23, 2023, 6:55 PM | Updated: Feb 24, 2023, 10:13 am

SALT LAKE CITY – Alissa Pili and Jenna Johnson combined for 47 points to lead the No. 8 Utah women’s basketball team to a 101-76 win over Cal.

The No. 8 Utes (24-3, 14-3) hosted the California Bears (13-15, 4-13) at the Jon M. Huntsman Center on Thursday, February 23.

Johnson and Pili shot 69.7 percent (19-of-28) on their way to 47 points, eight rebounds, and five assists. Pili went 7-for-7 at the free throw line with each hitting a three-pointer.

Jayda Curry led all scorers with 28 points in the loss. Former Ute Kemery Martin finished with 16 points on 6-of-20 shooting.

First Quarter

Alissa Pili helped Utah sprint out to a fast start. The Utes jumped in front 15-2 less than five minutes in with the junior from Anchorage, Alaska leading the way with nine points on a perfect 4-of-4 shooting.

Utah cooled down after the hot start, going scoreless across the last 3:14 of the period. Despite struggling from the field, the Utes led Cal 22-13 after ten minutes.

Pili finished with 11 points, leading all scorers. Jenna Johnson and Kennady McQueen added four points apiece. Jayda Curry led the Bears with four points in the frame.

Second Quarter

Curry and Kemery Martin led the second-quarter attack for Cal, combining for 12 points in the first five minutes of the quarter as the Bears stormed back.

A lay-up from Curry tied the score at 35 with 3:20 left in the half.

With the score knotted at 39, junior forward Dasia Young hit a top of the key three. At the same moment, Cal’s Ugonne Onyiah fouled Pili. The free throws gave Utah a much-needed five-point possession after they had struggled offensively for most of the quarter.

With a buzzer-beating three, Isabel Palmer gave Utah a six-point lead heading into the half.

Pili was the only Ute in double figure scoring with 21 points. Curry led the Bears with 17 first-half points. Utah led the Bears 49-43.

Third Quarter

A 14-0 Ute run helped Utah open their largest lead of the game. Johnson and Gianna Kneepkens combined for 11 points during the run.

The Utes opened the period by  making nine of their first 11 shots. After shooting 3-of-11 from deep in the first half, Utah made their first two threes of the second half. Johnson’s eight points in five minutes helped her team to a 69-57 advantage with 4:27 left in the period.

Utah took a 75-62 lead in the fourth. Johnson finished with ten points on 5-of-5 shooting in the quarter. The Utes shot 70.6 percent (12-of-17) in the third quarter.

Fourth Quarter

Utah made their first three shots from deep in the fourth quarter to increase their advantage. After a pair of triples from freshman Lani White, Johnson stayed hot, beating the shot-cock to give the Utes a 90-69 lead.

Utah went on to win 101-76.

Up Next

Utah closes out their magical 2023 regular season on Saturday, February 25 when they welcome in the No. 3 Stanford Cardinal. The Cardinal and Utes currently occupy first and second place in the Pac-12 conference standings.

Tip-off for this game is scheduled for 12 p.m. (MT).

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Jenna Johnson Goes Off In Second Half, Lifts Utah To Win Over Cal