Utah Exits Pac-12 Women’s Tournament Early To Washington State

Mar 2, 2023, 9:08 PM

LAS VEGAS – After a magical week that included beating Stanford for a piece of the Pac-12 Title and sweeping postseason awards, the Utes made an early exit from the Pac-12 Women’s Tournament at the hands of Washington State.

Utah never could get into a consistent rhythm and the Cougars were relentless on defense outrebounding the Utes 35-28 while holding them to 38% shooting from the field and 24% from the three. Ultimately, Wazzu walked away with a 66-58 victory and advancement to Friday night’s round.

The Utes will now look to rest up and prepare for the NCAA Tournament with hopes of making a better run there than they did in the conference tournament.

Utah, Washington State Quarter One

Kennady McQueen found a lane for a layup to get Utah on the board first, Washington State followed it up with their own off the board tying the game at 2. Gianna Kneepkens tied the game up again around the seven-minute mark at 4 after the Cougars hit two free throws.

Dasia Young hit a three out of the break with the Cougars hitting a two on their next possession, Utah leading 9-8 with four to play in the quarter. Kelcey Rees got the cleanup points from a Kneepkens shot that didn’t quite make it. Young followed it up with a layup to give the Utes a 13-10 lead. Kneepkens hits the high arch three to close out the quarter with a 16-13 advantage.

Utes, Cougars Quarter Two

Out of the break, Utah continued to build a lead, 20-13 over the Cougars after being bogged down in the first quarter. Loni White added two off the board to put the Utes up 22-15 at the eight-minute mark.

Wazzu chipped away at Utah’s lead getting within two before regaining the lead 23-22. Teya Sidberry got Utah’s first field goal in five minutes to give them a 26-23 cushion with just over two minutes left to play. Kneepkens hit another three in the closing minutes of the half to put Utah up by four before Sidberry extended that lead at the line, 30-25. Wazzu got a chance at the line to move back within four, 30-26.

Utah, Washington State Third Quarter

Washington State continued to chip away at Utah’s lead before getting a steal from Alissa Pili to put them up, 39-37 near the five-minute mark.

After sitting out most of the first half in foul trouble, Young was back in the rotation hitting two much-needed shots from the line to tie the game back up at 39 out of the break. Rees bullied her way to the board to give Utah the lead, 41-39 with just over two minutes left in the quarter before the Cougars pounced taking a 44-41 lead. Wazzu continued to build their lead, 50-41 before the Utes called timeout to get sorted out.

Washington State didn’t let up hitting another three out of the timeout to close out the third quarter with a 53-41 lead.

Utes, Cougars Fourth Quarter

Kneepkens banks a three to start the fourth quarter to cut the Washington State lead, 53-44. With seven minutes left in the game, Wazzu hit their own three, 56-44. The Cougars continued to pad their lead, 58-46 before Kneepkens would go to the line cutting the difference, 58-46.

Utah capitalized off of an in-bound with Kennady McQueen hitting the board plus a free throw, 58-49 with four minutes left to play. Sidberry hits the board to get Utah within nine, 60-51 with under three minutes to play. Sidberry gets a steal and easy bucket 60-53 with under two minutes.

A trip to the line for Kneepkens gets Utah within five, 60-55 with just under a minute left to play. Pili bullied her way to the board and got the free throw to get Utah within three, 61-58 with 39.3 left on the clock. Washington unphased hits a three to lift themselves 64-58.

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 Exits Pac-12 Women’s Tournament Early To Washington State