Utah Women Stamp Their Ticket To Sweet 16

Mar 19, 2023, 7:17 PM | Updated: 7:19 pm

SALT LAKE CITY – The game got uncomfortably close in the fourth quarter, but Utah women’s basketball stayed strong and stamped their ticket to the Sweet 16 next weekend in South Carolina.

The Utes walked away with a 63-56 over Princeton in front of a rowdy Huntsman Center crowd that was with them to the end.

Utah finished the night shooting 40% from the field, and 7% from the three. Alissa Pili led the team in all three major statistics- points 28, rebounds 10, and assists 3.

Princeton, Utah First Quarter

Kennady McQueen put Utah on the board first after being fouled during a three-point shot attempt, going 2 of 3. Princeton tied it up with a jumper. Alissa Pili put another in the bucket with the Tigers answering quickly again to make it tied 4-point game. With under five minutes to play, Utah built up a small lead, 11-8 over the Tigers. Gianni Kneepkens came in clutch with a steal and score to extend the lead, 13-8.

At the 1:22 mark Pili bullied her way to the post and then turned around a minute later to drain a three giving the Utes a 20-12 advantage to end the quarter.

Tigers, Utes Second Quarter

Teya Sidberry connected with Pili for points. Pili made an incredible 2-point shot heading to the ground that also got her a trip to the line, extending Utah’s lead, 27-14.

Princeton made it a 10-point game at the 5:30 mark, but Pili turned around and put another two in the bucket to make it a 29-17 game.

Out of the break Kennady McQueen sank a buzzer-beater three as the shot clock expired giving Utah a 32-19 advantage with about four minutes left to play. Utah would go on to end the first half with a 35-26 lead.

Princeton, Utah Third Quarter

Utah and Princeton continued to battle into the third quarter with the Tigers trying to close ground on the Utes, 40-33. Dasia Young hit a critical shot off the glass after checking into the game, but Princeton quickly answered back with a three making it a 44-38 game with 1:54 left in the third quarter.

The Tigers weren’t through chipping away at Utah’s lead getting within four, 44-40 with just over a minute left to play. Princeton got within two, but a trip to the line for McQueen helped give the Utes some space again, 46-42.

Tigers, Utes Fourth Quarter

Pili hit a big shot off the glass giving Utah a six-point lead, but trip to the foul line for Princeton brought it back to a four-point game, 48-44. With under seven to play, the Tigers got back within two of the Utes, 50-48. McQueen hit a key shot off the glass with a trip to the line to give the Utes some breathing room, 53-48.

The Tigers continued to try and claw their way to a lead, but could never get much closer than within six points.

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 Stamp Their Ticket To Sweet 16