Utah’s Elite Eight Hopes Dashed By LSU

Mar 24, 2023, 5:40 PM

GREENVILLE, SC – Utah versus LSU lived up to the billing coming down to the wire, but only one escaped Bon Secours Wellness Arena alive, and unfortunately it wasn’t the Utes whose Elite Eight hopes were dashed.

Utah battled hard, but came up short to the Tigers, 66-63 in an epic Sweet 16 battle in Greenville.

Utah finished the night shooting 39% from the field, 36% from the three while bringing down 31 rebounds and 11 assists. Gianna Kneepkens finished the night leading the Utes in points with 20 while Issy Palmer and Alissa Pili was hot on her heels with 15 and 14 respectively.

LSU, Utah First Quarter

The game started with both teams getting on the board after free throws. LSU took the lead early on, 6-2 after a jump shot and layup. Turnovers and not bringing down the rebounds was a problem for the Utes early on and led to an LSU three-point shot before Issy Palmer put two another two on the board for the Utes, 9-4. Gianna Kneepkens put a big three on the board before LSU called timout, chipping away at the Tigers’ lead, 13-9 with 4:46 left in the first quarter.

Palmer got a key steal out of the break that she lobbed to Kneepkens for the easy layup putting Utah within two of LSU, 13-11. Jenna Johnson earned a trip to the line that put Utah within on point of LSU, 13-12. Alissa Pili‘s trip to the line tied the Utes and Tigers at 13 with 1:25 left in the first quarter. LSU briefly pulled ahead before Kennady McQueen gave the Utes their first lead of the night, 16-15, with just seconds left to play in the quarter. LSU and Utah would ultimately end the first quarter tied at 16.

Tigers, Utes Second Quarter

McQueen put another three on the board putting Utah back on top, 19-16, out of the quarter break. Johnson hit a shot off the glass extending Utah’s lead over LSU, 21-18. Alissa Pili put another off the glass for the Utes as the Tigers went on a 2:28 minute scoring drought, 23-18. Kneepkens scooted her way to the board making it a 25-18 contest at the 5:35 mark in the second quarter.

With under four minutes to play Utah and LSU were tied again at 27. The Tigers took the lead again with under three minutes to play 29-27, but Kneepkens quickly sank a 3-pointer to put Utah back on top, 30-29. Dasia Young added her own three to give Utah a little room, 33-29, with under a minute left in the half.

LSU, Utah Third Quarter

Utah and LSU tied back up early in the third quarter at 37. The Tigers took the lead 39-37 with under six minutes to play in the third quarter, Utah meanwhile was on a three-minute scoring drought. A trip to the line for Pili quickly tied the game back up at 39. After LSU jumped ahead again, Pili sank a three to give Utah the one-point lead, 42-41 with under four minutes left to play.

LSU regained the lead with 1:48 on the clock, 44-42. Palmer answered back tying things up again at 44. Palmer followed it up by hitting a three with just seconds remaining to give the Utes a one-point lead heading into the fourth quarter, 47-46.

Tigers, Utes Fourth Quarter

The Tigers jumped ahead by one at the start of the quarter, 48-47. LSU continued to build their lead, 50-47. Palmer’s trip to the line helped cut the Tigers’ lead down to one, 50-49. Pili bullied her way to the glass and regained the lead for the Utes, 51-50 with 6:15 left in the game.

LSU built back a lead with under five to play, 55-52. A trip to the line for the Tigers extended that lead, 58-52 with 4:30 left to play. A three for LSU sent the stadium into pandemonium, 60-52 with 3:24 on the clock. Kneepkens went two of two from the line to help close the gap, 60-54. Kneepkens came in clutch with the three before Utah called timeout, 61-57 with 2:45 on the clock.

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’s Elite Eight Hopes Dashed By LSU