Second Half Explosion Pushes Utes Past Huskies, 84-63
SALT LAKE CITY – The University of Utah Women's Basketball team exploded for 53 points in the second half to pull away for an 84-63 victory over the Washington Huskies Sunday afternoon, improving to 3-5 overall and 2-5 in Pac-12 play.
After being held scoreless in the first half, sophomore Brynna Maxwell went off for 24 points in the third and fourth quarters, shooting 5-of-7 from the floor, which included three from beyond the arc. Niyah Becker also gave the Utes a spark off the bench in the second half, scoring nine points with the bench totaling 30 points in today's game.
The Utes shot 46-percent from the floor and 42-percent from the three in the first quarter, but five turnovers in the first period allowed the Huskies to keep it close, heading into the second with the Utes leading 15-12. Utah only shot 16-percent from the three in the second quarter with Washington taking a three-point lead with under four minutes to go, but the Utes continued to maintain composure, heading into halftime with a three-point advantage.
The Utes started to click on both ends of the court in the third quarter, shooting 50-percent from the floor as a team while also out-rebounding the Huskies 12-3 in the period. The turning point in the quarter came with 1:48 on the clock when the Utes would hit three straight from beyond the arc with Maxwell scoring Utah's final five points of the period to give the Utes a 55-45 lead into the fourth.
Utah would go on to score 29 points in the fourth quarter, the most in a quarter but the Utes this season, which included 15 from Maxwell. The Utes were on fire in the fourth, breaking things open by shooting 66-percent from the floor and 60-percent from the three with Maxwell going a perfect 3-for-3 from the floor, 2-for-2 from the three and 7-for-7 from the free throw line to propel the Utes to its 84-63 victory.
Utah finished its third victory of the season with four players in double-digits, including Maxwell's game-high 24 points. She finished the game shooting 5-for-10 overall (3-6 from the three) and 11-of-12 from the free throw line, which was a career-high for the sophomore.
Becker had a standout game with 12 points on 5-for-8 shooting with two key three-pointers, also adding five rebounds, an assist and a steal. Lola Pendande and Dru Gylten contributed 10 points each with Pendande adding six boards and two steals and Gylten putting up a game-high seven assists and three steals.
TALKING ABOUT THE GAME: HEAD COACH LYNNE ROBERTS
"I told the team after the game when we huddled up that we just need to celebrate the victories and celebrate the wins. Whether it is an actual win against an opponent or a win in another way because this has been a really challenging year for everybody. We have to find the sunlight and celebrate it. It felt good to win, to win convincingly and just get some confidence back."
"Brynna really got herself going and that was fun to see. It was uncharacteristic of her to not score a basket in the first half, but I thought defensively she was doing great, so you just kind of assume the next one is in with her. When she gets going like that it is really fun to watch. She has such a quick release and when she is feeling it like that we are pretty confident that she is going to make shots."
Brynna Maxwell finished the game with 24 points, her seventh-career game with 20+ points, and her second of the season (34 vs. Oregon State). She has now hit a combined 31 three-pointers in the games she has reached 20-or-more points in her career (4.4 per game).
Maxwell's 11 made free throws ties for the most by a Pac-12 player entering today's game and was a career-high for the sophomore after she knocked down 10 against Oregon State on Dec. 8.
The sophomore also achieved another milestone today with her 24 points, pushing her over the 500-career points mark in just 39 games. She now has 519 career points as a Ute (13.3 per game).
Utah will head to California for its first series against the L.A. schools this week, starting with USC on Friday, Jan. 8. The game is set to tip off at 7 p.m. MT on Pac-12 Networks.