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Slow Start Proves Costly For Utes, Falling 68-55 At Washington State

Feb 21, 2021

Final Box Score (PDF) | Boxscore

PULLMAN, Wash. – A slow start and turnover troubles proved costly for the Utah Women's Basketball Team today against the Washington State Cougars as they fell 68-55 on the road. Utah is 5-15 overall this season and 4-15 in Pac-12 play.

The Utes would hold Washington State to 42 points in the final three quarters of the game, including just 13 points in the second and third quarters, but giving up 26 in the first and 25 total points off turnovers in the game would put the Utes in a hole they couldn't overcome.

Despite shooting 46-percent from the floor and 66-percent from the three in the first quarter, turnovers and scoring droughts plagued the Utes early on. After the Utes led the first couple of minutes, Washington State would go on a 17-2 run with Utah committing seven total turnovers to head into the second down 26-14.

Utah's defense improved in the second quarter, holding Washington State to 13 points while forcing seven turnovers, but unfortunately still couldn't get going on offense with their own turnovers continuing to haunt them. The Utes were able to whittle the Cougars' lead to nine with under five minutes to go in the period, but would go on to commit five turnovers in the last 4:45 to go into halftime down 15.

Utah's offense continued to struggle in the third quarter, shooting just 25-percent from the floor, but the Utes would control the ball with more confidence, only turning it over three times while holding the Cougars to 13 points.

After Washington State led by as many as 20 in the third quarter, the Utes were able to make it a 12-point game after holding the Cougars scoreless for the first 2:30 of the fourth quarter. Washington State would have an answer though, taking off on a 12-2 run that would be too much for the Utes to overcome in the final period, falling 68-55.

GAME LEADERS
Three underclassmen led the Utes in scoring today, starting with freshman Peyton McFarland who put up a career-high 14 points. She also recorded a team-high tying six rebounds and a team-best two blocks.

Sophomore Kemery Martín added 13 points that included a 6-for-8 outing from the free throw line while also contributing six rebounds and three assists. Freshman Kelsey Rees rounded out Utah's double-digit scorers with a career-best 10 points with six boards and a block.

TALKING ABOUT THE GAME: HEAD COACH LYNNE ROBERTS
"Not the outcome we ever want. Washington State is a really good team with the NCAA Tournament in their sights. We had a lousy first quarter, which continues to be our Achilles heel. I thought we did a solid job of fighting back and competing the other three quarters though. We just need to continue to fix our starts."

"Our three freshmen had 31 of our 55 points and we played the fourth quarter with those three and two sophomores, which is promising for the future."

STANDOUT STATS

  • Utah's freshmen (Kelsey Rees, Peyton McFarland, Kennady McQueen) combined for 31 of Utah's 55 points against Washington State.
  • Both McFarland and Rees scored career-highs today with 14 and 10 points, respectively. They both knocked down a career-high five field goals with Rees notching her first collegiate double-digit game.
  • Kemery Martín recorded a career-high six rebounds today. She is averaging 2.1 rebounds per game this season and 4.7 in the last three games.
  • Kennady McQueen notched a career-high three steals in the game.

UP NEXT
The Utes will host Colorado for their final regular season game on Sunday, Feb. 28 inside the Jon M. Huntsman Center. The game is set for a 12 p.m. MT tip and will air on Pac-12 Network.