Women's Basketball Defeats Utah Valley, 65-57
SALT LAKE CITY – The Utah women's basketball picked up a hard-fought 65-57 victory over Utah Valley on Saturday afternoon from the Jon M. Huntsman Center. Jenna Johnson led the Utes with her 23 points and 14 rebounds.
Johnson's 14 rebounds were a career-high. Gianna Kneepkens scored 10 points to round out the double-figure scorers for Utah (8-2). The Utes shot 38.3 percent from the floor against Utah Valley (5-5).
The Utes and Wolverines were locked in a tight contest for the first quarter as they traded buckets to start. Three minutes into the game, Utah had a second-chance layup by Gianna Kneepkens, that gave the Utes the lead. The teams continued to trade buckets, and a layup by Peyton McFarland gave Utah a 12-10 advantage. The game would remain close for the final three minutes of the quarter and trailed Utah Valley 19-18 after the first quarter of play.
Opening the second quarter, the Utes came out and scored four straight points by Dasia Young and took a three-point lead, 22-19. The Utes started extending the lead, and the lead went to seven, 29-22, after a layup by Jenna Johnson. Utah would get the lead to seven multiple times in the second quarter, but the Wolverines came back and cut the lead to five at halftime, 37-32.
Coming out of halftime, Utah grew the lead to nine points, 43-34, following a pair of free throws by Kneepkens. Utah could not get the lead over ten points in the third quarter, and the Utah Valley closed the game to a four-point game, 47-43, with 2:37 left in the game. The lead was down to one before Young got a steal and a layup to close out the third quarter.
Utah Valley took the lead early in the fourth quarter when Josie Williams hit a layup. The lead would go back-and-forth, and Utah took a one-point lead, 56-54, after a Johnson layup. Utah Valley regained the lead after a Tahlia White three-pointer. Utah's Brynna Maxwell hit a three on the next possession that put the Utes on a 9-0 run to close out, and Utah came away with a 65-57 victory.
Utah had two players score in double-figures, with Jenna Johnson leading the way with 21 points, while Gianna Kneepkens rounded out the double-figure scorers with 10 points. Johnson also led the team with a career-high 14 rebounds.
TALKING ABOUT THE GAME: HEAD COACH LYNNE ROBERTS
"Give Utah Valley a big tip of the hat, and I thought they did a really nice job today. I thought they came to compete and gave us a run for our money. I'm happy we got the win and that our players found a way to figure it out. It was not pretty. We missed so many shots tonight, especially three-pointers. We finished the game on a 9-0 run, and our defense was good throughout. Sometimes it's good to win in a gritty fashion and win a hard game when nothing is coming easy. Again, Utah Valley did a really good job. We went 1-21 from three, and we still found a way."
Utah's Jenna Johnson led the Utes as she picked up her second straight double-double. She led the Utes with game-high 21 points and 14 rebounds. The 14 rebounds were a career-high for Johnson. She was 9-for-13 shooting from the floor in the game.
Utah returns to action on Tuesday, Dec. 21, when they travel to Norman, Okla., to face the University of Oklahoma in non-conference action. Tip-off from the Lloyd Noble Center is set for 5 p.m. MT.
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