Thomas' Season-High 25 Points Lead No. 10 Arizona Past Utah
TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) Sam Thomas scored a season-high 25 points and tied a career best with six 3-pointers, and No. 10 Arizona beat Utah 76-64 Friday night for its fifth straight win in the series.
Cate Reese added 14 points and Koi Love scored all eight of her points in the final four minutes of the second quarter for the Wildcats (13-2, 3-2 Pac-12), who had lost two of their previous three after reaching No. 4 in the AP Top 25, the highest regular-season ranking in program history.
Gianna Kneepkens had 15 points, Brynna Maxwell had 13 and Peyton McFarland had 12 for Utah (9-5, 0-2), which played its third game since Dec. 21 after a 23-day COVID-19 pause.
Utah entered as the highest-scoring team in the Pac-12 at 84.7 points per game but was held to a season low. Arizona entered with the best scoring defense in the league at 53.3 points per game.
Thomas had 11 points and four 3-pointers in the first half and Love had eight points, a steal and an assist in the final four minutes of the second quarter, when the Wildcats outscored the Utes 19-4 for a 41-26 halftime lead.
Arizona built its lead to 46-26 early in the third quarter before Kneepkens keyed a run that brought the Utes within six points twice early in the fourth quarter, the last at 56-50.
Thomas had eight points, including her fifth 3, and Reese added a layup in a 10-0 run as Arizona regained control at 66-50.
Utah committed 22 turnovers, one short of its season high. The Utes had seven giveaways in the final four minutes of the second quarter, when Arizona turned on a full-court press.
Utah: Despite coming up short against the Pac-12's highest ranked teams No. 2 Stanford and Arizona, the Utes have the look of a team that will be there for the long haul. Utah trimmed a 20-point deficit to six in the second half, and it has the highest scoring offense in the league.
Arizona: The Wildcats showed no ill effects from the contentious 68-66 overtime loss at Oregon last Saturday, with their disruptive forcing the issue against Utah. Arizona came away with 22 turnovers, the 13th time in 15 games it has had at least 15.
Utah: Plays at Arizona State on Sunday in the second of a three-game road trop that concludes against Oregon on Wednesday.
Arizona: Plays host to Colorado on Sunday