Women’s Hoops Comeback Falls Short Against #10 Arizona
TUSCON, Ariz. – In a tough battle against the No. 10 ranked Arizona Wildcats, Utah women's basketball fell short as Utah was defeated 76-64 on Friday night at the McKale Center. Freshman Gianna Kneepkens led the team with 15 points on the night.
Utah (9-5, 0-2 Pac-12) shot 46.8 percent from the floor. The Utes scored 32 points in the paint against the Wildcats (13-2, 3-2 Pac-12). Brynna Maxwell followed with 13 points, and Peyton McFarland followed with 12 points to round out the double-figure scorers. Dru Gylten picked up six assists on the night to lead the Utes. Kneepkens and McFarland led the team with six rebounds each.
The Utes came out and took a 4-3 lead after Peyton McFarland scored the first four points. McFarland had a solid first quarter as she scored eight of Utah's 17 points. Another layup by McFarland put the Utes ahead 9-5, with 5:42 left in the quarter. Arizona came back and tied the game at 13-13. After layups by Brynna Maxwell and Dasia Young, the lead went back to four. The quarter ended with Utah leading 17-15.
The Wildcats took a 20-17 lead a minute into the second quarter. Gianna Kneepkens bounced back and hit a three, tying the game at 20. With the game tied at 22, Arizona went on an 11-0 run taking a 33-22 lead. With 3:30 left in the first half, the Utes scored four more points, a three by Young and a free throw by Inês Vieira. Utah trailed 41-26 at halftime.
Arizona stretched the lead to 20 points before the Utes started to come back. Utah battled, and after a pair of free throws by Kneepkens, the lead was down to 14 points, 46-32. Over the final 1:15 of the third quarter, Utah cut the lead to single-digits, after a Kneepkens three and a four-point play by Maxwell. The Wildcats hit a layup to end the quarter, and Utah trailed 54-43 after three.
Utah continued attacking and scored the first five points of the fourth quarter, capped by a Kelsey Rees layup putting the Utes down six, 54-48. The Wildcats slowly extended the lead back to double-digits, but the Utes continued to battle and, late in the fourth quarter, would get the lead back to nine, 70-61, with 1:55 left. However, this would be as close as Utah would get in the game and fall to Arizona, 76-64.
Utah had three players score in double-figures as Gianna Kneepkens led the team with 15 points. Bryanna Maxwell and Peyton McFarland rounded out the double-figure scorers with 13 and 12 points. Dru Gylten picked up six assists and now has 486 for her career.
TALKING ABOUT THE GAME: HEAD COACH LYNNE ROBERTS
"I'm proud of my team- Arizona is talented and tough and physical, and this is a really hard place to play. We had a couple minute stretch in the 2nd quarter where we turned it over, and they capitalized on it. We couldn't quite get back on top after that stretch. But we never quit and cut it to 6 late in the 4th. Sam Thomas is a tremendous player and made huge plays tonight when her team needed it- hats off to her."
Gianna Kneepkens continued to shine for the Utes since she was put into the starting lineup. She scored in double-figures in four of the six starts and led the team to score twice. She scored 15 points against the Wildcats. She is averaging 11.4 over this stretch.
Utah heads to Tempe, Ariz., to face Arizona State in Pac-12 action on Sunday from the Desert Financial Arena. Tip-off is set for 2 p.m. MT. You can catch the game on the Pac-12 Networks or turn on ESPN700 and hear Tyson Ewing on the call.
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