Women's Basketball Downs ASU, 72-63
TEMPE, Ariz. – The Utah women's basketball team earned its first Pac-12 victory of the season on Sunday afternoon as they defeated Arizona State, 72-63, at the Desert Financial Arena. The Utes hit nine three-pointers in the win, the 11th time this season making nine or more in a single game.
Utah (10-5, 1-2 Pac-12) shot 37.9 percent and was led in scoring by freshman Gianna Kneepkens. Kneepkens scored 20 points on 7-of-14 shooting, including hitting four three-pointers in the win over Arizona State (9-6, 1-1 Pac-12). Brynna Maxwell followed with 15 points.
The Utes came out on fire in the first quarter against the Sun Devils as Utah made three of their first four three-point attempts on the day. Gianna Kneepkens hit two threes, and Kennady McQueen followed with another, and Utah led 11-4. Over the final 7:24 of the first quarter, Utah went on a 19-2 run. Brynna Maxwell came off the bench and drilled a three with 2:30 left in the quarter, making it 16-4 in favor of Utah. The Utes lead grew to 21-4 following the first quarter of play.
Opening the second quarter, Maxwell hit a three-pointer making it 24-4 in favor of the Utes. Utah continued to shoot the three-pointer well as they hit seven in the first half. Isabel Palmer hit one of those threes for the Utes, extending the lead to 29-6. The Utes increased the lead and stretched it to 28 after another Kneepkens three. McQueen hit a free throw stretching the lead to 29, the largest lead of the game. Utah took a 24-point lead into halftime, 46-22. The Utes defense forced the Sun Devils to shoot 29 percent in the first half.
Coming out of the half, the Utes shooting cooled off as they shot 26 percent from the floor in the quarter. The Sun Devils continued to chip away at the Utes lead and a three by Gabriela Bosquez three trimmed the Utes lead down to 15, 48-33. Utah's lead went back to 17 after Dasia Young found Kelsey Rees for a layup. Arizona State continued to attack and trimmed the lead down to 13, 55-42, to end the third quarter.
The Sun Devils continued to cut into the Utes lead in the fourth quarter. With 7:28 left in the game, the lead was down to nine, 55-46. Utah would get back to 12 points, but again the Sun Devils came back, and after a three by Ayzhiana Basallo put the lead down to six, 60-54. Kneepkens answered for the Utes on the next possession as she hit a three-pointer extending the lead back to nine, 63-54. The Sun Devils did not go away and made it a six-point game, 65-59, with 57 seconds left in the game. The Utes sealed the win from the free-throw line and came away with a 72-63 victory.
Utah had two players in double-figures in the win over Arizona State. Gianna Kneepkens led the way for Utah with 20 points. Utah hit nine threes in the win, with Kneepkens hitting four. Brynna Maxwell followed with 15 points. Peyton McFarland grabbed a team-high six rebounds in the games while a trio of Utes had three assists.
TALKING ABOUT THE GAME: HEAD COACH LYNNE ROBERTS
"This is a really good road win for us. We had about as great of a first half as you can have. Our second half was a little sputtering, but credit to ASU for being so competitive and bringing it that 2nd half. Proud of our players- we showed toughness this weekend."
Gianna Kneepkens continued to shine for the Utes and led the team with 20 points, with 15 coming in the first half. Kneepkens was 7-of-14 shooting the ball on the day and 4-of-5 on threes. She had four rebounds in the contest as well. Utah made nine threes in the game, four by Kneepkens.
Utah stays on the road and will face the University of Oregon in its rescheduled game on Wednesday, Jan. 26. The game will be held at Matthew Knight Arena and tip at 12 p.m. MT.
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