Women's Basketball Holds off Washington State For 72-66 Win
SALT LAKE CITY – The Utah women's basketball team earned its third straight victory on Sunday afternoon as they defeated the Cougars of Washington State, 72-66, at the Jon M. Huntsman Center. The Utes earned a sweep of the Washington school for the first time since 2019-20.
Brynna Maxwell led the Utes (13-7, 4-4 Pac-12) with 12 points on the afternoon. She hit two of the nine three-pointers the Utes made in the game. Kelsey Rees grabbed a career-high 11 rebounds in the win over Washington State (14-7, 6-4 Pac-12).
The Cougars came out and scored the first six points before Jenna Johnson got the Utes on the board with a layup. The Cougars made a fast-break layup, which forced Utah to call a timeout. Following the timeout, the Utes came back and trimmed the lead down to one, 8-7, after a pair of free throws by Isabel Palmer. Washington State increased the lead to five, but Utah came back and took the lead after a Maka Jackson jumper. The Utes held a 21-18 lead after one-quarter of play.
Utah continued to play outstanding defense opening the second quarter as they held the Cougars without a field goal for a ten-minute stretch that started in the first quarter. During this span, a second-chance layup by Peyton McFarland put the Utes ahead by 11, 29-18. Utah continued to hold onto the lead, and each time the Cougars made a run, the Utes answered. A three by Kennady McQueen put the Utes back on top by 10, 36-26. Utah held a 38-27 lead at the half, which tied for the largest lead in the first half for Utah.
The Utes came out of halftime, looking to extend their lead over the Cougars, and stretched the lead to 15, 49-34, after back-to-back threes by Gianna Kneepkens and Dasia Young. Washington State trimmed the lead back to 12 before McFarland scored five points, and Young hit another three-pointer, putting the Utes ahead by 19, 56-37. After the third quarter, Utah led 58-39.
Washington State did not go away as they chipped away at Utah's lead starting the fourth quarter. With 8:42 left in the game, Utah's lead was down to 12, 58-46, after a Johanna Teder three. Two minutes later, the lead was down to nine, 60-51. Utah continued to hold onto the lead in the fourth quarter, and after the lead was down to five, 65-60, Utah stretched the lead back to 10 points after a pair of free throws by Maxwell. Utah would earn a 72-66 victory over the Cougars.
The Utes were led in scoring by Brynna Maxwell with 12 points. She was the only player in double-figure for Utah. Gianna Kneepkens, Dasia Young, and Peyton McFarland followed with nine points each. Kelsey Rees grabbed a career-high 11 rebounds in the win.
TALKING ABOUT THE GAME: HEAD COACH LYNNE ROBERTS
"This was a great win. I am really proud of our team. Washington State is a very good team. They returned all five starters from the NCAA Tournament last year. They have a ton of experience and a lot of talent. They are a very well-coached team. They run their stuff, so this is a quality win, one that we needed. It was a kind of foothold for our tournament chances. Both teams needed this one and really wanted it, so I'm proud of our team. I knew that at some point that they would have a run in them because they are just too good and too experienced. We got a little tentative during that fourth quarter, but we found a way to win and again I'm just really proud of my team and their desire to win and get it done today against a very good Washington State team."
For the 14th time this season, the Utes made nine or more three-pointers in a contest. Against Washington State, the Utes went 9-for-21 on three-pointers to earn the win. Utah is 55-21 in games when making eight or more three-pointers in the Lynne Roberts era.
Utah hosts Southern California on Wednesday, Feb. 9, at the Jon M. Huntsman Center. The Utes and the Trojans will tip-off at 2 p.m. MT. You can turn on ESPN700 and hear Tyson Ewing on the call. The contest will also be streamed on UtahUtes.com.
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