Women's Basketball Defeats Cal, 80-75
BERKELEY, Calif. – The Utah women's basketball team got back in the win column on Sunday afternoon in Berkeley as they defeated the California Golden Bears, 80-75, in overtime. With the win, the Utes improved to 15-8 on the season.
Freshman Gianna Kneepkens led the Utes (15-8, 6-5 Pac-12) with 21 points in the contest. She scored the final seven points for the Utes in overtime. Her three with 1:29 left in overtime put the Utes ahead 76-75. Kennady McQueen followed with 18 points, and Dasia Young followed with 13 points against Cal (10-8, 1-6 Pac 12).
The Golden Bears came out of the game hot as they scored the first 11 points and held the Utes scoreless over the first four and a half minutes. Maka Jackson got the Utes going as she made a three-pointer. After her three, Utah got the lead down to eight, 15-7, after pair of free throws by Jackson. After the first quarter of play, Cal continued to shoot the ball well and held an 11-point lead, 22-11.
The Utes heated up in the second quarter, starting with a 19-0 run. Trailing by 11, Dru Gylten found Dasia Young for three. Young drilled the three, and Gylten picked up the assist. This was the 500th career assist of her career. Kennady McQueen scored five straight points during the run, putting the Utes down three, 22-19. Young continued to attack and put the Utes ahead with a layup. The Utes continued to battle and grew the lead, and another layup by Young put Utah ahead by seven, 32-25. The game remained close, and Utah went into halftime, leading 35-30.
Cal continued to battle, and coming out of halftime, Utah held onto its five-point lead. The Bears answered back, and a three by Jayda Curry put Cal ahead 42-40. Both teams would trade buckets, but the Utes would go on a 7-0 run, taking a 51-44 lead after a Peyton McFarland layup. The lead would go to eight, following a layup by Gylten. The Bears scored the final three of the quarter, and Utah led by five, 53-48, after three-quarters of play.
The fourth quarter went back and forth as both teams held leads. With Utah ahead by two, 56-54, Jayda Curry hit a jumper to tie the game. Utah slowly grew a lead to five after a layup by Kneepkens and a three by Young. Leading by five, the Bears came back and took a one-point lead after a jumper by Cailyn Crocker. The next time down the court, Young hit another three-putting Utah ahead with 51 seconds to go. With Utah leading 68-66, the Bears came down and tied the game at 68, and the game would go to overtime.
Like the fourth quarter, the game would go back and forth. With the game tied at 70, Curry hit a three putting Cal ahead. That lead did not last long as McQueen answered with a three of her own. The next time down the court, Curry was fouled and hit two free throws and she made the free throws taking a 75-73 lead.
With 1:30 left, Kneepkens would take over as she hit her only three of the game, putting Utah ahead 76-75. Utah picked up the defense against the Bears and held them scoreless the remainder of the game, and Kneepkens went four-for-four from the line to seal the 80-75 win for the Utes.
TALKING ABOUT THE GAME: HEAD COACH LYNNE ROBERTS
"What a gritty win for us. Cal did a really great job competing today - they're dangerous. We came out a little flat, looked tired, but had that 24-8 second quarter and held it down from there. Our defense in overtime was fantastic. We needed this win, and I'm extremely proud of our players for finding a way on the road."
Gianna Kneepkens led the Utes in scoring as she scored a game-high 21 points on 7-of-14 shooting. She was one of three Utes in double-figures. Kennady McQueen followed with 18 points. Kelsey Rees led the Utes with ten rebounds and four blocks. This was her second career double-digit rebounding game. Dru Gylten led the Utes with five assists on the day.
Dru Gylten continued to drop dimes in the contest for the Utes. With 9:29 left in the second quarter, Gylten found Dasia Young for a three. This was the 500th career assist of her career. She is now one of five Utah players in program history with 500 or more assists in their Utah career. She finished the game with five assists.
Utah remains on the road as they head to Los Angeles for matchups with USC and UCLA. The Utes will take on USC on Friday, Feb. 18, from the Galen Center. The contest will start at 8 p.m. MT. You can turn on ESPN700 and hear Tyson Ewing and Milee Enger on the call. The game will also be streamed on the Pac-12 Networks.
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