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Bears Strong Shooting Performance Not Enough

Mar 3, 2022

LAS VEGAS – The Cal women's basketball team went into the fourth quarter with a one-point lead thanks to a floater in the paint from Jayda Curry as the period expired. The basket capped off a tremendous third period that saw the Bears come back from 10-down, however it wouldn't be enough as Utah escaped with a 66-60 win in the opening round of the Pac-12 Tournament on Wednesday night at the Michelob ULTRA Arena.

Cal (11-13) finished with three players in double figures and was led by Curry who had 16 going 6-for-18 from the field and 4-for-4 from the line. Curry also had seven rebounds, three assists, and two steals in her first taste of postseason play. Ugonne (Michelle) Onyiah had arguably her best performance of the season and finished with 14 points, eight rebounds, and two blocks. Evelien Lutje Schipholt finished with 11 points.

The Bears shot well for the evening, connecting on 22 of 49 attempts (44.9 percent), it is just the second time this season Cal has taken the loss in which they outshot their opponent. Cal falls to 10-2 when outshooting their opponent, they are 8-4 on the season when shooting 40.0 percent or better from the field.

Utah (18-10) shot 44.8 percent from the field, but their big advantage came from beyond the arc where they were 6-for-18, the Bears were just 2-for-9 from 3-point range. Second chance points also played a difference. Cal had just seven second-chance points, meanwhile, the Utes finished the night with 20.

The Utes were led by the combo of Gianna Kneepkens and Jenna Johnson. The duo combined to score 38 points, 20 from Kneepkens and 18 from Johnson. Kennady McQueen helped seal the win for Utah scoring seven of her 11 points in the final period.

Early in the third quarter, Kneepkens hit a three on the wing to give Utah a 36-26 advantage with 7:27 to pay in the period. The Bears closed out the quarter on a 17-8 run thanks to ferocious defense and strong play inside the key.

With the contest remaining a one-possession game midway through the fourth quarter Dalayah Daniels briefly tied the game at up 56 with 3:33 to play. Utah pulled ahead for good on the strength of Johnson who made three consecutive layups to key a 10-4 run by Utah down the stretch.