Dressed in pink from head to toe, Utah walked away with a win in its Power of Pink game on Friday night in the Huntsman Center, beating Washington 69-61.
The Utes led by as many as 17 points in the contest, but the Huskies cut the lead to four with just under two minutes left to play. After a foul by Washington to keep the shot clock alive for Utah, Nakia Arquette missed a three-point attempt, but right as Washington grabbed the rebound, Cheyenne Wilson stole the ball and sealed the victory for the Utes.
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Taryn Wicijowski finished with 20 points, nine rebounds, and five assists for Utah, with 16 of those points coming in the first half. Wicijowski claimed this was because she was given better shot selection in the first slate.
“The points came in the first half when they were going to let me play one on one,” she said. “They had people in space, they weren’t coming to double team, but it was enough space where I could go and shoot shots that I’m very comfortable shooting.”
Wicijowski went on to say that in the second half, the Husky defense was more aggressive, but that didn’t stop the star forward from producing.
“They wanted to come really hard, double team every time,” Wicijowski said. “It wasn’t about me scoring any more, it was about someone else scoring so that’s where the assists came from. And then the rebounds, I’m just there.”
Despite missing her last field goal attempt, Arquette scored 10 points coming off of the bench and said the team stayed motivated throughout the week.
“I think our prep for this game was really good this week,” Arquette said. “In the locker room, on the court, off the court, the team was really together and everyone was rooting for each other. Everyone had confidence in each other. ”
Utah shot 50 percent from the floor, as well as 45 percent from the three-point line.
Additionally, the Utes contained Washington’s Kelsey Plum for the majority of the night, with the exception of the last three minutes of the game, where Plum heated up and scored nine points.
Ute head coach Anthony Levrets said the team was finally able to finish the game and their shots were falling in.
“We look really comfortable offensively,” Levrets said. “I thought we did a great job on [Plum] early in the game, which is a big key, not to let her get going and when stretched it out a little bit. You’re not going to shoot a kid like that down, you just got to defend her.”
The Utes led at halftime 37-29 with Wicijowski ending the first half on high note, hitting a three-pointer at the buzzer from an assist from Dani Rodriguez. Wicijowski mentioned how she was surprised to receive the ball from Rodriguez because it looked like she was about to take the last-second shot herself.
Despite Utah’s 17 turnovers in the game, which Levrets said were silly, Washington could only muster up 11 points off of them, whereas the Utes scored 15 points off the Huskies’ 12 turnovers.
Levrets also said while this is a good win, the team cannot focus on it too much.
“It’s one win, can’t get too excited about it and not realize that we have to continue to get better,” Levrets said. “We were good enough to beat Washington tonight, now can we be good enough to beat Washington State?”
Utah’s next game is on Sunday at 12:00 p.m. when it will face Washington State. Both Wicijowski and Arquette said after losing a close one to them in Pullman earlier in the season, they owe them one in Salt Lake.