After a tough loss against the University of Washington on Friday night, the University of Utah women’s basketball team looked to bounce back against visiting Washington State. When the final buzzer sounded, the Utes came away with a hard fought 61-55 defeat.
“Coach always talks about how the season is a marathon and not a sprint,” said senior wing Paige Crozon. “We just need to stick to the fight and trust the process and we’ll get the outcomes that we want.”
The game started out slowly as both teams struggled to connect from the court. The Utes shot just 5-16 from the floor and 0-6 from deep. Washington State fared no better, as they went just 3-17 from the floor. The Cougars were able to connect on 2-3 shots from past the arc and won the rebounding battle in the first quarter against the Utes, 15-11. After one, the Utes took a 13-10 lead into the second quarter.
However, the Utes have been struggling in second quarters throughout the season and the game against the Cougars was no exception as the Utes hit just 4-12 shots from the field. Washington State found some success offensively, connecting on 41 percent of their shots from the field. The Cougars also went 3-4 from deep as they outscored the Utes 17-9 in the second. When Washington State took the lead, they never looked back. Utah trailed for the rest of the game.
When asked about the team’s second quarter struggles, head coach Lynne Roberts didn’t know what the problem was, but if she knew she would fix it.
“I know our team wanted to win today and I thought we were mentally ready to go,” Roberts said. “We just didn’t shoot great.”
Utah didn’t shoot well for the majority of the game, connecting on just 19-55 shots, good enough for just 35 percent from the field.
But in spite of the loss, Crozon put the team on her back and nearly willed the team to victory. In the third quarter after a Utah timeout, Crozon ran to the right corner and got the inbounds pass and nailed a three point shot to bring the Utes to within nine points of their opponent. During the third quarter, Crozon scored 10 of Utah’s 15 points, including two 3-pointers.
“I was just trying to do what the team needed to get the win,” Crozon said. “My shots were falling and I was trying to attack the rim if I didn’t have my shot. I was thinking that I needed to play with passion and have fun and that was ultimately the driving force.”
Aside from Crozon, Utah’s shooting woes continued, as they hit 39 percent of their shots in the third, while the Cougars hit 50 percent of their tries. Despite the poor shooting, the Utes got to within five points towards the end of the third. A couple of shots later, the Utes found themselves down 43-37 with just one quarter left to play.
The Utes defended the 3 point line well in the fourth, limiting Washington State to only one 3-pointer. With just one minute left to play, Washington State was at the free throw line and up by two. The cougars missed both free throws but grabbed the offensive rebound. The Utes fouled the visiting team and the Cougars made the two subsequent free throws.
After Washington States’s free throws, the Utes didn’t score again and by the final buzzer, the Cougars took the win.
Up next, the Utes travel to the Golden State to take on Cal and Stanford on Friday (Feb. 10) and Saturday (Feb. 12). The games are set to begin at 7 and 2 p.m. MT, respectively.