A trip to the west coast turned out successful for the University of Utah on Friday night as they defeated the Cal Golden Bears 73-64. This completes Utah’s sweep of the Golden Bears and it marks Utah’s second conference road win and fourth overall conference victory.
“I think we showed some toughness,” said head coach Lynne Roberts after the game. “We were down after the first quarter, but I thought our team handled that really well. We made some runs, and I thought we attacked the bucket with some more intensity and purpose than we had recently.”
Going into Friday night’s game the Golden Bears led the conference in shooting at 48 percent but the Utes once again showed why they are one of the premier defensive teams in the nation. They limited Cal to just 37 percent from the floor and 21 percent from deep.
Cal won the tip and jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead as they forced the Utes into some cold shooting; they missed their first six shots. Junior guard Malia Nawahine nailed a three pointer to put the visiting team on top, 3-2. After some good defensive play and several fouls, the Utes found themselves down after one quarter by a score of 18-13.
With the Utes’ second quarter struggles of late, Utah managed to finally break free of the slump and they outscored Cal 24-11. Dating back to Utah’s game against Cal in Salt Lake City, they have been outscored in the second period 117-80.
“One thing I thought we did tonight was answer — when the other team does something, answer back,” Roberts said. “They made some runs, but we kept answering. When we needed a bucket we got one, and I’m really proud of our team.”
At the start of the second half, the Utes opened up play with a 37-29 advantage. Junior wing Tanaeya Boclair converted an and-one to give the Utes an 11 point lead, 40-29. The Golden Bears converted on several possessions and cut Utah’s lead to just four, 42-38. Boclair wasn’t done however, and she finished another and-one opportunity to put the Utes up 45-38.
The Bears went on an 8-0 run to cut Utah’s lead to two points, but the ladies from the Wasatch Front still had plenty of fight left in them. Utah immediately went on a 7-2 run that extended the lead to 54-47 at the end of the third period.
Sophomore guard Erika Bean hit a corner three to put the Utes up by 10 to start the fourth, 57-47. The Bears tried making a late game run, but they weren’t able to overcome Utah’s second quarter brilliance and Cal fell to the Utes for the second time this season.
Utah was led by Nawahine, who had 16 points on 55 percent shooting. Boclair added 14 points while Bean chipped in 12 points and seven assists. Junior forward Emily Potter was the fourth Ute to hit double figures, as she posted a double double with 10 points and 10 rebounds.