Women’s basketball: Utes Fall to Oregon

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The University of Utah women’s basketball team looked to capitalize at home after last weekend’s split against Cal and Stanford. On Friday night, the Utes hosted the University of Oregon, and this night wasn’t just any normal game, as the Utes held their “pink out” game to support breast cancer research. While the game was close at several intervals, in the end the Ducks came away with a hard fought 73-61 win.

The Ducks started quickly, and they jumped out to a 6-0 lead before the Utes answered back. Junior wing Tanaeya Boclair put the Utes on the board with a quick layup, and junior wing Malia Nawahine found the rim for another two. Oregon then went on another 6-0 run to go up 12-4 at the first media timeout. The Utes came out of the timeout ready to play, as they answered with a 6-0 run of their own.

The play continued to go back and forth, but a late rally by Oregon put the Ducks up 21-13 at the end of the first.

In the second quarter, Boclair turned on the gas as she scored 11 of Utah’s 17 points in the period. Utah had a hard time shooting, but that didn’t stop Boclair as she got to the line and converted 6-of-7 free throws. Utah’s defense was strong, however, as they held the visiting team to just 6-of-15 shooting and 33 percent from deep.

“We just wanted to be out there on the floor and play with intensity,” Boclair said after the game, speaking of hers and Nawahine’s performance. “That was definitely a winnable game for us. I think we both knew that and so we just went out there and gave it all we got. We were also playing for a good cause. This pink out game means so much to me and Malia. Women every day are going out and fighting — we can get on the court and play hard for forty minutes.”

In the third quarter, Utah built some momentum, playing tough defense and converting on the other side of the ball. Down by seven at halftime, the Utes came within two points twice in the period before Oregon started to hit some shots. At the end of the third period, the Utes were down by eight points.

The fourth quarter the Ducks came out aggressive, and they converted on nearly 54 percent of their shots, while the Utes hit only 36 percent of their own. Each time Utah made a run, Oregon would counter with a run of its own.

When the final buzzer sounded, Oregon walked off the court as victors. The Utes were led by both Nawahine and Boclair, who scored 23 and 19 points, respectively.

“They’re a good team,” said head coach Lynne Roberts after the game. “They’ve got really great passing guards and bigs that can score on the block. Something’s gotta give and they answered the bell when we got within one or two. I felt like we were pushing on the door of gaining momentum to start that third quarter. Then they just went on a couple of runs.”

j.walch@dailyutahchronicle.com

@JaredWalch

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