Megan Huff’s first double-double as a member of the University of Utah women’s basketball team (7-1) fueled the team to an 89-65 win against Pepperdine at the Huntsman Center on Tuesday night. Huff finished with 16 points and 12 rebounds. The game featured some of Utah’s signature defense, as well as offensive performances in the paint.
Four Utes reached double-digit scoring figures, including Emily Potter’s 15 points and Daneesha Provo’s 13 points. Freshman Tori Williams provided 12 points off the bench, as Utah was able to substitute and put in various lineups after taking an early lead.
“I think this [was] a good game to get balanced minutes and not wear people down,” said head coach Lynne Roberts.
The game was fast paced up until the fourth quarter, as both teams exchanged fast break opportunities throughout the first three quarters. Utah was able to turn Pepperdine’s 19 turnovers into 16 points, 10 of which came off fast breaks.
“We know that’s one thing that we take pride in, our transition game,” said Erika Bean. “When they score, it’s just answer mentality, just get out and go, not necessarily dwelling on the last play. So, I think that’s one of our strengths, we try to run teams and try to get them tired through the game.”
Bean dished out five assists, and she connected with Provo throughout the night. Bean sees her assists to Provo as an opportunity to reward her for her defensive play. Provo finished with two steals and one block on the evening.
“Daneesha, she’s feisty and intense on the defensive end, and so it’s definitely fun to create for her, just to reward her for her hard work,” Bean said. “She earns it defensively and offensively, and she’s playing really well right now.”
Utah had 12 steals, but it also turned the ball over 12 times and that allowed the Pepperdine Waves to mount some scoring streaks, but they never came close to making a serious comeback. Three Waves reached 10 points, but Utah was able to keep their lineup in check. It suffocated the Waves’ offense as they finished 24-for-53 from the field.
The Utes personal foul problems from earlier in the season resurfaced as Pepperdine scored 17 free throws in the fourth quarter alone. The Waves outscored the Utes 24-19 in that quarter, and Roberts wants to see her team close out games better as it moves forward.
“This is all part of maturing as a team and taking the next step,” Roberts said. “Clearly, we aren’t there yet, but I think we will get there and these are the learning experiences that will make us better. For us to win in the Pac-12 you have to play an entire 40 minutes, you can’t be good for 30.”
Utah will hit the road to take on in-state rival BYU on Saturday, Dec. 9 at 2 p.m.