Despite playing a close game for most of the 40 minutes, the University of Utah women’s basketball team (14-6 overall, 5-4 Pac 12) couldn’t keep up offensively with No. 17 Oregon State (15-5 overall, 6-3 Pac 12). The Utes fell to the Beavers on Friday night, 69-58.
At the end of the first half, both teams shot 46.9 percent from the field. In the second quarter, the Utes took a 22-17 lead with a jump shot from Emily Potter who drove it to the basket, forcing an Oregon State timeout. Utah stayed out of foul trouble, committing only three team fouls in the first half, but it turned the ball over five times. At the half, the Utes led 36-34.
The second half is when the game slipped away from Utah. The Beavers fought back on offense, and in the third quarter they went on a 5-0 run, leaving Utah trailing, 50-44.
The Utes came from behind a few times to close the gap to two points in the final quarter. A layup by Tilar Clark and a 3-pointer from Daneesha Provo with 2:09 remaining brought Utah as close as it would get to tying the contest.
The Beavers’ Marie Gulich was too much for Utah to handle. A turnover by the Utes lead to a Gulich bucket, and the Beavers extended their lead, 63-57. Utah couldn’t to comeback from the deficit, and Oregon State took an 11-point advantage to close the game.
“We got beat on penetration at times, and good offense beats good defense. Gulich is tough, and I thought we defended her pretty well,” said head coach Lynne Roberts. “The hard part down the stretch was that we weren’t scoring, so it put a lot of pressure on our defense. We did a pretty good job defensively, we forced 18 turnovers and their 3-point average was down way less this game.”
Gulich was the leading scorer for Oregon State with 14 points, while Megan Huff had 26 points and six rebounds for the Utes.
Roberts was pleased with how her team put up a defensive battle against a No. 17 ranked Oregon State team, but she believes Utah can improve on its offensive execution.
“This one stings because we realized we were that close, and [it] was a one possession game, two minutes to go and we couldn’t convert,” Roberts said. “We’ll watch and learn from it, but we have to move on and focus on a really good Oregon team on Sunday.”
Utah will face Oregon on Sunday, Jan. 28, at 12 p.m. at the Huntsman Center.