For the entire fourth quarter on Sunday afternoon, the University of Utah women’s basketball team trailed the No. 7 Oregon Ducks by double-digits. Daneesha Provo, who was Utah’s leading scorer with 19 points, took a shot at a 3-pointer with 1:44 to play, but the ball bounced off the rim. Although Provo grabbed the offensive rebound and tried to lay it up, the ball hit the rim and didn’t go in. The possession was a microcosm of the entire game as big deficits and missed opportunities plagued the Utes en route to their 84-68 loss at the hands of the Ducks in the Huntsman Center.
A typically stout Utah defense allowed four Ducks to end the game in double-digit points as Maite Cazorla ended with a game-high 21 points. The Utes had chances to capitalize via rebounds as they out-rebounded Oregon, 37-32, but they failed to make anything of it. Utah finished shooting 37.5 percent from the field, and it turned the ball over 16 times, leading to 19 points for Oregon.
“I thought we came out as flat as we could have, and it was embarrassing, and that is on me,” said head coach Lynne Roberts in a Utah Athletics press release. “I have to do a better job of getting them ready to play. That is unacceptable when you are playing the No. 7 ranked team in the country and you come out flat.”
After trailing 16-2 midway through the first period, the Utes went on a 15-9 run to cut the deficit to eight points. Utah was clicking on all cylinders during that run.
Utah’s Megan Huff, who was coming off a career-high 26-point game on Friday, struggled from the floor as she went 2-of-6 for five points. The bench duo of Tilar Clark and Tanaeya BoClair came into the game and scored a combined 25 points for Utah. Roberts saw a level of energy from the pair that she didn’t see from the rest of her team.
“Tanaeya and Tilar were fearless and aggressive,” Roberts said in a Utah athletics press release. “And if we would have had 10 players like that today, it probably would have been a different game in terms of mentality.”
The Utes have not put together as many complete Pac-12 games at home as they have on the road, but Roberts still sees a successful path in front of them.
“We just have to stay the course,” Roberts said in a Utah athletics press release. “We are 5-5 [in conference play] and if we go .500 in this league, we have a chance to make the NCAA tournament, and that is still in front of us. If we go 10-8, 11-7, whatever, then it is a lock. We didn’t have a great weekend in terms of playing our best and getting a win, but our players and coaches just need to stay the course, stay confident and stay positive, because good things will happen if we do that.”
Utah will return to action against Colorado in the Huntsman Center on Thursday, Feb. 1, at 7 p.m.