Utah Utes guard Erika Bean (11) drives around Washington State Cougars forward Nike McClure (21) as the Lady Utes take on the Lady Cougars from Washington State University at the Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City, UT on Friday, Feb. 16, 2018 (Photo by Adam Fondren | Daily Utah Chronicle)

In a close game on Friday night, the University of Utah women’s basketball team (16-10 overall, 7-8 Pac-12) defeated the Washington State Cougars (10-17 overall, 3-12 Pac-12), 54-50.

Emily Potter was the leading scorer for the Utes as she went 7-of-11 from the field and 2-for-2 at the charity stripe for 16 points, and half of her points came in the first 10 minutes of the game. Megan Huff had two early fouls to put her on the bench after dropping six points. Huff ended the night with 12 points on 4-of-11 shooting and she went 4-for-6 at the free throw line.

By the end of the first quarter, Utah led 18-10. The Washington State offense caught fire and went on a 6-0 run at the beginning of the second quarter. The Cougars came within one point of tying the contest, but they never actually lead during the game. Up 26-25, Utah added a 3-pointer by Tori Williams and a layup by Erika Bean to take a 31-25 advantage heading to the locker rooms as the Utes held the Cougars to 32.1 percent shooting from the field in the first half.

Head coach Lynne Roberts credits Washington State’s defensive performance and its ability to slow down the Utes’ offense at times throughout the contest. Utah struggled to make shots from downtown as Williams was the only player to drill 3-pointers.

The Cougars had four players contribute to their combined 21 points from behind the arc, including Louise Brown, Chanelle Molina, Alexys Swedlund and Borislava Hristova. Leading the Cougars with 13 points was Hristova, who caused trouble for the Utes throughout the night.

In the second half, the Utes went on top 48-45 and forced Washington State to call a timeout. The final 25 seconds of the game consisted of a bit of a fouling spree by both teams. Hristova was fouled behind the arc, and she went 3-for-3 to make it a three-point game. Huff was then fouled, and she went 1-for-2 at the free throw line to seal the Utah victory.

“It was good for us to win at home and get some positive momentum going,” Roberts said. “It’s really critical as we head into this stretch as Washington is a very dangerous team.”

The Utes will next host Washington on Sunday, Feb. 18, at 2 p.m. for Senior Day.

g.cefalu@dailyutahchronicle.com

@giannamc5

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