After a slow start on Sunday afternoon, the University of Utah Women’s basketball team got on track and defeated the Washington Huskies, 81-46. The Utes ended their regular season action at home with a win on Senior Day.
Tori Williams lead the Utes after going 11-of-13 from the field for a career-high 29 points and she added six rebounds. Megan Huff went 6-of-8 from the field and 3-for-3 from the free throw line for 16 points as she also added six rebounds. Emily Potter posted a double-double with 16 rebounds and 18 points.
Both teams had trouble scoring in the opening minute. Washington struck first, but Utah quickly tied the game with a layup. Even though the Utes had solid ball movement in the first half, they turned the ball over 13 times.
The score was 15-10 in favor of Utah at the end of the first quarter. The Huskies outscored the Utes, 13-9 in the second quarter, closing Utah’s lead to 24-23 at the half.
Coming out of the break, the Utes had a newfound energy. They went on a 10-2 run to spark momentum in their play, and by the end of the third quarter, Utah had outscored Washington, 37-6.
The Huskies scored first in the fourth quarter, but their comeback fell short due to the third quarter success the Utes’ had.
Head coach Lynne Roberts said her team was trying to go for the big plays in the first half, which lead to Utah’s double-digit turnovers.
“We weren’t playing with any sort of passion,” Roberts said. “We were trying to make homerun plays. We had 13 turnovers which is inexcusable. UW was playing hard and playing well defensively, but we re-grouped.”
Roberts also said because of the lack of fouls and turnovers in the second half, the game shifted to more of an uptempo beat, something Utah sees as one of its strengths.
“Thirteen turnovers in the first half and four in the second — that’s the difference in the game,” Roberts said. “The biggest thing on offense was to make the extra pass, make the assist, don’t try and make the play.”
Utah was looking to send its senior members out with one final home victory. According to Williams, that kept her motivated.
“I knew it was a close game, and I knew we had to win that game for the seniors,” Williams said. “So I had more fire, and getting those assists to Potter helped me get my shots up, too.”
Roberts is proud of what her seniors have not only done this season, but in their entire careers at Utah.
“I always tell players, how you know you’ve done your job is if you leave the program in better shape than you found it, and they have,” Roberts said.
The Utes will be back on the road for their final two regular season games. They will take on USC on Thursday, Feb. 22, at 7 p.m. and UCLA on Saturday, Feb. 24, at 3 p.m.