Utes tame Lions: Smith’s 20 points help in win over Loyola

Ute senior Kim Smith scored 20 points and grabbed 10 rebounds for her second double-double of the season, leading Utah to a 64-47 decision over the Loyola Marymount Lions.

It was the fourth time in five games that Smith scored 20 or more points (she scored 19 points against Arizona) and the second time she pulled down 10 or more rebounds.

“She has not yet gotten comfortable shooting the ball,” Ute head coach Elaine Elliott said. “When she does (get comfortable), then really look out. She does whatever she needs to do to get points.”

The Utes started the first half by scoring 11 unanswered points, which helped them build a commanding 17-2 lead with 13:06 remaining in the period.

“We came out and our shots were all falling,” Smith said.

“That is what’s going to happen. We have a team that can shoot, and we’re going to put points on the board really fast.”

Loyola Marymount later pulled within seven points (21-14) with 7:11 left in the first half, following an 8-0 run sparked by back-to-back 3-point shots made by Bianca Ziemann and Amanda Patton, but it was the closest the Lions got to the Utes the rest of the game.

After going into the locker room with a 29-21 first-half lead, the Utes stormed out to a 43-25 advantage with 13:32 left to play.

The Lions then went on a 15-5 run to close the gap to just eight (48-40) with 6:07 remaining, but the Utes slowly pulled away after Loyola Marymount’s run to close out the victory.

It was the second straight game in which Utah never trailed.

Sophomore forward Jessica Perry was instrumental in the Utes’ opening 17-2 run. She hit two 3-pointers and scored a layup during that stretch, staying hot the rest of the game to finish with 12 points, nine rebounds and four blocked shots.

“I got open by running the floor,” Perry said. “We had good ball movement, and their defense just couldn’t keep up.”

Senior guard Shona Thorburn also scored in double figures for Utah, netting 14 points while dishing out five assists and grabbing six rebounds in 40 minutes of action.

The Utes held Rachael Ziemann-the Lions’ leading scorer-to just seven points. She shot 13 percent (2-15) from the field, as Loyola Marymount shot a meager 30.5 percent (18-59) from the field as a team.

Ziemann’s twin sister Bianca led the Lions with 13 points, and Amanda Patton chipped in 11 points.

Utah will be back in action Wednesday night, as it plays in-state rival Weber State at the Huntsman Center.

Tip-off is set for 7 p.m.

[email protected]