Women get overtime win

By By Paige Fieldsted

By Paige Fieldsted

The Utah women’s basketball team improved its winning streak to three with a 66-50 overtime win over Idaho State on Wednesday night.

After a mediocre start, the Utes exploded in overtime, scoring 19 points in the five extra minutes and holding the Bengals to just three points.

Senior Kalee Whipple and freshman Taryn Wicijowski led Utah in the overtime, scoring six points each. Whipple finished the night leading all scorers with 18 points and was just one of three Utah scorers in double digits. Wicijowski and Halie Sawyer scored 14 and 12 points, respectively.

“We wanted it,” Whipple said. “You have to give credit to Idaho State8212;they played really well. I think it is just a matter of “let’s play harder.’ They played harder for a lot more of the game then we did.”

In the first half, Utah jumped out to an early 8-2 lead, but a 10-point run put Idaho State ahead. The Utes, who were playing their third game in four days, missed open layups, couldn’t get outside shots to fall and headed into halftime down four at 25-21.

Head coach Elaine Elliott said she blames the slow start on lack of intensity and energy.

“We were definitely a step slow all night,” Elliot said. “The kids are very tired. This stretch of games, it shows. The energy levels that Idaho State had, we couldn’t match. They were simply more active than we were for most of the game, and we almost paid for it.”

It was much of the same for the Utes in the second half, as they shot only 37 percent from the field and were never able to take more than a three-point lead. Sawyer hit a jumper to the tie the game at 47 with 49 seconds left in regulation, and the Utes were able to force overtime.

A different Utah team than had been on the court in the first and second halves showed up to play in the overtime.

“We made our shots,” Sawyer said. “Our team has been struggling on the offensive end making open shots, and we finally stepped up and hit a few in overtime.”

A tip-in and jumper by Wicijowski and a layup off a steal from Janita Badon in the first minute of overtime gave the Utes their biggest lead of the night at 53-47. Utah didn’t look back, scoring 13 more points in two and a half minutes and holding Idaho State to a single 3-pointer in overtime.

“We finally made a play or two,” Elliott said. “We were just trying to get them to pull it out. You just keep digging and asking them for it and at that point ask, “How bad do you want to win?’ ”

The Utes shot 66 percent from the field during overtimde, compared with the 37 percent they had during regulation. Utah was also able to hold the Bengals to just 12 percent shooting in the overtime. For the third straight game, Utah outrebounded its opponent, edging the Bengals 42-36.

Next up for the Utes is a trip to Louisville, Ky., to take on No. 24 Louisville on Sunday. Tip-off is set for 2 p.m. ET.

“We are on a winning streak right here, and it gives us a little more confidence, and we are going to run with it,” Sawyer said. “Our team is learning, our chemistry is building. I think as the year goes on, we’re getting better and better, and we’re ready to take on better teams now.”

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Thien Sok

Senior forward Halie Sawyer had a strong defensive effort in the Utes? win over Idaho State with 11 defensive rebounds. She also had four offensive rebounds and 12 points Wednesday night in the Huntsman Center.