Utes lose to Wazzu for second time this season in similar fashion

Different game, same result.

Utah faced off against Washington State for the second time this season and lost again, this time at home, 61-52. The first time these two teams met, the result was almost identical with the Cougars winning the first game 63-54.

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The Utes were led by forward Taryn Wicijowski, who registered 20 points and 11 rebounds for a double-double, and guard Dani Rodriguez with 12 points and five rebounds.

Washington State built its lead up to 12 points at one point in this game and were up by nine points for a majority of the second half. However, Utah went on an 8-2 run late in the game and cut the lead to five points.

With three minutes left play, Dani Rodriguez committed her fourth foul and the Cougars took advantage by closing out the game on a 6-2 run.

Utah head coach Anthony Levrets is disappointed by the team’s effort.

“I’m disappointed after the energy we played with on Friday night,” Levrets said. “I don’t know how to explain it. We got out-efforted and out-energied, which didn’t feel so good after playing.”

Rodriguez said although it was an early Sunday game, the team should not be pointing any fingers. .

“There’s no excuse for not bringing any energy,” Rodriguez said.

The Cougars pressured the Utes the entire game, whether it was from getting right in their faces, to the full-court press they ran every time Utah inbounded the ball. The pressure caused the Utes to turn the ball over 14 times. Levrets said Washington State’s game plan to force Rodriguez to give up the ball was effective.

“We’re missing a secondary ball handler,” Levrets said. “It was a problem at their place and it’s been an issue. They just committed to making Dani give up the ball and it was a great plan against us, making someone else bring it the ball up the floor. And then we have a hell of a time getting anything afterwards.”

Rodriguez said the Cougars amped up the pressure in the second half.

“They started double-teaming more, pressuring the ball more,” Rodriguez said. “They settled in and in the second half they just came at us and started causing turnovers.”

Rodriguez felt the pressure the most, as the guard committed four turnovers with no assists. She was shaken up with about nine minutes left to play after a hard foul by the Cougars’ Louise Brown, but was able to walk it off and knock down both ends of a 1-and-1.

Rodriguez said she needed to fight through the pain for the benefit of the entire team.

Utah shot 15-of-20 from the free-throw line and 34.7 percent from the floor. Levrets said their efforts from the line finally showed up in the box score and it is something he hopes can be reflected throughout the rest of the season.

While Utah played just seven players the entire game, Washington State entered 10 players into the game before the 11-minute mark of the first half and played 11 altogether.

The Utes will next compete at home when they host Oregon on Friday.

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@kbrenneisen