Women’s Basketball Splits Final Weekend at Home, Wins on Senior Day

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The University of Utah Women's Basketball team plays against Stanford University in the Huntsman Center, University of Utah Campus, Salt Lake City, on Friday, Feb. 14, 2020. (Photo by Mark Draper | The Daily Utah Chronicle)

By Ethan Pearce, Sports Writer

 

The University of Utah women’s basketball team (13-14, 6-10 Pac-12) split two home games this weekend as the regular season winds down.

In their final homestand of the regular season, the Utes took a loss against No. 11 Arizona (22-5, 11-5 Pac-12) on Friday but upset No. 21 Arizona State (19-9, 9-7 Pac-12) on Sunday.

The Utes dug themselves into a hole early on Friday, falling behind early to the Wildcats and never quite recovering. They kept themselves in the game and stayed within striking distance in the fourth quarter, but couldn’t get it done in the end. 

The University of Utah Women’s Basketball team plays against Stanford University in the Huntsman Center, University of Utah Campus, Salt Lake City on Friday, February 14, 2020. (Photo by Mark Draper | The Daily Utah Chronicle)

“I think what would help is starting the game off like we finish games,” said sophomore Dru Gylten. “It kind of hurts us when we’re down whatever it was at the beginning, but I think it just shows how much this team is willing to fight. I think we just need to bring that fight every game, especially at the beginning so we don’t have to work so hard at the end. That’s happened a couple of games, we’ve gotten it super close, and then four minutes left we just fall apart.”

That was the story of the game for the Utes, as they kept pace for most of the second half. A weak start and a weak finish combined put them 20 points in the hole, and they ended up losing 85-69. Freshman Brynna Maxwell led the team with 22 points, including 5-8 shooting from 3.

After their third consecutive loss, the Utes knew what they needed to do to get a win in their final home game of the year.

“We’ve got to lock in,” said Maxwell. “We’ve got to know what the game plan is, know who the shooters are, who the best players are and we’ve gotta follow it. And then we’ve just gotta fight. We’ve got to compete all 40 minutes. If we come out and play a 40 minute game, we’re gonna have a shot.”

That’s exactly what the Utes did, earning a win 75-71 over Arizona State. Again, they fell behind early, trailing by nine at the end of the first quarter and seven at halftime. However, a strong third quarter gave them the lead and they kept it, playing a complete second half and grabbing a win against a tough opponent. Four Utes scored in double figures, led by Maxwell and sophomore Andrea Torres, who both had 15. Seniors Daneesha Provo and Kiana Moore had strong showings in their final Utah home game. Provo had 12 and Moore had nine off the bench in just 11 minutes of play. 

The Utes have just two more games left in their regular season on the road against USC (14-13, 6-10 Pac-12) and No. 8 UCLA (23-4, 12-4 Pac-12) before they head to the Pac-12 Tournament in Las Vegas. The upset over Arizona State is a good start, but they will need some more wins next weekend. The game against USC, who holds the same record as the Utes, looms large, as the winner will likely be the higher seed going into the tournament.

 

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