Women’s Basketball Demolishes Mississippi Valley in Historic Road Game

The+University+of+Utah+womens+basketball+team+takes+on+the+Idaho+team+at+the+Jon.+M.+Huntsman+Center+in+Salt+Lake+City%2C+Utah%2C+on+Nov.+7+2022.

Julia Chuang

The University of Utah women’s basketball team takes on the Idaho team at the Jon. M. Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City, Utah, on Nov. 7 2022. (Photo by Julia Chuang | The Daily Utah Chronicle)

By Abbey Thomas, Sports Writer

 

In a visit to the Magnolia State this week, the University of Utah women’s basketball team added yet another record to the books in a historic victory over Mississippi Valley. Led by top scorer Alissa Pili, the Utes registered a 109-42 win to secure the largest score differential ever seen in a road game. All but two of their 109 points came from either the three-point or free-throw line, with a few inside the paint as well.

This game marks the first kickoff of the Pac-12/SWAC legacy series, which debuted this year to facilitate interaction between the two leagues and offer education on subjects such as racism and social justice. This new program has both an educational and athletic component, where participating schools engage in a normal match that is followed with a visit or lecture relating to the previously mentioned topics. For the Utah women’s basketball team, that meant a visit to the Lorraine Hotel to view the facility’s National Civil Rights Museum on Friday.

The game tipped off with a slow offensive start from the Utes, though Mississippi Valley couldn’t get any points past the defense. However, in true Ute fashion, the reds jumped into action and embarked on a 24-point run in just eight minutes to give themselves an easy lead over the Devilettes. Mississippi still couldn’t break through in those eight minutes, and remained scoreless going into the second quarter.

In the second half, the Utes improved their shooting percentage from a measly 38.9% in the initial quarter to a preferable 50%. Pili led the first quarter with 10 points, mostly composed of three pointers; fellow junior Isabel Palmer lent an additional 8 points after coming off the bench, and Utah headed into the third quarter with a comfortable 44-14 lead that wouldn’t leave their grips for the duration of the match.

Not only did Pili lead Thursday’s match in points, she was also named this week’s Pac-12 Women’s Basketball Player of the Week. However, this is not the forward’s first time receiving such an honor — Pili was named Player of the Week during the 2020-21 season at USC, and claimed Pac-12 Freshman of the Week a whopping four times in her 2019-2020 season. Alongside these achievements, Pili sits atop Pac-12 athletes in regards to field-goal percentage, currently registering at 68.1%.

Heading into the third quarter, Utah held on to its lead and executed a clean 8-0 run over Mississippi to kick things back into gear. Sitting at 52-14, the Utes continued to widen the gap without so much of a thought to the Devilettes. In a fashion familiar to Utes fans, Utah continued to plow through the opposing defense, and refused to slow down or hold back. Mississippi would never catch up, and the Utes recorded arguably their most straightforward win of the season.

After yet another impressive victory, the Utes will return home to Utah to take on longtime rival Brigham Young University in Provo on Dec. 10. In their most recent meeting in December of last year, the Utes fell to the hands of the Cougars 80-85 — this year, the Utes will look to reclaim their crown in the infamous Holy War.

 

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