Utah Women’s Basketball Wins The Holy War


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 Max Valva, Sports Writer


In a visit to Provo, the Utah women’s basketball team was able to continue their winning ways against in-state rivals BYU this past Saturday. Transfer forward Alissa Pili put up 28 points and grabbed 7 rebounds in a 76-59 Utah victory.

The rivalry was a new one for several members of both teams as the Cougars only had two players who had played against the Utes and only one from Utah had played against BYU. The Ute players were able to embrace the culture as they shot 55% from the field, an incredibly high number, compared to the Cougars who shot 40%. 

Pili started the game off hot, scoring 9 points in just the first quarter, as the first quarter ended in an 18-10 Utah advantage. Playing lockdown defense was a theme in this game as the Utes were able to prevent several BYU passes that led to key turnovers. The Utes were then able to add to their lead even more in the second quarter as they entered halftime leading 39-27. 

Turnovers played a big part in Utah’s halftime lead as they only gave up the ball three times, compared to the eight by BYU.

Going into the game with the number one offense in the nation, Utah was able to continue on that same trajectory as they started off the second half on a 10-point run that featured a Pili steal, adding to the already high turnover amount for the Cougars.

The Utes entered the fourth quarter ahead by 16 points and never really looked back from there. Utah guard Gianna Kneepkens was the second leading scorer for Utah, putting up 18 points while creating space on the floor to let Pili do her thing. 

The Utes will look to keep their hot streak alive as they host Pac-12 rival Colorado at the Jon M. Huntsman Center next Wednesday. After the stellar victory against the Cougars, the Utes should continue to climb the rankings and will be looking to get their way into the top 12 teams in the country with continued excellent play.


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