Women’s Basketball Tramples Buffaloes in First Pac-12 Meet of the Season


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, Assistant Sports Editor


On Wednesday, the Utah women’s basketball team took on the University of Colorado at home for their first Pac-12 meet of the season. Unsurprising to Utes fans, the reds sent Colorado packing in a breezy 85-58 victory, once again led by junior forward Alissa Pili. Accompanied by sophomore guard Gianna Kneepkens as a top scorer, who contributed 17 points to the board, Pili added a giant 25 points to help seal in the win.

Starting the first quarter, Utah and Colorado traded the ball back and forth across the court with no one claiming a substantial early lead, which has been a trademark of Utah’s play so far this season. Utah would pull off a small run to bring them to 19-17 to finish out the first quarter, just barely ahead of the Buffaloes.

In a post-game interview with Lynne Roberts, the head coach commented on the Utes’ slow start to Wednesday’s match, acknowledging that “the first quarter was back and forth, and it took us about six or seven minutes to wake up or play at the tempo and intensity that we normally do.” Though it may have been a weak start, the Utes changed their game and came firing back in the second quarter to put the pressure back on Colorado.

Heading into the second quarter, the Utes began to ramp it up and set in motion some offensive tactics that their opponents this season have known all too well — in the first six and a half minutes, Utah executed a clean 26-point run against Colorado, bringing them up to a 40-21 lead. For about another thirty seconds, Colorado didn’t reach the net before nabbing a quick 7 points to bring their side to 28. Utah proceeded to finish out the second half at an improved 44-28.

Kicking off the third quarter feeling a little more like themselves, the Utes held steady and traded some more points back and forth before notching the score up to 61-41, putting them ahead by 20. Uncomfortable with the growing lead, Colorado brought the heat and went on a small run to claim the last points of the quarter, leaving the scoreboard at 63-50. 

The fourth and final quarter of the game saw Utah sweat a bit, though the team ultimately cleaned up the court and increased their lead — shooting an impressive 64% at the end of the game, the Utes increased the score gap to 28 points to finish out the game at 85-58, defending their record and handing Colorado a tough loss.

Alissa Pili played an aggressive game, marking her fourth consecutive match where she has scored at least 20 points for the Utes. Forward Jenna Johnson marked a team-high seven rebounds, and placed third for the game just behind Kneepkens with a contribution of 14 points.

Having claimed an important conference win to bring their season record to 9-0 — a feat that hasn’t been achieved since the 2018-2019 season — the Utes will return to non-Pac-12 competition when they go up against UC Riverside at home on Dec. 17.


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