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No. 11 Utah Women’s Basketball Defeats Rival BYU at Home

It was another great shooting night for the Utes, as the team shot 53.4% from the field and 50% from three. Pili led the way with 23 points on 5 for 7 three-point shooting.
Utah+forward+Dasia+Young+%2834%29+versus+the+BYU+Cougars+at+Jon+M.+Huntsman+Center+in+Salt+Lake+City+on+Saturday%2C+Dec.+02%2C+2023.+%28Photo+by+Xiangyao+%E2%80%9CAxe%E2%80%9D+Tang+%7C+The+Daily+Utah+Chronicle%29
Xiangyao Tang
Utah forward Dasia Young (34) versus the BYU Cougars at Jon M. Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City on Saturday, Dec. 02, 2023. (Photo by Xiangyao “Axe” Tang | The Daily Utah Chronicle)

 

The No. 11 University of Utah women’s basketball team took down the BYU Cougars 87-68 in a rivalry game on Saturday night. The Utes built a double-digit lead in the first quarter and held the Cougars off the rest of the way.

After returning home from the Great Alaska Shootout a couple of weeks ago, the Utes had a three-game homestand that concluded with the win over BYU. They played Merrimack on Nov. 24 and won handily 98-34. Utah followed this up with a 100-44 victory over Carroll College on Tuesday.

The biggest game of the homestand was easily the rivalry matchup with BYU. The Cougars entered the game with a 6-1 record and received a couple of votes for the AP Poll. Their only loss heading into this game was against the Baylor Lady Birds.

The Utes jumped out to an electric start in the first quarter on Saturday night. After Kennady McQueen missed a three-pointer early, the Utes got a stop. The ball found its way to McQueen again and she nailed her second three-point attempt to open the scoring. She nailed another three-pointer moments later to extend the lead to 8-2. The three-point onslaught continued, with Alissa Pili knocking one down and Jenna Johnson making two in the first quarter. This let the Utes build an early lead and they led 27-17 at the end of one.

The Cougars played a solid game offensively and were able to attack the paint pretty well. However, they could not keep up with Utah’s offensive attack. The Utes added five more three-pointers in the second quarter. McQueen continued her hot night with eight second quarter points. Gianna Kneepkens picked up eight points in the second quarter as well. The Utes scored 25 points total in the second quarter and entered halftime with a 52-32 lead. 

BYU responded with a good start to the second half. They opened the third quarter with a 15-7 run. The Cougars cut Utah’s lead down to 12 with four minutes left in the third, but that was as close as they’d get for the rest of the night. Utah responded with an 11-4 run over those final four minutes to build the lead back up to 19 heading into the fourth quarter. It was a well-rounded effort to build the lead back up. McQueen and Pili scored on back-to-back possessions, and Reese Ross drained a three soon after. 

The margin stayed around the same the rest of the way, and Utah ended up winning by that same 19-point margin, 87-68. It was another great shooting night for the Utes, as the team shot 53.4% from the field and 50% from three. Pili led the way with 23 points on 5 for 7 three-point shooting. McQueen ended the night with 18 points on 4 for 6 three-point shooting in a tremendous performance. The Utes did get sloppy with the ball at times throughout. BYU recorded 8 steals as a team, and Utah will want to take better care of the ball moving forward.

Another concern for the Utes is the health of Kneepkens, who went down with an injury in the fourth quarter. She had to be helped off of the court and was putting very little, if any weight on her right leg. Combined with Isabel Palmer missing the last few games, the guard depth is something to watch for the Utes moving forward.

“It was like foot or ankle,” Head Coach Lynne Roberts said. “She just kind of rolled it and it scared her. We’ll see. I do think, obviously, G is a huge part of our team and that is a significant loss if it happens, but I do believe in our team and our depth.”

Utah has an East Coast trip coming up this weekend. They’ll play Saint Joseph’s in Philadelphia on Thursday night. They’ll then play No. 1 ranked South Carolina in a huge showdown on Sunday in Uncasville, Connecticut.

 

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@i_dunaway

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About the Contributors
Isaac Dunaway, Sports Writer
Isaac Dunaway is a sports writer for The Daily Utah Chronicle. He started this position in October 2021. He is a sophomore at the University of Utah studying communication with an emphasis in journalism. He is also a proud member of the University of Utah Marching Band. He is a native of Salt Lake City.
Xiangyao Tang, Photo Director
Axe is a photographer and the photo director of the Daily Utah Chronicle. He is from China and is a senior majoring in computer science and minoring in digital photography. Axe joined the Chronicle in August of 2021. In addition to his position at the Chrony, he is also a photo intern for University of Utah Athletics. When he's not writing code, you will find him rock climbing, camping, skiing or hiking with his camera.

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