Utah surely didn't expect an overtime game with Idaho State, whom they had beaten 26 straight times, but the Utes poured in 19 points in the overtime period to come away with a 66-50 victory Wednesday night at the Huntsman Center to keep their winning streak intact against the Bengals.
Until that time, neither team could take control of the game in which there were seven ties and 10 lead changes.
Utah looked sluggish for Wednesday's entire game during regulation.
"We were a step slow all night," said Utah coach Elaine Elliott. "The kids were very tired."
Perhaps that could be attributed to spending the past two weekends in California playing Pac-10 teams, then returning home with back-to-back games on Tuesday and Wednesday nights.
"You have to give them credit," said Kalee Whipple, who led the Utes with 18 points. "They came out with more than we did."
Utah came out of the blocks with tight defense, but its offense just didn't jell and at the half the Utes found themselves trailing 25-21.
"We just weren't able to match the energy level of Idaho State," Elliott said.
However, after a mostly defensive first half, both teams came out in the second half and traded baskets for the first four minutes. Then Utah's Taryn Wicijowski picked up her fourth foul at about the 15-minute mark and left the game. Idaho State took a slight advantage, stretching out to a five-point lead.
But the Utes' Halie Sawyer then went to work. She tallied 15 boards for the night and 12 points. In the final minute, Idaho State held a 47-45 lead until Sawyer tied the game with a jumper from about 16 feet.
The Bengals missed the last shot and the game went to OT.
The overtime belonged to the Utes. Elliott said it was unexplainable but the Utes just had more energy with Wicijowski tipping in a shot, then hitting an outside shot, and then Janita Badon stole the ball and went down for a layup. Just like that, the Utes had a six-point lead, their largest of the evening, and Whipple hit a 3-pointer and then sealed the victory from the free-throw line.
Badon posted a career-high eight assists for Utah and Sawyer had her fifth career double-double.