State women's basketball roundup: Utes beat Colorado in OT, Aggies fall in Fresno
BOULDER, Colo. — The Utes won their third overtime game of the season, defeating Colorado, 61-56 on Saturday afternoon.
With the score tied at 50, the Utes won the tip to open the extra stanza and Janita Badon scored Utah's first four points of overtime. Utah held a 55-52 lead with two minutes remaining after Taryn Wicijowski made one of two free throws. CU was fouled on both of its next possessions (sandwiched by a missed layup by the Utes) and went 4-for-4 from the free-throw line to take a one-point lead with 52 seconds remaining, 56-55.
On the Utes next possession, Iwalani Rodrigues nailed a 3-pointer from the corner with 30 seconds left to give Utah the lead for good, 58-56. CU's Chucky Jeffery was blocked by Michelle Plouffe at the other end of the floor, and the ball went back to the Utes. Plouffe was fouled on the inbounds, and made both free throws to put the Utes up by four. The Buffs again had a chance and turned the ball over on a bad pass. Plouffe was again fouled when the ball went back to Utah, and she hit one of two from the charity stripe for a five-point advantage. CU's desperation three was wide of its mark.
"I am really proud of them," Utah head coach Anthony Levrets said. "When our backs are against the wall we seem to perform at our best. Last time against Colorado we were ahead by 10 and they came back and beat us. We let it slip away again here this time, but we didn't give in. We kept getting stops and we made enough plays at the end."
The Utes shot 49 percent in the game compared to 37 percent for Colorado. The Buffs were able to capitalize on Utah turnovers, with 23 points scored off of Ute miscues. The score was tied 13 times with 11 lead changes throughout.
Utah is 3-0 in overtime games this season.
Four players scored in double figures, led by 16 points from Wicijowski. She also had a team-high nine rebounds. Badon and Rodrigues had 15 apiece, while Plouffe scored 13 points and had four steals.
"Janita made two huge plays offensively in overtime, but more importantly on defense she locked down (Lexy) Kresl and didn't give her a three," Levrets said. "If you put our 15 minutes of overtime in three games into a highlight reel of her, it'd be pretty interesting. She's a great leader for us."
Colorado was led by 15 points from Jeffery.
Utah looked to take control of the game in the second half. With CU leading 30-28, a 12-3 Utah run gave the Utes a seven-point advantage, 40-33 with 11 minutes left in the game. The Utes held their largest lead of the game, an eight-point advantage, 48-40, with seven minutes remaining. Colorado rallied with a 10-point run to take a two-point lead with two minutes remaining, 50-48, before Rodrigues tied the game in the final minute with a pair of free throws to push the game into overtime.
Utah continues on the road next weekend, traveling to California and Stanford beginning on Thursday.
FRESNO STATE 78, UTAH STATE 60: At Fresno, Calif., in a battle between the first and second place teams in the Western Athletic Conference, first-place Fresno State prevailed.
Utah State falls to 17-8 overall and 8-3 in the Western Athletic Conference. The road loss was the Aggies' first since losing to Idaho State on Dec. 10. Utah State had won eight-straight road games, including its first seven WAC games. Fresno State improves to 22-4 overall and 10-0 in league action with the win.
Despite the loss, the Aggies maintain sole possession of second place in the WAC after Louisiana Tech lost to Hawaii earlier today.
The Aggies were led by 21 points from junior guard Devyn Christensen. Fellow junior guard Jenna Johnson also added a career-high with 17 points to go along with seven rebounds. Senior forward Ashlee Brown led all players with 12 rebounds, while adding five points and three assists.
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