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.
Rosie Moult scored a team-high 20 points for Fresno State with Ki-Ki Moore adding 12 points. Alex Sheedy had a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds for the Bulldogs.
SEATTLE 70, UTAH VALLEY 41: At Seattle, the Wolverines stumbled in their final nonconference game of the year, 70-41, as 14 turnovers and poor shooting allowed Seattle to push the lead to 24-13 by halftime.
Talisa Rhea, who finished the first half with two points, scored 15 points in the first seven minutes of the second half and spurred a 9-0 run out of halftime to help Seattle (15-9) pull away.
"Obviously it's disappointing to have that kind of showing," said head coach Cathy Nixon. "I told the kids at halftime that this was a learning opportunity for us. We've been a team that's always responded well and hopefully we can learn from this and come back strong in conference play next week."
Jenna Johnson led Utah Valley with 10 points and Whitney Jenkins added seven points and four steals.
Rhea finished with 19 points while Kacie Sowell had 15 points and 11 rebounds for the Redhawks, who shot 60 percent in a 48-point second half.
Utah Valley returns to Great West Conference play next week at Houston Baptist and Texas-Pan American. The Wolverines are in second place, at 4-2, in the GWC with four games to go. UVU closes out the regular season at home against HBU on Feb. 28 and first-place North Dakota on March 3.
OAKLAND 59, SOUTHERN UTAH 45: At Rochester, Mich., Southern Utah matched its season high with six 3-pointers against Oakland on Saturday, but it wouldn't be enough as the Thunderbirds fell to 2-14 in the Summit League this season. The Golden Grizzlies snap a four-game losing streak to improve to 7-8 and improve their standing heading into the conference tournament. Bethany Watterworth led all scorers with 20 points for Oakland who got another 19 from Carnago. Victoria Lipscomb was just one rebound shy of a double-double after finishing with 10 points and 9 boards. The Grizzlies didn't allow any of the Thunderbirds to score in the double-figures as Andrea Jones and Kimie Hawkins tied for the team-high with nine apiece. Southern Utah will play its final road game in the Summit League this Monday when it visits IPFW. The T-Birds took an 80-68 win over the Mastodons in Cedar City earlier this year and will look for the season sweep when the two teams meet in Fort Wayne at 5 p.m. (MT).
IDAHO STATE 65, WEBER STATE 53: At Pocatello, the Wildcats hit just one of their first 18 shots from the field, but junior guard Megan Patterson knocked down a game-high 18 points, all from long distance as she converted six 3-pointers. The six treys give Patterson 150 career 3-pointers, moving her into a tie with Sheila Robertson for fourth on the Wildcats' career list.
Senior center Mikell Woodfield added 13 points and sophomore guard Jordan Pfau chipped in 10 for Weber State, while junior forward Amanda Hughes had 10 rebounds.
After falling behind 22-5 early, Weber State cut it to 13 at halftime and closed within eight early in the second half, but couldn't get closer as Idaho State closed in on capturing the Big Sky's regular season title.
Weber State (2-25, 0-14 Big Sky) will host Northern Colorado on Feb. 25 before wrapping up its 2011-12 season against Montana State on March 3.
NO. 18 WESTMINSTER 78, NO. 8 LEWIS-CLARK STATE 56: At Salt Lake City, the Griffins (18-7, 11-1) took one step closer to a fourth straight Frontier Conference championship, lowering the team's magic number to claim the regular season title to just one. They have already clinched a tie for the title and can win it outright by winning either of the final two games they play next week.
The Griffins put four starters in double figures in the game, led by 18 points from Dana Bates. She shot 7-of-10 from the field while collecting seven rebounds, one assist and one steal. Nicole Yazzie added 16 points and five steals in the contest. Cydney Tibbitts and Jenteal Jackson scored 13 and 12 respectively.
LCSC (23-4, 9-3) raced out to an early 12-4 advantage less than five minutes into the game. A 7-0 run by the Griffins a few minutes later turned a seven-point deficit into a one-point advantage with 2:52 remaining in the opening half. After Tia Pappas made a free throw with 1:38 remaining in the half, Westminster took the lead and would not trail again.
Pappas scored six big points for the Griffins in the opening half. She made both of her field goal attempts in the half, including one from beyond the arc. Pappas finished the game with nine points, five rebounds and played solid defense in her career-high 20 minutes on the floor.
After taking a 29-27 lead into the intermission, Westminster put the game away early in the second half. With the score even at 31 with 16:30 remaining, the Griffins scored 11 consecutive points, aided by triples from Brooke Larsen, Yazzie and Jackson. A few minutes later it was a 10-0 run that ballooned the lead to 22 with 6:54 to play. LCSC wouldn't get within 20 the rest of the way.
Westminster shot 46.3 percent from the floor while also making 10-of-26 (35.8 percent) from beyond the arc. The nation's No. 3 free throw shooting team was 18-of-21 at the stripe to hit 85.7 percent. The Griffins controlled the glass to the tune of a 37-28 advantage while turning 12 offensive boards into 11 second-chance points.
Defensively, Westminster limited the Frontier Conference's highest scoring team to just 56 points, 15 below their average. The Warriors shot just 38.8 percent from the floor and went 8-for-21 after halftime. Westminster forced 18 turnovers and scored 19 points from the opportunities.
The Griffins will look to clinch the outright title on Thursday when they welcome Montana State-Northern to the Behnken Field House. That game will tipoff at 5:30 p.m. and also be available on Griffins TV.
SOURTHERN IDAHO 61, SLCC 57: At Twin Falls, Idaho, the Bruins had 30 turnovers to squander a 47 percent shooting outing. Sofia Hepworth and Fawn Brady led Salt Lake (14-11, 5-7 SWAC) offensively. Brady finished with a double-double scoring 14 points with a team-high 11 rebounds while Hepworth scored a team-high 15 points.
The Bruins return home for their final home games of the season nest weekend as they prepare for the Region 18 Tournament hosted at Salt Lake Community College on March 8-10.