Utah Utes women's basketball: Utes use great defense to beat Oregon State

Published: Monday, Feb. 11 2013 12:09 a.m. MST

Utah's Paige Crozon battles for the ball with Jamie Weisner during the Utes' win.

Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah women's basketball team won its second consecutive game Sunday afternoon with a 66-40 victory over visiting Oregon State.

With the win, Utah improved to 13-10 on the season and 4-8 in Pac-12 play while Oregon State dropped to 9-15 and 3-9 in the conference standings.

"This was an unbelievable team win," head coach Anthony Levrets said afterward. "That was the best defense we've played in quite awhile, and our offense was exceptional."

The Utes held Oregon State scoreless for the first 10 minutes of the game while igniting their own scoring run. Redshirt senior Iwalani Rodrigues hit back-to-back 3-pointers in the first two minutes, and Utah held a 12-0 lead until the Beavers scored with 10:17 left in the first half.

The Beavers went on their own mini run to pull to within five points, 19-14, with four minutes remaining in the half, but could not get any closer for the remainder of the game.

"Nine players scored points, and increasing our depth is something we have been working on," Levrets added. The Utes shot 48.1 percent from the field. Rodrigues finished with 18 points, and junior forward Michelle Plouffe added 14 points and 14 rebounds.

"Special things start to happen as the time gets small," Levrets said of Rodrigues' play in the second half of her senior year. Rodrigues hit 4 of 8 from 3-point range and had six boards, two blocks and six assists.

The Utes held Oregon State to just 29.6 percent shooting and no Beaver player reached double digits. Leading the effort on the defensive end was junior Taryn Wicijowski, who played 22 minutes in her second game back from a minor knee injury.

"Taryn is our quarterback on defense," Levrets said. "She's great on offense but even better on defense. She sees everything that happens, and it helps that she is brilliant."

The Utes donned their pink breast cancer awareness uniforms for the game against the Beavers. It was the second consecutive outing in the jerseys, which were debuted in Friday's "Pink Game" victory over Oregon.

"Last year we wore them until we lost," Rodrigues said. "We kind of feel as if they are lucky, but also, how often do you get to wear pink uniforms? We want to wear them out."

The Utes will visit Arizona State on Friday and Arizona on Sunday. The final homestand of the season is Feb. 22 and Feb. 24 when Utah hosts Washington and Washington State, respectively.

Sarah Thomas is a graduate of the University of Utah and has been covering sports for the Deseret News since 2008. EMAIL: sthomas@desnews.com

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