SALT LAKE CITY — University of Utah senior Emily Potter’s name is preserved in Utah basketball history, this time after she set the school record for most blocks in a career in the Utes’ 74-63 win over Saint Mary’s, improving Utah’s record to 6-1 overall.
With 4:56 remaining in the second quarter, Potter blocked Megan McKay’s shot and cemented her place in the Utah record books. With 226 career blocks, Potter moved into first place for most blocks in a career for the Utes.
“I saw that last block, it was a convincing one too, in that second quarter. Potter is a great player, and this certainly isn’t me saying this for the first time. It’s just a real luxury to have somebody like that to anchor your defense. To have your name in the record books as No. 1 all-time, that’s pretty cool, especially in a program with such tradition and just a proud history, there’s a lot of great players that have played here, a lot of pride in this program, and she’ll be No. 1 for a long time. Records are meant to be broken, I’m sure someday it’ll be broken, but it’s just really cool and speaks to her ability,” Utah head coach Lynne Roberts said.
Potter also broke the single-season university record for blocks in 2016-17, with 89 last season, and currently ranks fifth in all-time blocks in Pac-12 history.
“With the last couple seasons, single seasons amount of blocks, I’ve been pretty up there, so at the beginning of the season, I knew I was close, but it hasn’t been in the forefront of my mind to try and get those blocks, I’ve tried to stay out of foul trouble,” Potter said as her coach chimed in with an "amen" to the latter part of the statement.
Potter finished with 15 points, five rebounds and a block, while Daneesha Provo came off the bench to lead the Utes in points, scoring 17 in the win.
“I feel like for me, it’s just being there for my teammates and being locked in on defense, and that’s what gets me going and gets them going in a sense. I’m always going to play my hardest and dive for loose balls and stuff like that, so I feel like my role is to come in and be that defensive spark, be there for my teammates and do whatever it takes to win,” Provo said.
After a back-and-forth first quarter, in which Utah started slow, the Utes outscored Saint Mary’s 23-16 in the second quarter to take a 34-29 lead into the locker room at the half. Utah came out of the locker room in the third quarter energized, starting the second half on a 9-2 run, and extended its lead to 12 at the end of the quarter.
“I didn’t plan on the sluggish start, but that’s kind of what we said at halftime, we weren’t really playing to our potential, we just were a little flat-footed, and I thought we had a much better second half,” Roberts said. "Offensively, we sputtered a little bit at times, but we had 19 more shot attempts than them, and that was the game. From our offensive rebounding to forcing turnovers."
In the fourth quarter, Saint Mary’s got within eight points with four minutes remaining in the game, but Tori Williams responded with a layup to push the Utah lead to 10. The Gaels wouldn’t get closer than that for the remainder of the contest.