To have such an opportunity to go 4-2 and kind of stay in the top-third is really what we had an opportunity to do, and we just kind of came out flat and tentative and just got outplayed from an aggressiveness standpoint. —Utah head coach Lynne Roberts
SALT LAKE CITY — Utah women’s basketball team turned in its lowest scoring production of the season as the Utes fell to the Trojans 58-47 at the Jon M. Huntsman Center Sunday afternoon.
“You have to give them (USC) credit, we’ve been averaging 80 points and they held us to 47, that’s kind of embarrassing. That’s an embarrassing showing,” Utah head coach Lynne Roberts said.
Previously, the lowest score total for Utah this year was 60 points in a 65-60 loss at Alabama in the second game of the season.
USC’s scoring was mostly produced by Aliyah Mazyck, Sadie Edwards and Kristen Simon. The trio combined to score 50 of the Trojans’ 58 points in the contest. Utah and USC both shot the same percentage from the field — 37 percent — but the Trojans made three more buckets than the Utes, attempted eight more field goals and shot seven more free throws. Utah turned the ball over 21 times, leading to 19 points off turnovers for the Trojans.
“I thought they played harder than we did. They wanted to beat us more than evidently we wanted to beat them, which I don’t quite get, but you have to give them credit, I think they outplayed us today. In every way they were the better team,” Roberts said. “So we’ve got to regroup. Missed opportunity.”
Roberts said that the Trojans didn’t do anything defensively that the Utes hadn’t seen before.
“In terms of their defense, they played hard. They’ve got great athletes, they’re pretty good at turning people over. They didn’t do anything that we haven’t seen before, it’s not like they threw some trick defense at us, anything that we didn’t know what to do and hadn’t prepared for, we just didn’t handle it right,” Roberts said.
Utah’s scoring was spread out, with nine of the 10 Utes who got playing time scoring, but it would take until the fourth quarter for Megan Huff, the only Ute to score in double-digits, to score her 10th point.
After Utah defeated both of the Washington schools last week for its first Pac-12 road sweep, the Utes lost a close contest to No. 14 UCLA on Friday night and then fell to the Trojans to drop Utah’s Pac-12 record to 3-3.
“To have such an opportunity to go 4-2 and kind of stay in the top-third is really what we had an opportunity to do, and we just kind of came out flat and tentative and just got outplayed from an aggressiveness standpoint,” Roberts said.
After a back-and-forth start to the game, USC held Utah without a point for three minutes late in the first quarter, while Utah turned the ball over six times in the quarter. Utah’s defense clamped down in response, holding the Trojans to just 1-of-8 shooting to close out the quarter.
After Tori Williams hit a jumper with 1:53 remaining in the second quarter, the Trojans countered with a 5-0 run to close the second quarter, with the last two points coming via two free throws after Edwards was fouled on a 3-point attempt. Utah was held to just 23 points in the half.
The Trojans led throughout the third period, with the Utes unable to climb the hill and take the lead. USC led 43-37 entering the fourth quarter.
The Trojans opened up the fourth quarter on a 7-2 run to stretch their lead to 11 points as the duo of Mazyck and Simon continued to make their presence felt. Utah cut the USC lead to single-digits multiple times, but could never fully get over the hump. A Huff midrange jumper off an inbounds play cut the lead to six with 2:30 remaining, but after a Huff block, Utah turned the ball over. An Evans layup pushed the USC lead back to eight, which effectively iced the game.
The Utes still have 12 of their 18 conference games left, and Roberts is not “sounding the alarm,” but hopes the team comes out “ticked off.”
“We’ve got some seniors that are great seniors, they’ve been great to this program, this is their year. They’ve got to get their team going. As coaches, there’s not much you can do once the ball gets thrown in the air in terms of mentality. That’s on the players, and if they were sitting here, they’d tell you the same thing,” Roberts said. “So we’ve got to get our minds right, we’ve got to have the right mentality.”