Lynne Roberts was clear-eyed and realistic about what Utah’s upset of No. 22 Arizona State meant for the program.
“I would say it’s a big win,” the third-year head coach said after Utah overcame an 11-point fourth-quarter deficit to beat the Sun Devils 58-56 in Tempe. “Arizona State is one of those storied programs in our conference. …They’re a mainstay in the NCAA tournament, and they won our league last year. They’re a nationally recognized brand in women’s basketball. To beat them at their place is really, really big.”
The most impressive aspect of Utah’s win is that it wasn’t anywhere near the Utes best game.
“We didn’t play awesome,” Roberts said. “It took our best effort, but not our best game. …If you’re good, you find a way to win. We found a way to win today.”
Utah actually enjoyed an impressive start against the Sun Devils, jumping out to a 10-point lead and holding ASU scoreless until the 5:03 mark of the first quarter.
The Utes offense struggled in the second and third quarters, but the Utah defense kept the team in the game. The Utes had 11 turnovers in the first half, but finished with just 16. They had just one turnover in the fourth quarter as they battled back.
The Utes also grabbed most of their 11 offensive boards in the second half. Forward Megan Huff finished the game with 14 rebounds, but all six of her offensive boards came in the second half.
Huff finished with a team-leading 16 points and 14 rebounds, while Emily Potter added nine points and three blocked shots. Tori Williams scored 10 points, while Megan Jacobs and Tilar Clark came off the bench to add nine points and four rebounds each.2 comments on this story
With less than a minute left in the game, Utah led Arizona State 52-51. The teams battled back and forth, with the Sun Devils fouling to try and get the ball back and neither team pulling away from the other. With 19 seconds left and a one-point lead, Williams hit four consecutive free throws to secure the victory.
“We had a great first quarter and fourth quarter, and an equally unimpressive second and third,” Roberts said. “I am proud of our team for showing toughness.”
The Utes travel to Phoenix where they will take on Arizona on Sunday at noon.