LOS ANGELES, Calif. – After holding a six-point lead with 24 seconds to go in the game, the Utah women’s basketball team lost 83-77 at Southern California in overtime, falling to 20-9 overall this season and 9-9 in Pac-12 play.
The Utes have clinched the No. 6 seed in the Pac-12 Tournament this coming week, its highest finish since joining the Pac-12. They will take on Washington on Thursday, March 7 at 9:30 p.m. MT in Las Vegas, Nev.
Two free throws from Erika Bean gave Utah a 64-58 lead with 24 seconds remaining in the game, but USC continued to push with Utah giving away two costly fouls and a three-pointer in the final 10 seconds that allowed the Trojans to send the game into overtime. In overtime, it turned into a game of free throws as the Utes and USC traded fouls up and down the court, but Utah was unable to knock down field goals with USC extending its lead out of grasp.
Megan Huff was able to put up another 30-point performance, scoring 30 points on 8-of-20 shooting and going 13-of-13 from the free throw line. She also added a game-high nine rebounds along with three blocks and two steals.
Kiana Moore added 13 points and four rebounds with Dru Gylten chipping in 12 points, five rebounds and five assists to round out Utah’s double-digit scorers.
Both teams struggled to get going offensively early in the game, with neither team scoring until the 7:03 mark and Utah not putting up its first field goal of the game until 4:59 when Niyah Becker hit a three to give the Utes a 5-4 lead. Despite a 5-0 run by the Trojans, the Utes held a one-point lead with less than four minutes to go in the quarter on a three from Sarah Porter, but eventually headed into the second down two.
The game remained close in the second quarter as Huff scored Utah’s first seven points of the period to give Utah a 19-16 lead with 5:02 left to play. The Utes held USC to just 16-percent shooting in the second quarter and was able to jump out to a five-point lead with less than a minute to go thanks to four straight points from Gylten, but the Trojans converted on a last second layup to make it a three-point game at half.
The Utes gained some offensive momentum in the third quarter, taking off on a 7-0 run for a 35-28 lead with 6:47 on the clock on the end of an acrobatic three-point play from Moore. Utah was still holding a seven-point lead with less than four to go in the quarter, but USC was able to whittle away at the Utah lead and tie the score before Porter sent the Utes into the fourth quarter with a 48-45 advantage on a key three-pointer.3 comments on this story
USC started rolling in the fourth quarter again, scoring five straight to tie the score 50-50 with 7:41 left in regulation, but Moore stepped on the gas for the Utes and scored five unanswered to give Utah a five-point cushion. Holding a six-point lead with less than 30 seconds to play, the Utes gave up a three-pointer to make it a one-possession game before a foul on the Utes would send the game into overtime with two game-tying free throws from the Trojans.
The Utes fell 83-77 in overtime, getting outscored 15-9 in the extra period.
Utah will return to action when it takes on Washington in Vegas for the first round of the 2019 Pac-12 Tournament. The game will tip off at 9:30 p.m. MT on Thursday, March 7.