Taryn Wicijowski led Utah with 14 points against UCLA.
Jan. 26, 2012
SALT LAKE CITY - A late surge by UCLA led to a heartbreaking loss for the Utah women's basketball team, 65-60 on Thursday evening.
With the Utes leading by nine, 55-46 with 5:30 remaining, the Bruins closed out the game with a 19-5 run to take the win. Utah struggled with UCLA's defensive press in the final minutes, making just one field goal and turning the ball over six times.
Four players scored in double figures for the Utes, led by 14 points from Taryn Wicijowski. Rachel Messer scored a career-high 13 points while Janita Badon and Iwalani Rodrigues each had 10 points. Michelle Plouffe had a team-high 12 rebounds.
"It's incredibly disappointing for how well we played for 35 minutes to have that result," Utah head coach Anthony Levrets said. "The first half they got us with offensive rebounding. In the second half they only got one offensive rebound, but then they turn us over with their press and get easy baskets.
"Press attack is something we work on every day in practice, and it doesn't matter who we're playing against, because it's the one thing that can change a game so quickly. It can take a 20-point game to an eight-point game. I'm disappointed that something I feel like we should be really good at in the end cost us."
Down by six at halftime, 29-25, Utah started the second half with a 9-2 run through the first five minutes to take a four-point lead, 37-33. The run was capped off by a three-point play from Rachel Morris, who was fouled on her layup.
UCLA made the next three points to cut the lead to a point, 37-36, before the Utes reeled off another run of seven points to take an eight-point lead, 44-36. Badon had a long three at the end of the shot clock, while Cheyenne Wilson tipped it in off an offensive rebound.
UCLA was led by 21 points from Mariah Williams, while Markel Walker had a double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds.
"One of our quotes of the day is that there are 86,400 seconds in a day and you have to make sure that you play every single one of those seconds like it's the most important one, and that's what we're striving for, we're just not there yet," Levrets said.
Utah continues at home on Saturday, Jan. 28, against USC. The Utes will be holding their annual Power of Pink game. Fans who wear pink will receive free admission.