Michelle Plouffe led Utah with 14 points and eight boards in the 58-55 win over Colorado.
Jan. 29, 2014
SALT LAKE CITY - Senior forward Michelle Plouffe moved into fifth place on Utah's all-time scoring list and the University of Utah women's basketball team took a 58-55 win over Colorado in a Pac-12 Conference contest on Wednesday in the Huntsman Center.
Utah (10-10, 3-6 Pac-12) won for the third time in four games and had two players in double figures.
"This was a great team win," Utah head coach Anthony Levrets said. "I feel like we are back. We are as healthy as we are going to be and back in the flow for the whole team. We feel like we went through a hard stretch and we are going to continue to get better and play our best basketball toward the end of the season."
With 14 points on the night, Plouffe now has 1,889 career points for the Utes and moved past Morgan Warburton (1,886 from 2005-09) for fifth place in school history. She also gathered eight rebounds, handed out a pair of assists and came up with a block. Plouffe is now 75 points away from tying Kalee Whipple (1,964 from 2006-10) for fourth on the list.
Junior guard Cheyenne Wilson joined Plouffe in double digits as she poured in 11 after connecting on three of her four 3-point attempts. This was her fifth game in double-digits in points this season.
"This team feeds really well off each other's energy," Wilson said. "When we have multiple people knocking open shots down, people come off the bench and feel like they can contribute, too."
Wilson also set a new career high with seven assists.
"Today, the assists really helped me cheer up and reminded me that I can help in other ways than just scoring. Later on, when I was knocking those 3's down, I wasn't even thinking about missing the first one. I was just shooting."
CU scored six of the first eight points of the contest before a Dunbar 3-pointer and Rodriguez lay-in gave Utah its first lead of the contest, 7-6. The Buffaloes made their first two shots before a 1-of-5 stretch allowed the Utes to grab the early lead. There would be three more ties (10, 11 and 15) before a 3-for-4 stretch for Utah beyond the arc for the Utes by freshman guard Malia Nawahine, Nakia Arquette and Wilson gave the Utes a 21-17 edge. Utah would extend to a six-point edge (25-19) and an old-fashioned 3-point play by Plouffe gave the Utes a seven-point edge (28-21). CU closed the half on a 6-1 run to cut Utah's deficit to a basket, 29-27. The Utes were 5-of-11 from long range in the opening half as Rodriguez had a team-high seven points off a 3-of-6 shooting performance to go with five rebounds and Wilson equaled her career high with five assists.
Utah built a four-point edge (33-29) early in the second half by forcing the Buffaloes to a 1-of-5 start shooting from the floor. Colorado then put together a 10-2 stretch to seize a 39-35 edge, but Utah countered with a 6-2 stretch, with Plouffe scoring all six for Utah, to knot the game for the seventh time at 45-45. A Wilson 3-pointer off a kick-and-drive by Rodriguez evened the game for the eighth time, third time in the half, at 48-48. Colorado built a 52-48 lead before another Wilson 3-pointer and a Plouffe jumper brought Utah to a 53-52 lead. A pair of Dunbar free throws put Utah ahead 55-52 and the Utes would go on to secure the 58-55 victory. Plouffe shot 5-of-9 from the floor in the second half and scored 11 points to go with tree rebounds, while Wilson knocked down both of her 3-point shots.
Colorado (12-8, 2-7 Pac-12) was led by a game-high 22 points from Brittany Wilson, who also came up with four rebounds and three assists for the Buffaloes.
"We started slow last year, too," Levrets said. "We were 2-8 to start league play. We don't want to be there, but when you have been there before, you know it is possible to get out. We believe we have a chance to do something pretty cool at the end of the year."
The Utes travel to Boulder on Sunday to complete the home-and-home series with Colorado on Sunday at 12 p.m. MT. The game will be televised live on the Pac-12 Networks with Krista Blunk (PBP) and Ros Gold-Onwude (Analyst) calling the action.