Michelle Plouffe led Utah with 15 points against Oregon.
Feb. 8, 2013
SALT LAKE CITY - Three players scored in double figures as the Utah women's basketball team picked up a big win over Oregon, 67-47, on Friday afternoon.
"We were really prepared," Utah head coach Anthony Levrets said. "Seven of the last 10 games we played were against teams ranked in the top 20. It's been really difficult. Not that anything is easy in this league, but it's nice to get back home. We felt like we were prepared. We feel like our team has a chance to go on a nice run down the stretch."
Michelle Plouffe led Utah with 15 points. Taryn Wicijowski, who was playing in her first game back after missing the previous three games due to injury, scored 13 points with a team-high eight rebounds. Iwalani Rodrigues had 14 points, five assists and five rebounds.
"In practice and shoot around today I was taking it easy, and then today I decided to just go for it," Wicijowski said about her injury. "I don't want to play reserved because if something did happen I wouldn't want to have played crappy because I was playing reserved. Just no regrets. I was a little excited and a little rusty, but it's good to be back."
Utah struggled with rebounding in the early minutes, allowing Oregon to take a six-point lead, 8-2 through the first four minutes of the game. The Utes regrouped with an 18-3 run, including 12-straight points, for a nine-point advantage, 20-11 with 9:30 left in the first half. Although Oregon was able to cut the lead to six points as the game continued, 26-20 with six minutes left in the half, it prompted a seven-point run by Utah to lift the Utes to a 13-point lead, 33-20 with 4:45 left. Utah led by 12 points at halftime, with Plouffe leading the Utes with eight points. Utah scored 10 points off seven Oregon turnovers in the first half.
"The number one thing is transition defense," Levrets said. "They don't press like they used to because they have so many people injured. [Oregon head coach] Paul Westhead's system is all about transition basketball, and you have to get that stopped. We did a really good job consistently for 40 minutes making them get back and run stuff off of their half court. They're really good in transition and we're pretty disciplined in transition defense, so it's a good matchup for us. If you take that away, they are not as comfortable in the half court and you end up getting some of those things."
Utah continued to pull away in the second half, holding as much as a 27-point lead in the game.
"I think in the second half we came out with intensive energy, and we stopped them a bunch on defense, deflections and that sort of thing," Wicijowski said. "I think that was big for us because coming out of halftime you have lots of energy, and if you get scored on the first possession it deflates you a little bit. It was good that we could get a stop and keep ourselves going."
Utah continues at home on Sunday, Feb. 10, against Oregon State at 1:00 p.m. MT. The game will be televised on the Pac-12 Networks.