Senior forward Michelle Plouffe is now tied for Utah's career rebounding record.
Feb. 16, 2014
SALT LAKE CITY - Senior forward Michelle Plouffe tied Utah's career rebounding record and moved into fourth place on the school's career scoring list, but the University of Utah women's basketball team fell to Washington (67-66) on Sunday in the Huntsman Center.
Utah (10-15, 3-11 Pac-12) handed out 17 assists to only four turnovers, the team's lowest turnover total this season. The Utes have been in in single digits four times in 2013-14 and dropped to 4-3 in games decided by five or fewer points.
"Our kids competed and battled but once again, there was another facet of the game that we struggled with," Utah Head Coach Anthony Levrets said. "We put [Washington] on the free throw line 24 times and that proved to be the difference in the game. We have to figure out a way to win one of these games."
Plouffe posted her second consecutive 30-plus-point effort with a game-high 31 points to go with a game-high 14 rebounds. She now has 1,988 career points and is 12 points away from becoming the third player in school history with 2,000 points and 1,000 rebounds over her career. She is also in position to become the fourth member of Utah's 2,000-point club. The Edmonton, Alberta native is 87 points shy of third place in school history, which is currently held by Deb Asper (1980-84) at 2,075 career points. This was also Plouffe's 10th game with 20 or more points and she has been in double-figures 21 times in 23 games played this season. Plouffe also recorded three blocks and three steals against the Huskies.
Ciera Dunbar connected on three of her four attempts from long distance to total nine points, while sophomore guard Danielle Rodriguez tied her career high and set a new high for Pac-12 Conference games with nine assists. She also scored seven points to go with seven rebounds and one block.
Freshman forward Emily Potter chased down seven rebounds and scored six points. The Winnipeg, Manitoba native hit two of her first three shots to start the contest.
Freshman forward Wendy Anae made her first career start and turned in five points with two rebounds.
Anae and Potter opened the scoring with a pair of mid-range jumpers to give the Utes a 4-0 lead before seven straight Husky scores gave the visitors a 7-4 edge. Jumpers by Plouffe and Potter with a Rodriguez lay-in put Utah back ahead, 10-7. UW tied the game for the second time at 10-10 before Plouffe buried a 3-pointer to give the Utes a 13-10 advantage. The Utes opened up a four-point advantage (16-12), but the Huskies responded with a 12-2 stretch to grab a 24-18 lead. UW's lead would grow to as many as seven (27-20), but Utah finished strong with a 9-4 spurt to close within two heading into halftime, 31-29. The Utes handed out seven assists in the half without a turnover, while Plouffe registered 13 points to go with eight rebounds in the first 20 minutes.
"We executed and made shots," Levrets said. "Anytime we play with a purpose offensively, we do a nice job. The thing that is really hard is the defensive end of the floor. We got up seven and then in back-to-back possessions, we gave Washington's two best players shots that they like. That was the biggest point of the game." Play would be tied two more times early in the second half before a Wilson 3-pointer helped Utah regain the lead (37-36). Washington held a 38-37 lead before a 12-2 Utah spurt gave the Utes a 49-42 edge, the largest lead of the contest for the home team to that point. The Utes maintained their seven-point margin (51-44) before back-to-back Husky 3-pointers as part of a 9-2 run tied the game for the eighth time (53-53). Play would be tied two more times (60) as Washington scored four of the next five points (64-61). Plouffe then drove for a lay-in with 36 seconds remaining to cut Utah's deficit to one (64-63). UW made a pair of free throws to put the Huskies ahead, 66-63. Washington's Kelsey Plum split her 1-and-1 before Dunbar banked in a 3-point shot with two seconds left to set the final margin at 67-66 in favor of Washington.
Washington (15-10, 8-6 Pac-12) was led by Plum, who scored a team-high 19 points to go with seven rebounds and a pair of assists.
The Utes play at Arizona on Friday, Feb. 21 at 7 p.m. MT with a live video stream at pac.12com.