Michelle Plouffe scored 17 points for Utah.
Feb. 22, 2013
SALT LAKE CITY - The Utah women's basketball team earned a big win over Washington on Friday evening, 60-48.
Washington (19-7, 11-4 Pac-12) entered the game third in the Pac-12 standings. The Huskies entered the game averaging 67.6 points per game.
"Very, very pleased with our effort tonight," Utah head coach Anthony Levrets. "I thought we came out and played with a tremendous focus and energy at both ends of the floor. Even when we went through lulls offensively, we continued to defend and rebound, which is always a key for us but is always a huge key against Washington. We couldn't be prouder of our team."
Michelle Plouffe and Iwalani Rodrigues led Utah with 17 points each, while Rachel Messer was also in double-figure scoring with 11 points. Taryn Wicijowski had a team-high 11 rebounds, while Plouffe pulled down eight boards.
Utah (15-11, 6-9 Pac-12) took an 8-0 lead through the first four minutes of the game, and led by as many as 10 points early in the first half. Washington battled back to tie the score twice. With the Utes holding a three-point lead with three minutes left in the first half, 29-26, Utah scored the final five points in the half, including a buzzer-beating half-court three-pointer from Rodrigues, to take an eight-point lead into the locker room, 34-26.
"'Utes Win' is the name of a game we play around here before every single game," Levrets said. "It ends when someone makes a half-court shot before we leave. It's a lucky shot, but it's something that they work on and they have a blast doing it. I think it gave us a ton of momentum going into the half."
In the second half, Washington cut a 10-point Utah lead with 13:30 left down to four points, 38-34 with a six-point run, but Rodrigues quickly answered at the other end of the floor with a three-pointer. It was as close as the Huskies would come to the lead in the second half. Utah held a double-digit lead several times as the second half continued.
Utah led by seven points, 52-45 with 1:45 left as Washington was forced into fouling. Utah made six of eight free throws during the final stretch, including a Danielle Rodriguez layup off a steal with 40 seconds left in the game.
The Utes had a season-high 10 blocks.
Washington was led by Jazmine Davis, who scored 22 points for the Huskies. She came into the game averaging 19.5 points per game.
"The big thing tonight is that we had to make Jazmine Davis earn all of her baskets," Levrets said. "She is a great player. What we couldn't do is allow all the others to get points too. We were team defense on her, and then personnel defense on everyone else. Our kids followed the game plan perfectly, played their tendencies, and that was as good as we have played defensively in a long time."
Utah plays its final regular-season home game of the year against Washington State on Sunday, Feb. 24. The Utes will honor seniors Rodrigues, Messer, Chelsea Bridgewater and Rita Sitivi before the game, and there will be a special postgame presentation to honor retiring athletic trainer Deb Willardson.