Nakia Arquette scored a career-high 12 points against Nevada.
Dec. 7, 2013
SALT LAKE CITY - After holding an early double-digit lead, free throws down the stretch helped lift the Utah women's basketball team to a 61-57 win over Nevada.
Four players scored in double figures led by 12 points and seven rebounds by Emily Potter. Nakia Arquette had a career-high 12 points while Michelle Plouffe and Ciera Dunbar each scored 10. Plouffe had a team-high eight rebounds.
After leading 36-28 at halftime, the Utes saw a double-digit lead slowly evaporate in the waning minutes of the game. The Utes led by 12 points, 48-36 with 11:20 left in the game before a 12-3 Nevada run cut that lead down to three points, 51-48, with 7:20 left. Although both teams had long scoring droughts in the final minutes, the teams traded baskets to keep Utah on top.
The final minutes came down to free throws. Nevada couldn't take advantage of opportunities from the charity stripe. With 19 seconds left and Nevada down by three, 59-56, Nevada missed the first of two free throws. Although Terilyn Moe made the second free throw to cut the Wolfpack lead down to two, Nevada was forced into fouling the Utes. Plouffe made the first of two free throws to keep Utah's advantage at three, and when Potter pulled down the rebound on the second free throw she was fouled. With Potter making one of two with 12 seconds left, the four-point lead clinched the win for the Utes.
"Really proud of our team," Utah head coach Anthony Levrets said. "We were about as bad offensively as we've been in that second half. Some nights that just happens. Some nights you don't make shots. Nevada does a really good job switching up defenses and that really messed with our young team. We missed a bunch of shots we normally make. But, we went down to the other end, and what's really been bothering us the last few games is not being able to defend, and we defended. We rebounded enough and got enough stops down the stretch.
Utah shot 41 percent in the game and held Nevada to 34 percent shooting. The Utes held a 43-35 advantage on the boards.
A series of runs saw Utah's lead go as high as 13 points and as low as four points throughout the first half. With Utah up 10-6 with 14 minutes left in the first half, an 11-2 run gave Utah a 21-8 lead with 11 minutes remaining. Nevada rallied with a 13-4 run of their own to put the Wolfpack within four points, 25-21 with six minutes left. From there the Utes went on a 10-2 run to again give Utah a double-digit 13-point lead with two minutes left. Utah led 36-28 at halftime behind 10 points for Arquette. The Utes shot 48 percent in the first half and held Nevada to 34.5 percent shooting.
Utah remains at home on Wednesday, Dec. 11, hosting Utah Valley at 7:00 p.m. MT.