Kim Smith scored a career-high 23 points Thursday night in Ogden, leading Utah to a seven-point win over Weber State.
Dec. 9, 2004
OGDEN, Utah -- The University of Utah women's basketball team had a 17-point lead midway through the second half of Thursday night's game at Weber State. What looked like a runaway Ute victory turned into a nail-biter as Utah held off a furious Wildcat rally over the final 10 minutes of the contest.
Kim Smith scored a season-high 23 points to lead Utah (6-2) to its fifth consecutive victory. Smith recorded her fifth double-double of the season and the 16th of her career, pulling down a game-high 14 rebounds. Shona Thorburn tossed in 16 points, while Deanne Hanchett tacked on 13 to join Smith in double figures for the Utes.
Utah led by nine four minutes into the second half, 41-32. Thorburn sparked a 13-5 Ute spurt with a three-pointer. All 13 points in the Utah run were scored by Thorburn or Smith.
For the next five minutes, it was the Julie Gjertsen show for Weber State. Gjertsen scored 14 points in five minutes, including three straight three-pointers. Gjertsen's explosion led to an 18-4 outburst for the Wildcats, pulling them within three, 58-55. Utah still led by three, 62-59, with 53 seconds remaining after a Brooke Hansen jumper for Weber State.
But with 24 seconds remaining and the shot clock nearly expiring, Smith hit a leaning jumper to give Utah a five-point lead, 64-59. The Utes put the victory on ice 14 seconds later. After getting a stop, Thorburn hit a streaking Hanchett with a length-of-the-floor, baseball-style pass for an easy layup, accounting for the final 66-59 tally.
Utah never trailed in the contest. The Utes led by six early in the contest. Weber State tied the contest at 16-16 with 8:53 left in the first half. Although the game was in doubt late, it was ultimately as close as the Wildcats would get.
One of the biggest stretches of the game for Utah came in the final minute of the first half. The Utes led 30-23 late in the first period, but used a strong defensive effort to outscore Weber State 7-2 over the last 58 seconds of the half. That spurt included a Lana Sitterud lay-in at the buzzer to give Utah a 12-point advantage at the intermission, 37-25.
The Utes are back in action again Saturday afternoon at the Huntsman Center. Utah hosts No. 23/25-ranked TCU in a 3 p.m. tipoff.