Dec. 29, 2012
SALT LAKE CITY - Iwalani Rodrigues led Utah with a season-high 23 points as the Utah women's basketball team closed its non-conference campaign with a 62-56 loss to North Dakota.
Michelle Plouffe had a season-high 12 rebounds and 11 points for her first double-double of the season. She also had three steals and three assists. Taryn Wicijowski scored 17 points. Rodrigues also had eight rebounds.
The two teams spent most of the game within a few points of each other. The score was tied 27-27 at halftime. With the score tied at 39-39 with 10:21 remaining in the second half, North Dakota went on a 10-0 run over a nearly five-minute stretch that allowed UND to take the lead for good.
"Credit to North Dakota," Utah head coach Anthony Levrets said. "They had a really good game plan - the same one that was giving us trouble against Northern Colorado, UC Irvine and BYU. We've got to figure it out. We can't be 1-of-16 for three, and our big's numbers aren't very good, percentage-wise. But a lot of that has to do with how many people are playing around them - every chance there's two or three or four people surrounding them. We've got to get them better shots and other people to knock down shots." Utah shot just 34-percent from the floor and went 1-of-16 from three-point range.
"I'm not sure yet [how to clean that up]," Levrets said. "We're going to figure it out though. We have a problem scoring the basketball. We missed so many easy shots early, and it's sort of been a pattern for us. We get really good shots and then we don't finish them. I think we missed 11 or 12 shots in the paint today. You can't do that and win. The strength of our team is from the inside out, and we've got to finish those plays. I don't have an answer yet. But we have until Friday to figure it out.
"We've got to make sure we continue to improve. I don't know if we've gotten worse, but we haven't gotten any better. Other teams have prepared for us, but we haven't really adjusted to it. That's my fault. We've got to figure that out. One game at a time. Hopefully we'll learn from this, and get ready to play an incredibly difficult first two weeks in conference."
Utah begins Pac-12 play against eighth-ranked California on Friday, Jan. 4, at 6:00 p.m. MT. The game will be aired on the Pac-12 Network. The Utes first four Pac-12 games are against teams currently ranked in the top 25.