Jessica Perry scored a season- and career-high 10 points in Utah's loss to Gonzaga Wednesday.
Dec. 29, 2004
SPOKANE, Wash. -- The University of Utah women's basketball team dropped a 66-60 decision to Gonzaga University at the McCarthey Athletic Center Wednesday night. The Bulldogs took control early behind strong shooting, then held off a furious Ute rally down the stretch to take the six-point victory.
Gonzaga (9-2) converted 71.4 percent (15-of21) of its field-goal opportunities in the first half. The Bulldogs also scored four points from the free-throw line in the opening 20 minutes, while Utah (8-4) didn't even get an attempt from the charity stripe.
While Gonzaga missed just six times in the first half, Utah was shooting a paltry 35.3 percent (12-of-34). That poor shooting left the Utes with a deficit of as many as 13 late in the first half. Utah pulled within eight with 43 seconds left until halftime on a Jessica Perry three-pointer. But Shannon Mathews scored for Gonzaga to close out the half and give the Bulldogs a 10-point lead, 37-27.
Things didn't get any better for Utah in the opening minutes of the second half. Gonzaga used a 9-0 spurt over the first 3:08 of the second half to take a 19-point lead, 46-27. It was the most Utah had trailed by all season. Midway through the second half, the Bulldogs continued to lead comfortably, holding a 16-point edge, 56-40.
But the Utes began to chip away at the deficit. A Perry bucket off an offensive rebound sparked a 6-0 run that pulled Utah back within 10 with nine minutes to play. The Utes had nine opportunities to pull within single digits over the next seven minutes. They finally accomplished that with 2:10 remaining in the game when Kim Smith hit a pair of free throws to make it 61-53.
With 1:34 remaining, Utah trailed by just five points, 63-58, after Shona Thorburn made a steal in the backcourt and scored. The Utes had a chance to trim their deficit even further. But Thorburn missed three free-throws after being fouled on a three-point attempt. Utah got the rebound off the last missed free throw. Smith then missed a three-pointer and another jumper in the paint after another offensive rebound.
For the game, Gonzaga shot 52.2 percent from the field, while Utah hit at a rate of 37.7 percent. Burke led the Bulldogs with a game-high 20 points, while Anne Bailey came off the bench to score 18. Four Utes scored in double figures, led by Lana Sitterud's 11-point effort. Smith, Perry and Thorburn each scored 10 for Utah.
The Utes will be back in action again Saturday at 1 p.m., when they host IPFW in a 1 p.m. contest at the Huntsman Center.