Emily Potter scored a team-high 16 points and grabbed six rebounds during Monday's win over UC Santa Barbara.
Dec. 30, 2013
SALT LAKE CITY - Three members of the University of Utah women's basketball team hit double-digits in points as the Utes claimed their fifth consecutive win, 66-57 over UC Santa Barbara, in the final non-conference game of the regular season on Monday at the Huntsman Center.
Utah (7-4) shot 53.5 (24-45) from the floor and was 40.0 (4-10) from long range against UCSB, compared to a 32.9 (24-73) mark for the Gauchos. The Utes had 18 assists on their 24 field goals, while rebounds were even at 38 apiece.
With the win, the Utes improved to 5-1 in the Jon M. Huntsman Center this season with their only blemish a 75-69 loss to No. 15/12 Nebraska on Nov. 15.
Freshman forward Emily Potter turned in her sixth straight double-figure point game and eighth this season with 16 points. She was 8-of-16 from the floor and hit her first two shots for four points and two blocks before the first media timeout. She ended the game with six rebounds and three blocks, her third game with at least three blocks this season.
Sophomore guard Danielle Rodriguez scored 13 points and made three of her four attempts from the field. She was 7-of-12 from the foul line to go with three rebounds and totaled six assists with five coming in the first half.
Junior guard Cheyenne Wilson was the third Ute in double-figures as she connected on her first three and first two 3-point shots and ended with 10 points after hitting four of her six shots, including a 2-of-3 effort from 3-point land. This was Wilson's third double-figure-point effort of the year.
Redshirt freshman Nakia Arquette corralled a career-high 10 rebounds, which was also a game high. She also set a new career best with two blocks and tied her career high with three assists. She also scored nine points after going 3-of-6 from the floor and 3-of-4 from the free throw line.
Guard Ciera Dunbar added seven points, four assists and four rebounds after a 2-of-4 shooting night.
"She played her tail off," Utah Head Coach Anthony Levrets said. "She made a couple of big-time rebounds. That is what seniors do and she has really stepped up into a leadership role. She is really good with the younger kids and she made a huge shot when we were down. Her defensive rebounding was really big down the stretch."
Freshman Malia Nawahine tallied six points, equaled her season-best with five rebounds, handed out two assists and blocked a shot. Freshman Devri Owens tied her season best with five rebounds to go with three points.
Back-to-back jumpers by Potter to open the game as Utah took a 6-2 edge, but UCSB came back to tie the game for the first time at six points apiece. The game would be tied once more (8) before a 9-0 Utah run, which included a Wilson 3-pointer and lay-in followed by an Owens' 3-pointer and Rodriguez free throw for a 17-8 edge. The Utes' lead grew to as many as 12 (26-14) after another Wilson 3-pointer and Potter jumper. UCSB cut its deficit in half with a 6-0 run to make it a 26-20 contest and would eventually pull to within four (30-26). A Dunbar 3-pointer under one minute helped the Utes grab a 33-28 edge heading into halftime. Utah shot 56.0 (14-25) from the floor in the first 20 minutes and was 4-of-7 from long range. Eleven of Utah's 14 field goals were assisted and the Utes recorded six blocks in the first half as well.
Potter opened the second half with a mid-range jumper to gain a 35-28 edge before UCSB was able to cut its deficit to two, 35-33, via a 5-0 run. Two lay-ins by Potter and one by Nawahine pushed the Ute lead back to six, 41-35, but the back-and-forth continued as UCSB came back to tie the game for the third time at 43-43 after putting together an 8-2 run. There would be one more tie (45-45) and the Gauchos would take the lead for the first time at 47-45. A Rodriguez free throw, Dunbar jumper and transition lay-in by Wilson put the Utes back ahead 50-47 via a 5-0 run. Both teams made two free throws to make the game 52-49. An Arquette putback and Nawahine free throw pushed Utah's lead to six, 55-49 and the Utes would lead as many as eight (61-53)
UC Santa Barbara (5-8) was led by 23 points and four rebounds by Nicole Nesbit.
"We have put ourselves in a position now that the conference season here is really meaningful, as it always is," Levrets said. "We have given ourselves an opportunity by making sure we didn't let something slide here. We have a chance to do something pretty cool."
The Utes tip off Pac-12 Conference play on Friday against UCLA at 6 p.m. PT. The game will be televised live on Pac-12 Networks with Anne Marie Anderson (PBP) and Tammy Blackburn (Analyst) calling the action from Pauley Pavilion.