Women’s Basketball: Utes Back on Track

BYU Vs. Utah-58 Kim Brenneisen

The Utah women’s basketball team looked to rebound after a tough weekend following back to back losses against Arizona State and Arizona last weekend. Taking down the Stanford Cardinals would prove to be no easy task, however,  as Utah has yet to see a win against Stanford since joining the Pac-12.

When all was said and done, the Cardinals walked out of the Huntsman Center winners, handing the Utes their fourth loss of the season and third straight at home.

“I thought our effort was better,” said head coach Lynne Roberts at the post game press conference. “We did a lot of things better today, but that start of the fourth quarter crushed us defensively. I am proud of our team for bouncing back. All around, tonight was much better from last weekend.”

The Utes started off slow, struggling from the field and they finished the first quarter down 20-9. Utah shot just 20 percent in the first, while Stanford buried the home team behind 50 percent shooting. Things seemed to improve for the Utes in the second as they held the powerhouse Cardinal to just 39 percent shooting. Still, both team scored 15 points in that quarter, and Utah found themselves down at halftime 35-24.

In the third quarter, the Utes led a great rally and found themselves down by only six at one point, but at the start of the fourth, Stanford went on an 8-0 run and never looked back. When all was said and done, the Cardinals left Salt Lake City with a 77-58 win.

Senior wing Paige Crozon had her second double-double of the season, picking up 10 points and 10 rebounds. Junior forward Emily Potter led the Utes in scoring, dropping 15 and picking up six rebounds to go with a career high six blocks.

On Sunday against Cal, the Utes looked to break out of their recent slump. The Utes started the game strong and they eventually jumped out to an 11-1 lead in the first. After one quarter, Cal battled back and Utah led by just three points, 13-10.

Utah’s offense really started to click in the second quarter, as they outscored the Golden Bears 22-18. By the end of the game, the Utes were able to break out of their recent losing streak, as they defeated Cal 63-57.

“It feels great — I am much happier when we win,” Roberts said with a laugh at her postgame press conference. “Of our six conference games, this was our fifth ranked opponent. It’s a tough conference and it’s not like we’re losing games against bad teams. I’m proud of our team for just chipping away and sticking with it. It shows a lot of toughness.”

Redshirt junior Wendy Anae also had a big game for the home team, subbing in for Emily Potter when Potter ran into foul trouble. Anae hit some big shots, including a buzzer beating turnaround jumper just inside the three point line to get the crowd and team on their feet.

“I honestly just let loose,” Anae said. “I just came out and was ready for the game plan.”

Crozon also had high praise for her teammate.

“Every game Wendy is getting more and more confident,” Crozon said. “We knew that she could play like this all along. She’s the hardest working player on the court.”

Though Cal came close at the end, Utah made some defensive stops and got the ball back at the right times. Crozon finished with another 10 point game, while Potter and Malia Nawahine both led the Utes with 15 points each.

Next up, the Utes hit the road for a matchup against a ranked Oregon State team.

j.walch@dailyutahchronicle.com

@JaredWalch