After a physical game in Boulder saw the Utes lose their third straight game in conference play, the University of Utah women’s basketball team hoped to reverse their fortunes in a Saturday afternoon game against the University of Colorado. The back and forth game saw five ties and 11 lead changes, but ultimately, the home team came away with the 58-53 victory.
The Utes debuted a new starting lineup that featured freshmen Kiana Moore and Megan Jacobs. Malia Nawahine, a usual starter, came off the bench and responded well, scoring 13 points on 5-of-13 shooting.
“This starting lineup was a little different, and we wanted to shake things up,” said head coach Lynne Roberts after the game. “It’s just a different look. I’m happy with it, but I need to look at film too to see how it really worked. Me personally, I’d rather finish a game than start it and I feel like sometimes people put a little too much into who starts or not. It takes a whole team to play the game.”
The Utes got a team effort from everyone against the Buffaloes. Starting out in the first quarter, both teams struggled shooting the ball, as each team shot less than 37 percent from the field. After the first quarter, Colorado held an 11-10 lead.
In the second quarter, both teams seemed to find an offensive groove as the Utes shot 44 percent from the field, while the visiting buffaloes connected on 54 percent of their attempts. Junior forward Emily Potter led the way against the Buffaloes with eight points in that quarter. Potter finished with a game high 16 points on 8-of-10 shooting, to go along with 11 rebounds.
“She was 8-of-10, so that tells you that she is not taking bad shots,” Roberts said of her forward. “She is being efficient. She had six offensive boards, which is a sign of determination. It’s not like she is alone in there. She always had three black jerseys around and she was able to pull down six offensive rebounds. I think she created two jump balls from offensive boards. Those kinds of things don’t go on stats, but they show determination.”
The third quarter belonged to the Utes, as they outscored the visiting team by seven to grab a four point lead heading into the fourth. The Utes shot a blistering 62 percent from the field while playing lock down defense, forcing the buffaloes into just 33 percent shooting.
In the fourth quarter, things slowed back down for both teams began to rely on their defense. Halfway through the fourth, Colorado held a four point lead. The Utes finished strong, however, going on a 10-4 run to close out the quarter and they won the game.
“At their place, we gave up 54 points to them,”Roberts said. “Today, they scored 53. You should be able to win anytime you hold a team to those numbers.”
Tanaeya Boclair was back in the game for the Utes after sitting out the previous game against the Buffaloes. Boclair’s efforts helped the team, as she netted 10 points, including a pair of clutch three pointers, to go along with six rebounds.
The Utes get ready to take on Washington and Washington State this weekend at the Huntsman Center.