Lady Luck was not with the Utes during this weekend's trip to Reno as the Utes dropped their second game of the Nugget Classic to Portland 58-50. It was Portland's first victory of the season and drops the Utes record to 1-4.
The Utes started the game slow in what has become a pattern this year, allowing Portland to jump out to a 7-0 lead, led by a Cassandra Thompson layup and free throw. The Utes responded more quickly than in recent games however, as both Taryn Wicijowski and Tanaeya Boclair made a couple shots each to bring the Utes back within three points at a score of 9-6. The Pilots of Portland would respond by extending the lead to 21-12, before the Utes would come back and close the gap to two points, going into half down 27-25.
The second half would prove to be a battle, as the teams combined for eight lead changes in the second half. The teams swapped leads throughout the second half neither team ever gaining more than a five point advantage until the final minute. Paige Crozon scored all of her 7 points in the second half, and Taryn Wicijowski matched Crozon's 7 second half points to add to her 11 first half points to lead the Utes. With 2:37 remain in the game Wicijowski scored to tie the game at 49-49, but Portland would retake the lead fifteen seconds later on a Kari Luttinen jumper before the Pilots called a timeout. Portland would close out the final minutes of the game by going on a 9-1 run putting the game out of reach for the Utes.
Wicijowski led the Utes with 18 points and 9 rebounds and Danielle Rodriguez scored 8 while dishing out 5 assists for the Utes. Defensively, the Utes again allowed an opposing player to score 20+ points as the Pilots Cassandra Brown scored 20 points while grabbing 9 rebounds. Kari Luttinen had a solid game for Portland as well scoring 16 points to go with 3 rebounds.
It was a tough loss for the Utes, as they had their chances in the final minutes to come out on top, but were unable to get the ball through the hoop. The loss mean Utah will remain winless on the road this season after dropping two games in Nebraska to go along with this weekends pair of defeats. The Lady Utes return to Salt Lake City and the friendly confines of the Huntsman Center on Wednesday night to take on Utah State. The Utes will be at the Huntsman Center for a six game homestand and will try to get a few more notches in the win column. You can watch Wednesday's game against the Aggies at 7 pm MT on pac-12.com or listen on ESPN700.