The University of Utah women’s basketball team will continue dancing in the WNIT after their 78-68 win against University of Las Vegas Thursday night.
The Utes came out hot against the Rebels and lead on the scoreboard for all but two minutes of the game. Redshirt junior Megan Huff lead Utah in scoring with 17 points and nine rebounds.
Right behind Huff was Tori Williams. Williams added 15 points and a career-high five assists. With those 15 points came back-to-back threes that got the Utes going in the first quarter, quickly giving the team a 6-2 advantage.
Tilar Clark chipped in 13 points, eight rebounds, an assist and a block, and Emily Potter rounded out Utah’s double-digit scorers with 10 points.
“I thought we played a really good first half,” head coach Lynne Roberts said. “We had 13 assists on 17 made baskets, which is great. We were doing a good job.”
The shots from deep continued to fall for Utah in the first, shooting 62-percent from the arc to take a 27-17 lead heading into the second quarter.
Utah’s defense was stingy in the second quarter, holding the Lady Rebels to 23-percent shooting compared to the 57-percent that the Utes were putting up. Huff scored eight of her 17 points in the second quarter with Utah holding an 18-point lead heading into halftime.
In the third quarter Utah’s offense took a turn. UNLV outscored the Utes 16-14. The Utes were able to take its largest lead of the game with 6:28 on the clock when a layup from Clark made it a 20-point advantage. UNLV was able to answer with an 8-0 run which cut the Utah lead to 53-41.
Utah was able to hold onto a double-digit lead heading into the final five minutes of the game, but UNLV was able to chip away at the advantage with a 7-0 run that made it 67-59 with 3:26 on the clock. The Utes didn’t give in though. They made key shots down the line with Erika Bean, Williams and Clark all making free throws to seal the win.
“The second half was just kind of ugly with a lot of fouls and a lot of free throws,” Roberts said. “It was hard for either team to get into any kind of rhythm, but we got the win. Postseason is about finding a way to win and moving on.”
The Utes move on to the second round of the tournament to play the Kansas State Wildcats in Manhattan, Kan. on Sunday at 4 p.m. MT. The game will be streamed live on KStateHD.TV.