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Women’s Sports Takes Center Stage On Historic Weekend

NCAA Womens Basketball: Pac-12 Conference Tournament Semifinals Utah vs Oregon Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

March 1st kicked off Women’s History Month, and the ladies of the Utah athletic department are contributing by creating some history of their own this weekend.

Kicking things off, #4 Red Rocks gymnastics posted their second-highest score in program history Friday night while tying the highest score in the nation this season en route to beating #9 Minnesota 198.575 to 197.850. The score ties Auburn and Florida for the highest score in the nation this season and was accomplished in part by a trio of perfect 10.000’s two of which were earned by Malie O’Keefe on the beam and bars, where Sage Thompson also turned in a perfect routine, marking the first time since 2015 that Utah has earned back-to-back 10.000’s. If that wasn’t enough, a 49.800 on bars was enough to tie the program record for best score in a single routine and is the highest record ever scored on bars in program history. The electrifying performance capped off the regular season homestand, as the Red Rocks prepare to finish the season at LSU before returning to the Beehive State for the PAC-12 Championship on March 19th at the Maverik Center.

Later in the evening, the sixth seed women’s basketball team came from behind to upset the second seed Oregon Ducks to advance to the PAC-12 championship game for the first time in program history. Freshman guard Gianna Kneepkens was electric, posting 24 points, while sophomore Kennady McQueen picked up her first career double-double with a team-high 11 rebounds and 13 points. Utah’s deep tournament run has likely guaranteed a spot in the women’s NCAA basketball tournament, regardless of the outcome of tonight’s bout with the conference’s top seed, and the nation’s #2 team, Stanford. That game will be broadcast on ESPN2 at 4:00 PM MT.

To add a cherry on top of the historic success of the gymnastics and basketball programs, Utah’s softball team recorded their 12th win in their first extra-innings game of the season, taking down Cal State Fullerton 5-4. Junior Julia Jiminez lifted the team with two home runs and ending the game on a double play, stepping on the bag at third, and firing the ball to first for a pair of outs.