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January 7, 2012 at 1:56 PM

Game thread: Utah at Washington

HUSKIES LOSE: Davis and Heard said they like defensive grudge matches, opting for 0-0 scores and a needed defensive play to then win it off one shot. Well, they got that on Saturday, it just didn’t work out in their favor and they forgot about their love of defense in overtime, getting ran over in a 49-36 loss. Witnessing 21 consecutive missed shots, Utah STILL had a chance to win the game in the final minute of regulation after pulling within 32-29 on FTs. Heard blocked a pair of Plouffe three-point attempts, but Badon’s brushed past Davis’ reach to tie the score with six seconds left. Since Wetmore (two) and Davis (one) missed FTs earlier in regulation, the game went to an extra five minutes. And with senior leaders Argens (fouls) and Rogers (injury) on the bench, the Huskies faded. UW was 1-for-7 from the field and had three turnovers lead to five Utah points in extra play. Davis led the team in scoring with 15 overall but backcourt cohort, Wetmore, was 0-for-8 in the game. UW shot a season-low 24.5 percent from the field overall and was outrebounded 44-41. It’s the Utes’ first Pac-12 win. They were led by Badon, who had nine of her game-high 16 points in overtime. Plouffe added 12 with 11 boards and Wicijowski had 10 rebounds with nine points. “The bottom line is for us to put a game like that away, we have to get a tough rebound or make free throws and we did neither, which left us vulnerable and Utah hit a big shot,” McGuff said. The Huskies (9-5, 1-3 Pac-12) will stew on this loss for a week before playing at WSU on Saturday. Utah (8-6, 1-2) hosts the Bay Area schools next week.
SCOREBOARD: No. 3 Notre Dame will probably move up a slot in the polls, defeating No. 2 Connecticut 74-67 in overtime. Around the Pac-12, WSU lost to Colorado 57-56 and Southern California defeated Arizona 72-67. Oregon State was up on No. 4 Stanford at the break, but I don’t expect that to stick. At Hec Ed, Utah has gone colder than the Rockies in the dead of winter, shooting 21.4 percent from the field. They have more turnovers (12) than made baskets in trailing 29-23 with 7:02 left in the game.
WHIFF: The Utes have missed their has 16 shots and are down 25-2 with 13:30 on the clock. FTs are the only offense they’re generating. Davis made a pretty move around Plouffe to get UW’s bucket in the second half. Argens had a pair of FTs.
HALFTIME: Washington cooled offensively and didn’t grab the rebounds it once did to close behind 21-19 at the break. UW was 2-for16 from the field in the final 11 minutes after opening the game 6-for-8 from the field. The Huskies didn’t have a FG in the last 6:44 of the half, receiving points from just three players. Rogers leads with 10 points and three rebounds. Davis has eight. The Utes are playing impressive defense and are aggressive in hitting the boards, but shooting 36 percent from the field. The have eight turnovers and are led by Plouffe’s seven points. They let go of leads against Colorado and Washington State in earlier conference play. Let’s see if Utah can hold on Saturday.
UTES LEAD: UW freshmen Aminah Wiliiams and Mollie Williams have taken some ill-advised shots and the Huskies are getting beat on the rebound. That’s helped the Utes build a modest 21-18 lead with 4:58 remaining in the half. UW is shooting 44.4 percent from the field overall.
WELCOME HOME: Freshman Cheyenne Wilson checked in for Utah with 14:07 left in the opening half. The guard starred at Cleveland High and has a solid rooting section behind the Utes bench at Hec Ed. UW leads 10-9 with 12:47 remaining in the half.
TV ALERT: Are you watching UW-Utah on UW-TV (Channel 27)? Well, you can also click over to CBS and catch the second half of No. 2 Connecticut (12-1) v No. 3 Notre Dame (14-1). The teams are tied at 31 points apiece at halftime and their only losses of the season are to No. 1 Baylor.
BARLOW BACK: First-year UW coach Kevin McGuff often goes with the “hot hand” in some rotations, but glad he put Barlow back in the starting lineup. He switched to G kellie McCann-Smith for the Colorado outing after the transfer scored a career-high 26 points in the Oregon loss. But Barlow is the team’s top defender and surprisingly a better ball-handler, even though she struggles to shoot. She’s a luxury player, but best as a starter than McCann-Smith. We’ll see how this develops throughout the season. Meanwhile in real-time, Davis and Rogers have scored early to give UW a 4-0 lead with 18:10 on the clock.
Washington is back at Hec Ed to welcome another Pac-12 newbie to the conference. Utah (7-6, 0-2 Pac-12) is one of the league’s better defensive teams, holding opponents to 62.9 points per game. The Utes feature top post Michelle Plouffe, the sister of former UW F Andrea. Michelle, a sophomore, averages 15.4 points.
Unlike Colorado on Thursday, Washington is familiar with the Utes. The Huskies traveled to Salt Lake last year, needing a rare three-pointer by sophomore F Marjorie Heard to defeat Utah 58-55. The Huskies are 3-0 against the Utes in Seattle, leading the all-time series 5-4.
Washington enters the matinee after its biggest win of the season, 75-67 against the Buffs (12-1, 1-1). Utah, meanwhile, is searching for its first conference victory. It allowed Washington State to claw back and win 60-43 on Thursday. The Utes allowed 21 points off 26 turnovers.
“This is a really important time for this young team,” said second-year Utah coach Anthony Levrets, whose team has already suffered two significant injuries this season in preseason play. “We have to learn from each night and continue to get better and improve. We feel like we have a good group, we just are depleted in numbers. We have to tighten up the ship a little bit and figure out how to get through those tough stretches.”
Washington (8-4, 1-2) is going through its own rocky road, trying to re-establish the positive vibes it had in nonconference play. A sweep of the Rocky Mountain schools before traveling to face rival WSU next week would do the trick.
Let’s get you started with the starting lineups:
F Rachel Messer
F Taryn Wicijowski
C Michelle Plouffe
G Janita Badon
G Iwalani Rodrigues
F Charmaine Barlow
F Mackenzie Argens
C Regina Rogers
G Jazmine Davis
G Mercedes Wetmore
Tonight’s officials are Michael Price, Michol Murray, Bret Gervasoni.



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