WBB: Maxwell leads Utah to victory over Washington State

Ryan Kostecka

Brynna Maxwell now owns the state of Washington.

After dropping 16 points in the victory over the Huskies on Friday night in front of at least 30 friends and family, one had to wonder what her encore performance would be.

Two days later, Maxwell laid claim to the best player in the Apple state after scoring 22 points — leading the Utes to a 78-66 victory over Washington State on Sunday.

Maxwell finished 7-of-9 from the field, 4-of-5 from beyond the arc, with four rebounds, two assists and two steals. Her performance capped off an incredible weekend in which the Utes secured a sweep of the Washington schools, a big deal this late in the season.

"Any way that you can get it done at this point in this league in February, and a road sweep, is great," said Lynne Roberts, Utah head coach. "I thought for three and a half quarters, we were really great, and then we played a little casual the last six minutes. But I don't want to talk about that, I want to talk about the 34 minutes that we did play well."

Maxwell was far from the only star on the Utes. 

Daneesha Provo has arguably her best game of the season, finishing with 20 points on 7-of-10 shooting. Her ability to take the pressure off Maxwell forced the Cougars to spread out defensively, which in turn opened up things for the Utes.

Arguably more important than what she did on offense, Provo's defense on Cougars star Chanelle Molina really helped turn the tide. She held Molina, who played 35 minutes, to just three points on 1-of-7 shooting.

"I thought Daneesha on Chanelle Molina was the difference in the game," Roberts said. "With Daneesha's length and quickness, she made her a non-factor and Molina is very good."

The Utes got out to a hot start, leading 22-6 after the first quarter following a 22-2 run to end the frame. They shot 58% from the floor and 60% from beyond the arc, all while limiting Washington State to three made field goals.

Maxwell and Provo then got started in the second quarter, combining for 17 points, nearly outscoring the Cougars (19) by themselves.

Utah pushed its lead to 32 points in the third quarter following a 12-1 run, effectively ending the game. Washington State tried to make it interesting late, scoring 29 points in the fourth quarter, but the Utes were able to hang on for the double-digit win.

Utah now returns to its own state for a four-game homestand, beginning with games against No. 8 Stanford and Cal this weekend. Friday's game against the Cardinal tips off at 7 p.m. from the Jon M. Huntsman Center.