WBB: Rally comes up short in loss to No. 11 Arizona
It was there for the taking.
A pair of free throws by guard Dru Gylten cut what once was a 17-point second half lead down to 7 with 7:15 to play in the fourth quarter — giving the Utes hope of pulling off the big upset.
Unfortunately that was as close as Utah would get the rest of the way, eventually falling 85-69 to No. 11 Arizona on Friday night at the Jon M. Huntsman Center.
Arizona went on a 13-0 run over the next three minutes to put the game away, as both teams traded baskets the rest of the way with Utah never threatening again.
Brynna Maxwell continued her stellar freshman season, finishing with 22 points 6-of-10 shooting, including a 5-for-8 mark from beyond the arc. She also added five assists and four rebounds for another complete game.
Gylten added 16 points and four assists, finishing 2-of-3 from beyond the arc and 6-for-6 from the free throw line.
But no other Ute finished in double-figures scoring.
The upset was there for the taking as Ari McDonald, the nation's eighth highest scorer at 20.5 points per game, missed the game with a lower leg injury. But Sam Thomas picked up the scoring for her teammate, dropping a career-high 31 points (13-for-13 from the free throw line) to pace the Wildcats.
Three other Wildcats finished in double-figures as Lucia Alonso led the way with 14 points, Dominique McBryde added 12 and Cate Reese chipped in 11. Overall, it was a good shooting night for Arizona, finishing 50% from the floor, 10-of-19 from beyond the arc and 23-of-26 from the charity stripe.
Utah dug itself into an an early hole as they struggled to generate on offense and failed to contain Thomas, leading to a 26-13 deficit through one and 43-30 deficit at the break.
The comeback began by outscoring Arizona 22-19 in the third, and opened the fourth with a Maxwell three-pointer to get it down to seven and put the pressure on. But that was all she wrote as Arizona found its footing and showed why it's one of the top teams in the nation.
Utah returns to action on Sunday when it hosts No. 21 Arizona State on senior day. Tipoff is set for 12 p.m..