WBB: Utes upset No. 21 Arizona State on Senior Day
Entering Sunday afternoon, the Utah women's basketball team was a combined 0-8 against nationally-ranked teams — losing by an average of 27 points per game in those matchups.
So when No. 21 Arizona State came to town, it wouldn't have been a surprise if the Utes went down again — they lost to No. 11 Arizona 85-69 on Friday night.
But senior day always brings a special type of magic in itself. An inspired effort led by seniors Kiana Moore and Daneesha Provo proved to be the difference in Utah's 75-71 victory over the visiting Sun Devils on Sunday.
“These are our first two recruits, really. When I first got the job, we got on Daneesha. She was transferring form Clemson, so that was in the spring, and Kiana was our first high school kid we recruited and committed,” Utah coach Lynne Roberts said. “I’ll always remember these guys as our first recruits here at the U.”
Provo finished with 12 points while Moore was perfect from the field in adding nine points off the bench. They each knocked down two three-pointers.
“I’m so pleased and happy for these guys that we won today. It’s a fun way to remember your senior night when you win,” Roberts said.
The two seniors got help from Brynna Maxwell and Andrea Torres, both of whom finished with a team-high 15 points. They were also each 3-of-4 from beyond the arc, as the Utes shot a combined 11-for-21 from long range.
Dru Gylten was once again spectacular for the Utes (13-14, 6-10 Pac-12), finishing with 10 points, a career-high 12 assists and five rebounds.
It wasn't the prettiest starts for the Utes, as the Sun Devils jumped out to a 25-16 lead at the end of the first quarter. Reili Richardson and Eboni Walker combined for 17 points in the opening frame.
But the comeback started in the second quarter as Torres and Moore combined for 14 points on 4-of-5 from beyond the arc to go into the half trailing 42-35.
The third quarter is where Utah delivered its big blow, scoring 26 points in the quarter as Maxwell and Provo combined for 14 points and four three-pointers in the frame for a 61-57 lead.
The fourth quarter was full of drama with Arizona State (19-9, 9-7 Pac-12) twice cutting the deficit to two points, but each time the Utes responded. With 6:40 remaining in the frame and clinging to a 64-62 lead, Utan went on a 6-0 run after a Provo Layup, Gytlen free throws and Lola Pendande layup to take the eight-point lead with 3:35 left.
Arizona State was able to cut the deficit to four before the Utes sunk 3-of-4 free throws to ice the game in the end.
Utah now hits the road to face USC on Friday at 7 p.m. and UCLA on Sunday at 2 p.m. in its final series of the season. The Pac-12 tournament begins the following in Las Vegas.