SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Utes won in decisive fashion, 67-47, at home Friday night over the Oregon Ducks.
The Utes took over the game in the second half as their efficient shooting and lockdown defense propelled the squad to victory.
Utah's defense held the Ducks to 31.3 percent shooting in the game (20-64) and recorded eight steals and five blocks, which had a huge impact in the game.
The Utes were so effective because of "transition defense. They don’t press the ball like they used to. We did a really good job constantly getting back,” Utah head coach Anthony Levrets said.
The Utes' offense was constantly pushing the issue, as it had 18 points off Duck turnovers and 14 points on second-chance putbacks.
The starting point was a 9-0 run the Utes went on midway through the first half to go up 20-11. The Utes didn’t look back from there as they led 35-23 at halftime.
Iwalani Rodrigues came out firing after halftime as she scored seven of her 14 points early in the second half.
“We need to get ourselves ready to play in the beginning, just get that fire,” said Rodrigues on her overall game, which included five rebounds and five assists. “I just have fun just playing.”
The Utes (3-8, 12-10) were hitting on all cylinders Friday night as they ran up their largest lead to 27 points, 65-38, late in the second half.
Down low in the post Taryn Wicijowski was active all night as she collected eight rebounds, two blocks and 13 points.
Wicijowski also held the Ducks' leading scorer coming into the game, Jillian Alleyne, to only seven points and nine rebounds.
“I just tried to play good defense on her, and box her out to keep her off the boards,” Wicijowski said.
The Ducks (1-10, 3-20) were never close in the second half, but forward Liz Brenner had herself a game with 11 points and 15 rebounds.
The Utes were passing exceptionally well to find the open player as they had 17 assists.
Michelle Plouffe had a team-high 15 points with three steals to lead the Utes. The Utes' bench came to play as Cheyenne Wilson led the second unit with eight points. Chelsea Bridgewater played with great effort off the bench as well with six points and four rebounds.
“I’m proud of our team. We had a tough road stretch but are now back home and had a solid basketball game with everyone contributing to a good team win,” Levrets said.
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