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WOMENS BASKETBALL


Utah 74, Southern Cal 68

Utah 74, Southern Cal 68

BETH HARRIS
ASSOCIATED PRESS

LOS ANGELES - Alissa Pili had 23 points and nine rebounds against her old team and No. 18 Utah defeated seventh-ranked Southern California 74-68 despite 30 points from Trojans star JuJu Watkins.

The Utes (20-8, 10-6 Pac-12) ended the Trojans’ seven-game winning streak and completed a season sweep. They handed USC its worst loss of the season, 78-58 last month in Salt Lake City.

It was Utah’s best road win, having never before beaten a team ranked higher than 15th away from home.

Watkins scored USC’s first 12 points of the fourth quarter, drawing the Trojans to 59-57. But Pili made a pair of free throws and Dasia Young hit a 3-pointer that kept the Utes ahead 64-60.

Watkins’ basket got the Trojans within four before Pili backed down Rayah Marshall in the paint and scored to make it 69-63.

McKenzie Forbes hit a 3-pointer coming out of a timeout and Watkins made a pair of free throws that left USC trailing 71-68. Watkins got fouled again but USC was called for a lane violation.

Pili finished 12 of 14 from the line against the school where she began her college career before transferring.

Kennady McQueen added 14 points and Young finished with 13 for Utah. The Utes bounced back after an 85-52 loss at No. 12 UCLA on Thursday.

Kaitlyn Davis added 13 points on 6-of-6 shooting before fouling out with 3:18 remaining for USC (21-5, 11-5).

It was an off-game for Watkins, who went 10 of 30 from the floor and 1 of 6 from 3-point range.

Watkins was late returning after halftime. The teams were on the court when she came flying out of the tunnel and was quickly subbed in before play began.

Trailing by nine, the Trojans ran off nine in a row to tie it at 39-all in the third, when Davis had 11 points. After another tie, the Utes scored eight straight, getting back-to-back 3-pointers by McQueen and Jenna Johnson, and led 50-45 going into the fourth.

Wilke sparked Utah with 11 points in the second, when the Utes went 5 of 8 from 3-point range with Wilke making three. They led 34-28 at the break.

Pili scored Utah’s first seven points of the game while the Trojans missed nine consecutive shots and trailed 14-6 in the first quarter. The teams combined to shoot 8 of 29 from the floor.

BIG PICTURE

Utah: The Utes improved to 4-7 against ranked teams this season. Their first ranked win of the season was over the Trojans last month.

USC: The loss in the Trojans’ final regular-season home game spoiled Senior Day, with six players set to graduate.

VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS

Utah athletics press release

February 25, 2024





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