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WOMENS BASKETBALL


Utah 78, Southern Cal 58

BY JOHN COON
ASSOCIATED PRESS

SALT LAKE CITY - Alissa Pili scored a season-high 37 points and had six rebounds to lead No. 20 Utah to a 78-58 victory over No. 6 Southern California.

Pili shot 13 of 16 from the field including 5 of 6 on 3 pointers. Matyson Wilke added 12 points off the bench.

JuJu Watkins led USC with 24 points and McKenzie Forbes added 11. The Trojans (13-2, 3-2 Pac-12) struggled on offense, shooting 36% from the field and going 7 of 14 from the free throw line.

Issy Palmer returned to action for Utah (13-5, 3-3) for the first time since being sidelined in mid-November with a knee injury. Palmer started at point guard for the first three games before getting injured in a loss to Baylor.

The Utes overtook USC in the first quarter with stifling defense, holding the Trojans to just 31% shooting over that 10-minute stretch. Pili scored four of Utah’s first five second-quarter baskets, culminating in a 3-pointer and a layup off a steal that put the Utes up 32-20 midway through the quarter.

Watkins scored a pair of baskets to fuel a 10-2 USC run that trimmed Utah’s lead to 41-38 early in the third quarter. The Trojans were unable to erase the deficit entirely. Pili scored three baskets to help the Utes end the third quarter on a 14-2 run. She punctuated the run with a 3-pointer that gave Utah a 61-44 lead heading into the fourth quarter.

BIG PICTURE

USC struggled to keep the Utes from successfully attacking the rim. The Trojans were outscored 28-14 in the paint.

Utah maximized scoring opportunities on possessions following turnovers. The Utes turned 17 USC turnovers into 27 points, opening a door for them to pull away after halftime.

Utah athletics press release

January 19, 2024





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