Utah reaches WNIT final
Women’s basketball • Utes to take on Drexel this Saturday for postseason championship.
Published: April 4, 2013 12:09AM
Updated: April 4, 2013 12:12AM

The Utah women played basketball in April for the first time in school history on Wednesday night.

Now, the Utes will play a second game, this one for a postseason title.

Utah defeated Kansas State 54-46 in overtime to advance to the championship round of the WNIT. In five wins through the tournament, four have come away from the Huntsman Center.

“This has been fun,” Utes coach Anthony Levrets said. “This has been a wonderful opportunity for a group of kids to build a special memory, and they’ve taken advantage of that.”

With the win, Utah will face Drexel on Saturday afternoon for a chance at a title.

In defeating the Wildcats — a Big 12 opponent — Utah’s duo of Taryn Wicijowski and Michelle Plouffe dominated. Both juniors, Plouffe scored 24 points and grabbed 13 rebounds. Wicijowski complemented that with 18 points and 17 rebounds.

With the two of them playing well, the Utes were able to score 13 of the first 19 points of the game. They wobbled a bit through the course of 45 minutes, but never trailed.

“Michelle and Taryn were really good,” Levrets said. “They for the ball inside and they finished in the paint. Defensively, they were facing smaller kids. Kansas State plays a different brand of ball, and those two did a tremendous job.”

Defensively, Utah shadowed, and frustrated and ultimately stopped KSU guard Brittany Chambers, who has scored 29 a night in the WNIT. On Wednesday night, Chambers scored 16. She shot 5 of 21 from the field with Iwalani Rodrigues focusing all of her defensive attention on her.

The Utes move to 24-12 on the season, turning a pedestrian year into something special. The run has been predicated on defense, and taking care of the basketball. With the win, Utah’s won seven of its last eight games.

“A lot of credit has to go to our staff,” Levrets said. “They have put together a great gameplan in every matchup. We’ve been prepared, and it shows. The key is the kids. They’ve implemented it, and they’ve done a great job in executing the scouting report.”

Highlights

O Utah wins its fifth consecutive game and advances to the WNIT title game against Drexel.

• Taryn Wicijowski and Michelle Plouffe combine for 42 points and 30 rebounds.

Utah 54,Kansas State 46

OVERTIME

Kansas State (19-18) • Caron 4-11 2-4 11, Chambers 5-21 5-6 16, White 3-5 0-0 6, Texada 3-12 4-4 11, Craig 1-6 0-0 2, Brown 0-3 0-0 0, Spresser 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 16-58 11-14 46.

Utah (23-13) • Wicijowski 8-16 2-2 18, Plouffe 8-20 6-6 24, Rodrigues 1-8 2-2 4, Messer 1-2 0-0 3, Rodriguez 0-0 0-0 0, Bridgewater 0-0 0-0 0, Dunbar 1-2 0-0 3, Wilson 1-2 0-0 2. Totals 20-50 10-10 54. Halftime • Utah 26-17. Regulation • 39-39. 3-Point Goals • Kansas State 3-27 (Caron 1-6, Chambers 1-7, White 0-1, Texada 1-7, Craig 0-3, Brown 0-3), Utah 4-12 (Plouffe 2-6, Rodrigues 0-1, Messer 1-2, Dunbar 1-2, Wilson 0-1). Fouled Out • Kansas State 1 (White). Rebounds • Kansas State 25 (Caron 3, Chambers 10, White 5, Texada 5, Craig 2), Utah 41 (Wicijowski 17, Plouffe 13, Rodrigues 4, Messer 1, Dunbar 3, Wilson 3). Assists • Kansas State 6 (Chambers 4, White 2), Utah 8 (Wicijowski 2, Rodrigues 3, Dunbar 1, Wilson 2). Total Fouls • Kansas State 13, Utah 11. A • 2,750.