The Utah women’s basketball team ran its offense well.
Players made the correct cuts through the lane. Passes were pinpoint. Coach Anthony Levrets smiled as his sets created open shot after open shot. He hung his head when those open shots clanged off the rim.
Pac-12 basketball USC 67, Utah 57
O Utah drops to 11-17 on the season.
» The Utes shoot 30 percent from the field.
» Michelle Plouffe leads the way with 27 points and 18 rebounds.
The Utes lost another frustrating game on Thursday night at the Huntsman Center, this one a 67-57 decision at the hands of USC. Before 1,133 Levrets’ team shot 30.4 percent from the field, turned the ball over 17 times and placed just two in double figures.
In the Pac-12, it’s hard to win games with numbers like those.
"It’s frustrating," Levrets said. "Most of our problems came in the first half. I thought we had a lack of energy and we were sloppy. I don’t know what happened. I thought we had a great shootaround. We had two really good days of practice, and we just came out flat."
The overall performance erased a monster effort from Utes senior forward Michelle Plouffe. The native of Canada dominated her part of the game, scoring 27 points, grabbing 18 rebounds, and blocking two shots. Her brilliance kept Utah alive, but it wasn’t enough.
By the middle of the second half, USC coach Cynthia Cooper had her players doubling Plouffe whenever she touched the ball. But when she kicked it out to the perimeter, Utah shot just 3-14 from 3-point range. They were out rebounded and made just 17 field goals total for the game.
Ciera Dunbar was the only other Ute to score in double-digits. She had 14 points and three rebounds.
"I thought we got good looks, but we didn’t knock them down," Plouffe said. "We had opportunities, but we just didn’t take advantage of them."
This is just another blow in what’s been a frustrating season for the Utah women. The Utes fall to 11-17 overall with the loss, 4-13 in the Pac-12, which sinks them to 11th place. Utah has a home game on Sunday against UCLA - senior night - and then goes to the conference tournament. Barring a miracle run, the season will be over next week.
But Levrets isn’t thinking of that. He’s in the midst of trying to get his team to put a good 40 minutes together on Sunday.
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