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Utah women's hoops: Utes' season ends in 50-35 loss to Oregon State

Published March 8, 2014 3:07 pm

Pac-12 Tournament • Utes feeling confident after upsetting host Washington 65-53 late Thursday.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Seattle • In preparing for Friday's Pac-12 quarterfinal game against Oregon State, Utah's women's basketball team planned for the Beavers' pick-and-roll, their standout 3-point shooting and their talented bench players.

What the Utes didn't plan for was to suffer one of their worst shooting performances of the year when they needed it to be spot-on. Talk about poor timing for the Utes, who lost to the Beavers 50-35 Friday at KeyArena.

The Utes shot just 13-of-62 for the game, including a 2-of-17 start.

"We just couldn't make a basket," Utah coach Anthony Levrets said. "We executed well defensively but at some point you have to make a hoop."

Utah played the same kind of solid defense against Oregon State as it did on Thursday when the Utes upset Washington.

However, no amount of steals, rebounds or stuffed shots could make up for the horrendous shooting.

Michelle Plouffe, who scored 30 points in the Utes' win over Washington, had just 11 points Friday and was 4-of-17 from the field.

Emily Potter added 10 points and five rebounds.

"We had a lot of good looks, we just couldn't put them down," Plouffe said. "We couldn't get in the same rhythm we've had in the past."

Sydney Wiese led the Beavers with 21 points and five rebounds and Ruth Hamblin had six points and 15 rebounds. Hamblin also had five blocks which tied the tournament record for blocks in a game and helped her set a Pac-12 record of 120 blocks for her career.

As the 11th seed, the Utes knew their chances of advancing in the tournament were slim; however, they had hoped to go out with at least a better showing than Friday's.

Unlike Thursday, when the Utes started strong, things were wrong from the beginning on Friday. The Utes made just two of their first 17 shots and finished the first half 5-of-35 from the field.

Potter was 3-of-7 from the field for six points in the first half, but the rest of the starters were only 2-of-23.

It was a different story for the Beavers, who shot 11-of-26. They were led by Wiese's 5-of-10 effort for 14 points in the half.

In the end, the only positive the Utes could take from their bad offensive effort was their defense was at least good enough to avoid an embarrassing blowout.

The Utes never really threatened to wrestle the lead away from the Beavers, but they at least kept things respectable by playing hard and never giving up.

"I would have told you we were going to win the game," Levrets said of the defensive effort. "But you can't shoot like that and expect to win."

The Utes finish the season 11-20, a disappointing record for a team that had hoped to make its mark in the Pac-12 after reaching the final of the WNIT a year ago.

Oregon State advances to play Washington State, which upended second-seeded Cal 91-83, on Friday in the semifinals. The other semifinal features top-seeded Stanford, which defeated ninth-seeded Colorado 69-54, against fifth-seeded USC, which defeated fourth-seeded Arizona State 59-57. —

Highlights

In short • Utah's tournament run ends with a game featuring some of its worst shooting of the year.

Key moment • Sydney Wiese drains a 3-pointer with four minutes left that put the Beavers ahead 47-33 and iced any thoughts of a Utah run in the final moments.

Key stat • The Utes shoot just 13-of-62 from the field, including 0-of-10 from 3-point distance.