Almost no matter what happened Saturday afternoon, Utah’s women’s basketball game vs. Nevada at the Huntsman Center would have turned into a win for the Utes. Senior forward Daneesha Provo’s first appearance on the court in 11½ months made sure of that.
The Utes are happy they didn't lose to Nevada for the first time in program history, though. Utah rallied in the fourth quarter for a 68-62 victory, as guards Kiana Moore and Julie Brosseau led a strong finish to extend the team's winning streak to six games.
Nevada (5-4) hardly resembled a team that had lost to Utah (6-3) each of the previous three seasons by an average of 26 points, stood 0-7 vs. the Utes and was picked to finish ninth in the 11-school Mountain West. Or maybe the Utes were not themselves without guard Dru Gylten, who was absent due to illness as her teammates committed 21 turnovers.
In any case, the Utes righted themselves after trailing 54-49 early in the fourth quarter. Nevada made only 4 of 17 shots from the field in the period, and the Utes stayed steady after freshman forward Lola Pendande fouled out with 4:53 remaining and her team leading by one point.
Moore hit a 3-pointer from the right corner and Julie Brosseau and Ola Makurat each made a layup as the Utes took control. Brosseau added a shot in the lane to make it 67-62 with 30.8 seconds left.
Provo's 12-minute workload produced four points, four rebounds and three steals. She had not played since injuring her knee in early January, while receiving an NCAA waiver for a sixth year of eligibility.
“It was just amazing to be back out there,” Provo said. “Just so much emotion — I was excited, nervous, anxious … just a lot going through my mind. But once I was out there and started playing in the game, I was like, ‘OK, I can do this.’ ”
Pendande posted 12 points and seven rebounds and Moore, Brosseau and Brynna Maxwell each added 11 points for the Utes, who will host Providence on Monday night and Weber State on Friday afternoon to conclude nonconference play.
-A 16-6 run in the fourth quarter carries Utah to a 68-62 win over Nevada in women's basketball at the Huntsman Center.
-Senior forward Daneesha Provo posts four points, four rebounds and three steals in 12 minutes in her first game of the season.
-Freshman guard Kemery Martin breaks a shooting slump with a 3-of-4 day for seven points.