LAS VEGAS (ABC4 Sports) – Freshman Jenna Johnson poured in 19 points as the Utah women’s basketball team upset Washington State Thursday night 70-59, to advance to the Pac-12 Tournament Semifinals for the first time ever.
The sixth-seeded Utah (19-10) plays No. 2 seed Oregon in Friday’s semifinals at 9:30 pm
Brynna Maxwell had 11 points, while Isabel Palmer scored 10 points off the bench to spark the Utes.
Utah dominated from the jump, using a 15-0 run to bolt out to a 29-13 lead at the end of the first quarter. They built the lead to 20 at the half, leading the Cougars by as many as 24 points midway through the fourth quarter.
“I’m not ready to be done, that’s for sure,” head coach Lynne Roberts said. “We are going to keep this thing rolling. It has been such a fun year. They have bought in, done everything we have asked them to do. To see the joy on their faces, that is as good as it gets as a coach.”
Utes could make NCAA Tournament for first time since joining Pac-12
Pac-12 Freshman of the Year Gianna Kneepkens scored nine points and pulled down six rebounds, while Kelsey Rees had eight points and eight boards.
Johnson made 7 of 11 shots from the field, and scored 37 points in two Pac-12 Tournament victories. The Utes beat Cal on Wednesday, 66-60.
“We are the underdogs going out, so we like that and we are going to keep going,” said point guard Dru Gylten.
Utah shot 42.1 percent from the field, and held Washington State to just 37.1 percent shooting.
The Utes had never made it past the Pac-12 Tournament Quarterfinals before this season.
Oregon, which beat UCLA in the quarterfinals, swept both meetings against the Utes this season, including a 73-65 victory at the Huntsman Center on February 26th.
Stanford will face Colorado in the other Pac-12 Tournament Semifinals Friday.