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Utah Utes women's basketball: Late free throws beat Rams

FORT COLLINS, Colo. — Taryn Wicijowski and Kalee Whipple each scored more than 20 points to lead the Utah women's basketball team to a hard-fought 68-65 victory at Colorado State on Wednesday evening.

Down by three, 63-60, with 2:42 left, Whipple's 3-point shot tied the score for the ninth time of the game.

Utah hit five of eight free throws in the final 1:26 to clinch the victory after CSU was forced into fouling the Utes. Whipple and Halie Sawyer each went 2-for-2 from the free-throw line during the stretch.

Sawyer had a team-high eight rebounds to go with 11 points, including three key rebounds in the final minutes. Wicijowski tallied 22 while Whipple scored 20 points.

Utah shot 51 percent from the floor, led by an 8-of-12 performance from Wicijowski.

Utah held a slim lead through much of the second half before CSU gained just its second lead of the half with 3:02 to go after a pair of free throws by Chatilla van Grinsven. Kim Mestdagh followed that with a layup to give the Rams a three-point lead with 2:42 left, but Whipple followed at the other end of the floor with a 3-pointer to tie the score for the ninth time of the game, 63-63.

On CSU's possession, Bonnie Barbee air-balled a 3-pointer, giving the Utes the ball back on the rebound. After a CSU timeout with 1:46 left, the Rams' Mestdagh fouled Wicijowski, who hit one of her two free throws to give the Utes the lead for good. Van Grinsven missed a jumper for CSU as Sawyer pulled down the rebound, and she was fouled on the play and hit both free throws to give Utah a three-point lead with 53 seconds left.

Mestdagh put CSU back within one with a layup with 36 seconds left before fouling Janita Badon on the inbounds for Utah. The only misstep of the final minutes for Utah, Badon missed both of her free throws, but Sawyer pulled down the offensive rebound on the second miss and passed it to Whipple. Although Whipple attempted to try to run the clock out by avoiding her defender, she was fouled and again pulled Utah back ahead by three, hitting both free throws.

Van Grinsven and Meghan Heimstra each missed shots on CSU's end of the floor with 13 seconds remaining, while Sawyer got the final rebound as the clock ran out to give Utah the win.