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Utah women post 78-74 road win over Colorado

BOULDER, Colo. — The University of Utah women’s basketball team came away with a key win on the road against the Colorado Buffaloes Sunday, beating them 78-74, improving to 15-8 overall. Utah is 6-6 in Pac-12 play and is 5-0 on the road in conference games.

Utah led for over 25 minutes of the game, but Colorado took the lead in the third quarter, even jumping out to a six-point advantage. Utah didn’t cave though, fighting back to an outstanding fourth quarter, outscoring the Buffaloes 22-14 to come away with the win.

“We just made shots in the fourth quarter, so I am proud of our team for that,” head coach Lynne Roberts said. “We shot 60 percent in the fourth, and that is where we won the game. I thought Daneesha Provo’s three 3s in a row were huge, Megan Huff came up with big shots in the fourth quarter, but the things that don’t show up in the stats are things like how Tanaeya BoClair and Tilar Clark were huge defensively coming off the bench.

“When you are playing against really good guard play, we need that perimeter defense. Give Colorado credit, they shot well from the three and rebounded like crazy, we just shot really well in the second half.”

Huff led Utah with 21 points and nine rebounds, with Provo adding 18 points. Emily Potter scored 12 points with five boards and three blocks while BoClair came away with 11 points, two rebounds, two blocks and a steal. Erika Bean had a strong game with eight rebounds, seven assists and three steals, while Clark notched a game-high four steals.

Utah came out strong in the first quarter with Bean controlling the game on offense and defense, scoring four points and notching two steals to help Utah to a 12-9 lead with 4:57 on the clock. The Utes were able to push the tempo on both sides of the ball in the first quarter, scoring eight points off six turnovers to take a 21-19 lead heading into the second.

The game continued to be close in the second quarter with back-and-forth scoring between the two teams. Utah held a 28-25 lead on a Clark 3-pointer with 5:44 on the clock, but Colorado answered right back, tying it 28-28 with 5:03 left in the quarter. After trading shots down the stretch, including a key 3-pointer from Huff, the Utes and the Buffaloes went into halftime tied 35-35.

Utah shot 50 percent from the floor in the third quarter, but struggled to get going, with Colorado taking the lead early in the quarter. Colorado was able to jump out to a six-point lead twice in the quarter, including with less than a minute to go, but BoClair continued to stay aggressive in the paint, sending in two free throws to end the quarter with Utah trailing just 60-56.

Things started to click for the Utes when Provo came out and hit three consecutive shots from the arc to give Utah a 67-63 lead with 7:57 on the clock in the fourth. Colorado attempted to chip away at the Ute lead, making it a one-point game with 2:08 left to play, but Huff converted a layup and then a free throw to put the Utes back up by three with 1:35 remaining.

With less than a minute to play, Clark came up with her biggest steal of the game, forcing the turnover with 36 seconds left to get the Utes the ball back. Huff hit a free throw to make it a four-point game, but Colorado hit back again, making a three with just 16 seconds to go.

The Buffaloes were forced to foul, and Utah’s strong free-throw shooting came into play again as Tori Williams and Provo sent in the final four points from the charity stripe to give Utah its 78-74 win on the road.

Utah returns to action on Friday, Feb. 9, when the Utes travel to take on the Stanford Cardinal. The game is set for an 8 p.m. MST tip.