Washington State upsets No. 3 Utah 66-58 in Pac-12 quarters
LAS VEGAS - Bella Murekatete scored 19 points and Washington State upset No. 3 Utah 66-58 in a Pac-12 quarterfinal game.
The Cougars (21-10) led by three with 39.3 seconds left and had the ball, and rather than foul, the Utes allowed Charlisse Leger-Walker to virtually dribble out the shot clock, make one pass, get the ball back, and drain a 3-pointer with eight seconds left to extend the lead to 64-58.
Leger-Walker finished with 15 points, while Ula Motuga chipped in 13 for the Cougars.
Utah (25-4) was led by Gianna Kneepkens, who scored 18 points. Alissa Pili added 11 points for the Utes.
After trailing by four at halftime, the Cougars outscored Utah 27-11 in the third quarter after erasing a two-point deficit by closing the period on a 14-0 run and took a 53-41 lead into the final period.
Washington State hit 11 of 19 (57.9%) from the floor in the third, including 5 of 7 (71.4%) from 3-point range, while the normally high-scoring Utes struggled behind 36.4% shooting (4 of 11).
After opening the fourth quarter with a 3-pointer from Kneepkens, the Utes missed eight straight shots while the Cougars built a 14-point lead, 58-44, with 7:41 left in the game.
The Cougars limited Utah’s second-chance opportunities, with 77.1% defensive rebounding percentage. Washington State also outscored Utah with second-chance points, 11-4
Washington State: The Cougars exacted revenge from last year’s tournament when the teams also met in the quarterfinals. Utah beat Washington State, 70-59.
Utah: The Utes were the highest-scoring team in the Pac-12 this season, averaging 84.4 points per game. They never found their groove on offense, from the opening tip, as they shot a rather bleak 27% over the first five minutes.
Washington State: Will face Colorado or Oregon State in Friday’s semifinal round.
Utah: Awaits an NCAA bid. ---