Utah women pull away in 4th quarter to beat Cal, advance to quarterfinals


Utah’s Dru Gylten (10) passes round California’s Leilani McIntosh (1) through the first half of an NCAA school basketball recreation within the first spherical of the Pac-12 ladies’s event Wednesday, March 2, 2022, in Las Vegas. (John Locher, Related Press)

Estimated learn time: 3-4 minutes

SALT LAKE CITY — At a timeout break through the first spherical of the Pac-12 ladies’s basketball event on the Michelob ULTRA Enviornment in Las Vegas, Utah head coach Lynne Roberts instructed her workforce they’d misplaced the third quarter and wanted to play extra bodily after California took a 1-point lead going into the ultimate quarter.

Her workforce received the message — and none aside from freshman Jenna Johnson down the stretch.

Johnson battled within the publish and had a private 6-0 run to offer the Utes a 62-56 lead with 1:45 left to play in regulation. However California did not make it straightforward in a combat to advance to the second spherical and doubtlessly upset the No. 6-seeded workforce within the event.

California minimize Utah’s result in two with slightly below a minute to play after dialing up the strain because the Utes introduced the ball up the court docket.

Johnson introduced the physicality, however Pac-12 Freshman of the Yr, as voted on by the convention coaches, Gianna Kneepkens settled the rating.

With Utah trying to wear down the clock within the last minute, a Bears double workforce freed up Kneepkens within the nook for an open 3-point look. With a Cal defender shifting on the fly-by block try, Kneepkens did a facet step and drove to the basket with a crossover to free her solution to the rim for a simple left-handed layup and a 4-point lead.

All California might do was foul in hopes of reducing into the deficit.

Utah persevered — even with a pair of late misses from the charity stripe on an evening the place the workforce shot solely 53% from the free-throw line — and earned a 66-60 victory to advance to the second spherical towards the No. 3-seeded Washington State.

Kneepkens, who led the workforce in scoring within the common season, completed with a team-high 20 factors and 5 rebounds, with 16 of her factors coming within the second half for Utah (18-10, 9-7 Pac-12). Johnson completed with 18 factors, three rebounds and three assists in a balanced scoring assault from begin to end from the freshman.

Johnson had a team-high 11 factors on the halftime break and was a key catalyst to the Utes staying forward of the Bears for a lot of the opening half. Utah added to a 6-point halftime lead that was capped off with a Kneepkens 3-pointer to offer the Utes its first double-digit lead of the evening with 7:45 left within the third quarter.

California (11-13, 2-11 Pac-12) answered and went on a fast 4-0 run, after which beat Utah within the high-low recreation with a number of entry passes to the publish for simple layups to make it a single-possession recreation.

And to not be outdone by her freshmen counterparts, California’s Jayda Curry, who was named the Pac-12 Freshman of the Yr by the media, hit a floater with seven seconds left within the quarter to offer the Bears a 1-point lead and the momentum going into the ultimate body.

Curry scrapped and scored as she tried to will her workforce to an upset victory, however her effort was not sufficient ultimately — even because the Bears managed just one turnover and held Utah to 1 rebound within the third quarter. Curry, who lead the convention in scoring this season, completed with a team-high 16 factors, seven rebounds and three assists within the loss.

She was joined in double figures by Ugonne Onyiah’s 14 factors and eight rebounds and Evelien Lutje Schipholt’s 11 factors and 4 rebounds. Onyiah, who had 8 of her 14 factors within the second half, was compelled to go away the sport after an obvious knee damage with 3:44 left to play.

Utah will return to motion Thursday (9:30 p.m. MST, Pac-12 Networks) towards Washington State within the quarterfinal spherical of the Pac-12 event. Utah received its solely assembly towards Washington State this season, a 72-66 victory on Feb. 6.

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“This Was A Significant Win For Us” | Clutch Fourth Quarter Leads To Big-Time Victory



Earlier than Friday’s recreation in opposition to Dallas, Donovan Mitchell mentioned the Jazz understood their state of affairs. A tough January left the crew decrease within the standings than they’re accustomed too — and when mixed with struggles of consistency, Utah wasn’t performing on the ranges anticipated.

“I believe for us, we have got some work to do,” Mitchell mentioned on Thursday. “We all know that, and you may inform with all people’s function and actions. … Guys are able to go. We obtained to go on the market and discover methods to win and compete on the highest stage.”

Towards Dallas on Friday, the Jazz proved Mitchell right.

Struggling to comprise the Mavericks’ scorching capturing for almost all of the night time, Utah discovered a method to win with stealer protection and well timed offense. The duo of Rudy Gobert and Mitchell lived as much as their all-star alternatives and utterly dominated late within the fourth quarter as Utah rallied from an early deficit to win 114-109.

“This was a big win for us,” head coach Quin Snyder mentioned. “I assumed, notably with these two guys (Mitchell and Gobert), what we noticed from them, simply the sacrifices that each one of our guys made at varied instances within the recreation for the better good. … I used to be actually pleased with our effort in opposition to a crew that is nearly as good as anyone within the league proper now.”

Amongst these sacrifices Snyder was speaking about got here from Mitchell and Gobert.

One of many elite scorers and one-on-one gamers within the league, Mitchell discovered himself in a distributing position late within the recreation, resulting in the clutch buckets. Gobert, one of the best and most feared rim protector of the final decade, discovered himself removed from the rim and defending all-NBA guard Luka Doncic on the perimeter when it mattered most.

Regardless of each gamers being out of their consolation zones, they thrived below stress.

“It seemed actually good, it felt actually good,” Mitchell mentioned of he and Gobert’s efficiency. “Once you slender it down, we did what we had been purported to do.”

Down two with simply over two minutes to play, Mitchell took over as the first contributor regardless of having a game-high 33 factors. His penetration, capability to dissect the protection, and go out of double groups led to a 7-0 run as Utah put the sport away.

For Gobert, there’s been a variety of discuss how he cannot defend on the perimeter — even when the numbers have all the time been barely in his favor. Not solely did Gobert show as soon as once more what he is able to, but it surely additionally got here in opposition to the most effective gamers within the recreation in opposition to Doncic.

After Doncic hit a three-pointer with simply over three minutes to present the Mavericks a two-point lead, he went 0-for-5 from the ground the remainder of the best way — and Gobert performed a big half in that.

He not solely blocked one in every of Doncic’s photographs, however he additionally defended him on 4 of the possessions the place he missed photographs, forcing Doncic into robust contested photographs.

“The numbers have been in my favor. … The notion has by no means matched the numbers,” Gobert mentioned. “It was a bodily recreation, however Luka all the time pushes. So if they are not going to name that, then they should not name the rest. I did not assume there was sufficient contact to name a foul.”

“He (Luka) is aware of I am making an attempt to remove his stepback,” Gobert added. “Then he is driving and I do know he’ll attempt to use my physique after which cease, so I’ve obtained to remain balanced and take in the contact. Then he’ll attempt to get me within the air, so I’ve obtained to remain down.”

After saying he believed the Jazz wanted to discover a method to compete on the highest stage, Mitchell did simply that within the showdown with Doncic. Not solely did he drop 33 factors, he shot 11-for-19 from the ground and 7-of-12 from three-point territory, a season-high in makes from past the arc.

Gobert additionally adopted swimsuit, notching his first double-double since Jan. 23 when he completed with 14 factors and 17 rebounds. He added three blocks and two assists, showcasing the kind of total play that proves he can be an issue on each ends of the court docket because the season goes on.

With simply 2.5 video games separating these two groups within the standings, the sport was as shut as anticipated for 2 playoff groups vying for positioning.

The Mavericks got here out scorching to start out, main 9-2 early on earlier than Mitchell knocked down his first three-pointer. After climbing again to path by two, Utah used a fast 6-0 run to take the four-point lead — however Dallas responded with its personal 9-2 run to guide 34-31 after one.

The second quarter was a battle of runs. Each time the Mavericks appeared poised to drag away, the Jazz discovered a method to shut the hole. Mitchell and Jordan Clarkson mixed for 15 factors as Utah discovered itself trailing 67-60 on the break.

No matter changes had been made on the half — notably how Utah defended the pick-and-roll with Doncic — labored. Chopping the deficit to 4 late within the third, the Jazz used a 9-1 run to guide 89-86 on the finish of the quarter.

As anticipated, the fourth quarter was a slugfest because the groups exchanged leads 4 separate instances, together with 3 times they had been tied up. However due to the play of Mitchell and Gobert, it was Utah on each ends of the court docket that received out in the long run.

“Typically you get higher on the finish of the sport,” Snyder mentioned. “It is form of what we had been saying about studying from every recreation. … We talked about it yesterday. Simply basically, I assumed we had been actually targeted tonight.”

Regardless of an off night time capturing the ball from past the arc, Bojan Bogdanovic completed with 18 factors and hit the sport’s greatest shot when he knocked down a nook three-pointer 1:29 to play that put Utah up for good.

Mike Conley added 15 factors, six rebounds, 5 assists, and three steals, whereas Royce O’Neale completed with 9 factors, 4 rebounds, 4 assists, and nice protection on Doncic. Clarkson added 13 factors off the bench.

Doncic completed with 23 factors, 11 assists, and 7 rebounds however shot simply 8-for-24 from the sector, 3-for-9 from three-point territory, and 4 turnovers.

Utah begins its five-game street journey on Sunday when it faces Phoenix and its finest report within the NBA. Tipoff is about for 1:30 p.m. MST on ABC.