Janita Badon had 17 points for the Utes against Oregon.
Feb. 2, 2012
EUGENE, Ore. - Despite cutting a double-digit deficit to a point in the final seconds, it wasn't enough for the Utah women's basketball team as they fell to Oregon, 72-67 on Thursday evening.
Down by 10 with less than two minutes remaining, 65-55, Janita Badon started a fast and furious rally with a three-pointer after a steal. After a pair of free throws from Oregon, Badon made a jumper on the Utes possession to cut the lead to seven. Oregon turned it over going back down the floor, and Michelle Plouffe picked up the loose ball and ran it down and in for an uncontested layup, putting the Oregon lead at five with 48 seconds remaining, 67-62.
After a timeout, the Utes again fouled Oregon, and Nia Jackson missed her first of a one-and-one free-throw with Taryn Wicijowski picking off the defensive rebound. She would make a layup to cut the lead to three, 67-64. Jackson again went to the free-throw line for Oregon, hitting one-of-two with the Utes again getting the rebound, this time to Chelsea Bridgewater. Badon would make a high-arcing three with 19 seconds left to come to within a point, 68-67.
Amanda Johnson made a pair of free throws for Oregon after the foul to push the lead back up to three points. After a timeout and an Oregon foul, the Utes passed the ball to Iwalani Rodrigues at the corner, who missed an open three with six seconds left. The Utes were again forced to foul Oregon, and the Ducks made a pair from the charity stripe and put Oregon's lead at five points, 72-67. A last-ditch three was wide of its mark.
"Really proud of our effort," Utah head coach Anthony Levrets said. "Effort is not an issue for this team. Some nights we have trouble starting games and other nights we have trouble finishing games. Tonight, it was starting the game. A lot of that is due to Oregon and the way that they play. We battled back and had six seconds to go, and Iwa got a wide-open three. That's a shot we'd take on any possession, and it just didn't go in."
The final rally was the culmination of a long comeback for the Utes. For the second-straight game, Utah spotted its opponent a big lead and had to claw back into it. Oregon raced out to a 23-5 lead through the first 11 minutes of the game before the Utes started a run of their own by scoring the next eight points beginning with a layup from Badon plus three's from Cheyenne Wilson and Messer.
Utah would cut Oregon's lead to eight points over the next several minutes, 29-21 with four minutes remaining before the Ducks closed out the first half on an 11-4 run to take a 15-point lead into the locker room at halftime, 40-25. Oregon shot 42-percent in the first half compared to Utah's 27-percent, while the Ducks outrebounded the Utes 28-18.
Oregon's largest second-half lead was 19 points.
Over half of Utah's shots were taken from three-point range (34 of 66 shots). Utah was outrebounded 53 to 36. Leading scorer Plouffe was held to just 26 minutes with foul trouble.
Utah travels across the state to Corvalis to take on Oregon State on Saturday, Feb. 4, at 2:00 p.m. PT.