Michelle Plouffe led Utah with 19 points.
March 1, 2012
SALT LAKE CITY - The Utah women's basketball team overcame an 11-point second-half deficit to defeat Oregon State in overtime on Thursday evening, 63-56.
Down by seven points with five minutes remaining in the game, 51-44, the Utes rallied with a 7-0 run over the next four minutes to tie the game, 51-51. The Beavers stopped their scoring drought with an Ali Gibson layup with a minute remaining before Michelle Plouffe re-tied the game with a jumper with 41 seconds left. Neither team could get a clean shot off in the final seconds to put the game into overtime.
Although OSU won the tip in overtime, the first shot was a miss and Plouffe got the rebound and set up Rachel Messer's three at the other end of the floor. Alyssa Martin would hit a three to put OSU on the board, but Messer again hit a three to put the Utes back on top and give them the lead for good with 2:52 left. Good defense by both teams led to a long scoring drought before the Beavers were forced into fouling. Rita Sitivi and Plouffe each went 2-for-2 from the charity stripe in the final seconds to give the Utes a seven-point advantage in the end.
Utah was down by as many as 11 points in the second half.
"I am unbelievably proud of my team and this program," Utah head coach Anthony Levrets said. "Four of our kids in top eight to start the year did not play tonight, and we're playing a lineup we've never seen before until two days ago. They responded and I couldn't be prouder. This is remarkable what they're doing."
Plouffe led Utah with 19 points, while Cheyenne Wilson was also in double-figure scoring with 11 points. Taryn Wicijowski had a team-high 10 rebounds. Sitivi had a career-high seven points. Messer scored six of her nine points in overtime.
Down by a point in the first half, 18-17 with 8:37 remaining after an Iwalani Rodrigues three-pointer, Oregon State went on an 8-0 run to take a nine-point lead, 26-17. Although Sitivi broke the drought with a three-pointer with 2:26 remaining, the Beavers held a seven-point lead at halftime, 29-22. OSU shot 46 percent in the first half and sunk five three's.
"Our goal tonight was that we were going to make them hit three's, and to their credit they hit three's," Levrets said. "We adjusted in the second half though and took away the three they were getting."
Utah closes out the regular season on Saturday, March 3, against Oregon. The Utes will celebrate senior day by honoring Janita Badon.