Danielle Rodriguez had 15 points and seven assists in Friday's exhibition win over the University of Mary.
Nov. 1, 2013
SALT LAKE CITY - Freshman forward Emily Potter poured in 24 points, grabbed six rebounds and blocked five shots in her Huntsman Center debut as the University of Utah women's basketball team defeated the University of Mary, 81-57, in an exhibition game on Friday.
Utah shot .484 from the floor and held Mary to a .345 mark and the Utes hit for a .429 mark from 3-point territory. Twenty-two of the Utes' 31 baskets were assisted, while Utah also outrebounded Mary 44 to 31. The Utes turned the ball over seven times, while forcing 10 for Mary.
"What I was looking for tonight was the consistent effort and that was there," Utah Head Coach Anthony Levrets said. "We are going to learn from all of the things we did, but I'm not in any way shape or form upset about how hard we played. The biggest thing for young kids is learning how to play hard all of the time. and you can't do that unless put on the uniform and play against someone else in a different uniform and see what that feels like."
Potter got off to a quick start in her Ute debut by connecting on four of her first six field goal attempts. She finished 11 of 17 from the field and was 2-for-2 from the foul line for her 24 points to go with six rebounds (five defensive and one offensive), a game-high five blocks and two assists.
Two other Utes hit double-digits in points as senior forward Michelle Plouffe recorded a double-double with a game-high 15 rebounds (13 defensive, 2 offensive) and 11 points. The Edmonton, Alberta native also dished out two assists and came up with two blocks and a steal. She hit two of her three, 3-point field goal tries in the contest.
"After weeks of practice, it felt good to play someone else," Plouffe said. "You can only play each other for so long in practice without it getting old."
Freshman guard Devri Owens hit three of her six, 3-point field goal tries for a total of nine points and had four rebounds and also dished out three assists.
Mary seized a 5-2 lead to start the game before a 7-3 spurt for the Utes gave the home team a 9-8 lead and were able to eventually extend to a 17-point advantage at 32-21 after 3-pointers by Malia Nawahine and Potter as part of a 17-5 spurt.
"Sometimes you start fast, sometimes you start slow, sometimes you finish strong," Levrets said. "The only thing that matter is if you win. I felt like we did a really good job. Mary is a really good NCAA Division II basketball team. They won 19 basketball games last year. They have two kids coming back off of injury and they are a very-well coached team. I'm happy with our play against them."
Potter was 5-of-8 from the floor for a game-high 12 points to go with two blocks, while Plouffe corralled nine rebounds and scored eight in the first half. Rodriguez dished out five assists and did not commit a single turnover in the opening 20 minutes. Utah shot .441 from the floor in the first half, compared to a .276 clip for Mary. The Utes hit two of their first four 3-point attempts and ended the half with a 5-for-12 mark (.417) from long range.
The Utes built their lead to as many as 20 (45-25) after hitting three of their first five shots in the second half as Potter connected on three of her first four shots. The Marauders managed to work the deficit back to 14 (52-38) with 12 minutes remaining in the half before a Rodriguez lay-in and a jumper and lay-in by Potter gave the Utes a 58-38 advantage. Utah then climbed to 66-45 lead after back-to-back 3-pointers by Owens before going on to solidify the 81-57 victory.
Linda Murray scored a team-high 14 points for Mary, while Brittney Dietz and Lindsey Sand each scored 11 points apiece.
The Utes open their regular season on Friday, Nov. 8 by hosting Denver. Tipoff from the Huntsman Center is set for 8:30 p.m. MT. Rick Bouillon will have the play-by-play call on ESPN700 with the live video stream at pac-12.com.