Iwalani Rodrigues had 12 points with eight assists against Michigan.
Nov. 16, 2012
SALT LAKE CITY - The Utah women's basketball team used a 15-0 start en route to a 59-40 win over Michigan on Friday afternoon.
Michelle Plouffe led Utah with 20 points and had four steals, three blocks and six rebounds. Taryn Wicijowski scored 17 points with seven rebounds and three blocks. Iwalani Rodrigues scored 12 points and had a career-high eight assists.
"The camaraderie on this team is pretty remarkable," Utah head coach Anthony Levrets said. "That leads to unselfish play. We just share the basketball. It makes everyone feel wanted and useful and needed by their teammates. They are willing to give the ball to Taryn and Plouffe, because they know if they get double-teamed, they are going to get the ball back. You can't teach that. That's something that has to be developed through their trust in each other and trust in the system, and I'm having a blast."
Michigan didn't score its first point until almost 5:30 into the game, giving Utah a 15-0 lead. With Utah leading by 18 points, 24-6, the Wolverines rallied with a 9-0 run to cut the lead to single digits, 24-15 with 4:30 remaining in the first half. The Utes responded by closing out the first half with an 11-2 run and push the lead up to 18 points at halftime, 35-17. Plouffe had 12 points with three steals at the break, while Wicijowski had 10 points. Utah shot 50-percent from the floor in the first half, and only turned the ball over twice.
"I thought we would start well," Levrets said. "I thought if they played us man, that they had some matchup problems with us. Plouffe is special. The ability to play inside and outside and cut and move the way that she does, and then to have Taryn, who is also able to play inside and outside, and not just to shoot it but being able to pass and then move back inside, that's really hard for other bigs to guard.
"You never expect to be ahead of a team that you have a lot of respect for, and I have a lot of respect for [Michigan]. I thought we would start well, but never in my wildest dreams did I think it would be 15-0. The hallmark of our program is that we guard. If we can defend like this now, I think that as the year goes on we can turn into a really, really good basketball team."
The Utes only had five turnovers in the game, and shot 44-percent from the floor in the contest.
Michigan was led by Rachel Sheffer's 15 points.
Utah remains at home next week, taking on Northern Colorado on Tuesday, Nov. 20, at 7:00 p.m. in their next game.