Nov. 25, 2010
CANCUN, Mexico - Janita Badon led the Utah women's basketball team with 15 points as the Utes fell to Penn State, 70-58, to open the Caribbean Challenge in Cancun, Mexico, on Thursday afternoon.
Utah had a strong first half, shooting 68-percent from the floor, to take as much as an 11-point lead. Holding a three-point lead, 14-11 with 14 minutes left in the first, an eight-point run that was led by a pair of jumpers from Michelle Plouffe pulled the Utes ahead, 22-11.
Penn State rallied late in the first half to pull within a point, 30-29 with 2:40 remaining, after a 6-0 Lady Lion run. Messer's three-pointer with five seconds remaining gave Utah a four-point lead at halftime, 37-33.
Penn State came out of the locker room strong and took a five-point lead after the first five minutes, 47-42. Utah stayed close as the two teams traded baskets for the next several minutes.
As Penn State tried to pull ahead with a 6-0 run for a nine-point lead with 7:35 left, the Utes rallied back with their own 6-0 run to cut the lead to three, 59-56, with 5:07 remaining. Badon hit a jumper and a pair of free throws, and Diana Rolniak made two free throws.
Utah struggled in the final five minutes, as Penn State outscored Utah, 11-2, as the game ended. The Utes shot 23-percent in the second half.
Rebounding hurt the Utes, as the team was out-rebounded, 42-19.
Nikki Greene led Penn State with 24 points and 13 rebounds.
The Utes were playing without preseason all-conference forward Taryn Wicijowski, who is finished for the season after tearing her ACL in practice earlier in the week.
Utah continues at the Caribbean Challenge on Friday against Hartford at 11:00 a.m. CT. Hartford lost to Green Bay, 78-44, in its first game of the tournament. Radio is available at www.Kall700sports.com.