Utah forward Kim Smith recorded her second double-double of the season Saturday afternoon against Loyola Marymount. (AP Photo/Douglas C. Pizac)
SALT LAKE CITY - The No. 22/25 University of Utah women's basketball team got off to a quick start against Loyola Marymount Saturday afternoon at the Huntsman Center. The Utes hit their first three shots from three-point range and jumped out to a 17-2 lead, en route to a 63-47 victory.
Loyola Marymount (1-5) trimmed its deficit to five points twice late in the first half, but never got any closer. Utah (4-1) was paced by senior Kim Smith (Mission, B.C.), who notched her second double-double of the season with 20 points and 10 rebounds. Senior Shona Thorburn (Hamilton, Ont.) scored 14 points. Sophomore Jessica Perry (Guelph, Ont.) nearly recorded a double-double, tallying 12 points and pulling down nine boards. Smith and Thorburn each dished out five assists in the contest.
Perry sandwiched two three-pointers around a trey from Smith in the opening minutes to give Utah a 9-0 lead. Senior Julie Larsen (Logan, Utah) hit a jumper 3:31 into the contest to give Utah an 11-0 lead before Loyola Marymount even lit the visitor side of the scoreboard. Bianca Ziemann's jumper in the lane broke the seal for the Lions with 16:07 left in the first half. Utah then picked up three straight lay-ins, one each from Thorburn, junior Shauna Brouillard (Sudbury, Ont.) and Perry, to grab the 15-point advantage, 17-2.
LMU took advantage of a five-minute scoreless stretch for the Utes to get back within seven late in the half. The Utes took an eight-point edge into halftime.
Utah led by nine, 34-25, four minutes into the second half. The Utes then put together a 9-0 spurt to go up by 18, 43-25. The run was keyed by a traditional three-point play from Smith. LMU sliced into the Utah lead again, pulling within eight midway through the second half, 45-37.
Utah enjoyed another double-digit rebounding edge. Utah grabbed 44 caroms, compared to 33 for the Lions. The Utes shot 41.5 percent from the field and held LMU to just a paltry .305 mark. Despite posting two more turnovers than the Lions, Utah outscored the Lions 17-6 in points off turnovers.
Utah will be in action again Wednesday, when they host in-state rival Weber State. Tipoff between the Utes and Wildcats is slated for 7:05 p.m. at the Huntsman Center.