Kalee Whipple scored a career-high 22 points and had a double-double Monday night.
Dec. 4, 2006
SALT LAKE CITY - The University of Utah women's basketball team built a 23-point lead over Southern California early in the second half Monday night at the Jon M. Huntsman Center. The Utes then held off a furious Trojan rally and escaped with a 70-66 victory.
Utah (4-4) took a 16-point lead, 34-18, into the locker room at halftime. The Utes held USC to 15.2 percent from the field in the first half. Early in the second period, it looked as though the Utes might run away with it. Holding a 36-23 lead two minutes into the half, Utah got back-to-back three-pointers from Kalee Whipple (Fr., Hiko, Nev.) and Morgan Warburton (Soph., Helper, Utah). Joh-Teena Filipe (Soph., Salt Lake City) then hit a pair of buckets to make it a 10-0 run, giving the Utes a 46-23 advantage with 15 minutes remaining.
From there, USC (3-4) used pressure defense and took advantage of Utah miscues to get back into the contest. The Utes turned the ball over 11 times in the final 12 minutes, helping the Women of Troy gain momentum. Utah was still up 50-30 with 12:51 remaining, when USC put together a 13-2 run, trimming its deficit to single digits. When Shay Murphy capped the spurt for the Trojans, Utah led 52-43.
The Utes answered with a 6-0 run of their own to push the lead back to 15 points, 58-43, with just more than six minutes remaining. But back came USC. The Trojans trimmed the lead to single digits at the five-minute mark and Utah went back up by 10. Then, with 3:34 remaining, Murphy again pulled the Trojans back within eight, 60-52 on a pair of free throws. But Halie Sawyer pushed Utah's lead back to 10 with 2:48 remaining.
USC then made its big push. Murphy scored the next seven points for the Trojans, while Utah managed just two. That pulled USC within five, 64-59. The Trojans' Jamie Hagiya then hit a three-pointer with one minute remaining pulling her team within two, 64-62. Both teams traded a pair of free throws to make it 66-64. Whipple then hit a pair from the line for Utah with 32 seconds remaining to give the Utes a 68-64 advantage. But Chloe Kerr quickly scored for USC to make it 68-66 with 27 ticks remaining on the clock.
Whipple finished with a career-high 22 points. She added 10 rebounds for the second double-double of her young career. Warburton added 14 points for the Utes. Murphy led USC with 18 pionts, including an 11-of-11 performance at the free-throw line. Hagiya added 13, including three three-pointers for the Trojans. Medlock scored 12 points and grabbed 10 rebounds, while Kerr added 10 and 10 for a pair of USC double-doubles.
Utah shot 46 percent from the field in the game, but turned the ball over 25 times. USC shot just 30.8 percent, but managed 15 more shots than the Utes, after grabbing 15 offensive rebounds and limiting its turnovers to just 15.
Utah remains at home and faces another Pac-10 opponent in its next outing. The Utes host Arizona Saturday afternoon at 3 p.m. at the Huntsman Center.