MANHATTAN, Kan.- Utah bounced back from a three-point halftime deficit to beat Wisconsin-Green Bay, 61-55, on Friday night in the first round of Kansas State's Commerce Bank Wildcat Classic at Bramlage Coliseum.
Julie Krommenhoek led Utah with a season-high 25 points, shooting 8-for-21 from the field. Angie Thill scored 14 points and grabbed six boards for the Utes. Kristi Rose had 12 points had 12 points and Laura Ross Allen posted a game-high eight rebounds. Alli Bills had a game-high nine assists.
On a night when temperatures hovered in the single digits outside, both teams were frigid shooting the ball. Utah shot 34.5 percent from the field and 25 percent from the three-point range. The Phoenix shot 46.2 percent from the three-point range, but just 37.7 percent from the floor overall.
Utah's saving grace was the charity stripe. The Utes went 17-for-21 at the free throw line (81.0 percent). Wisconsin-Green Bay (4-2) attempted just 12 free throws, making nine. Utah had a 36 to 35 edge in rebounds.
Utah jumped out of the gate to a 13-4 lead at the 14:44 mark in the first half. However, Utah's last lead of the half was 18-16 with 10:11 remaining, as the Phoenix went 22-10 run to end the half. The Utes bounced back in the second half, and took the lead for good, 31-29, with 13:14 left in the game. Utah built the lead to 11 points, 56-45, with 2:29 to play.
"We just flat out didn't shoot well tonight," said Ute head coach Elaine Elliott. "We got a couple of our key players in early foul trouble. Alli Bills got a couple of early fouls and Angie Thill spent most of the first half on the bench with two fouls. That didn't help our complacency. Even when we weren't hitting, we took good shots. And, we got enough of those to fall in the second half."
Utah (4-0) will face either Kansas State or Southern A&M in the championship game tomorrow night at 7:30 p.m. (CST).