Pili scores 30, No. 7 Utah tops Oregon, ties for Pac-12 lead
EUGENE, Ore. (AP) — Alissa Pili scored a season-high 30 points and No. 7 Utah moved into a tie for first place in the Pac-12 Conference with a 100-92 win over Oregon on Sunday.
Jenna Johnson added 19 points and Kennady McQueen scored 16 as the Utes (20-2) shot 62.3% from the field. Utah improved to 10-2 in the conference to tie for the top spot with Stanford, which lost 72-67 at Washington earlier in the day.
“We’re excited about being in the hunt,” Utah coach Lynne Roberts said. “February is about keeping your eyes in the moment, so now we play Washington next, that’s all we going to talk about and just stay present."
“We haven’t talked about rankings, its cool to get our program on the national map, but our goals are not what we are going to be ranked. Our goal is to have chance be in contention for a championship and host the first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament. Those have been the two goals all season and we are chopping wood to give ourselves a chance. There is a lot of basketball left to be played against good teams,” she said.
Endyia Rogers scored 35 points to lead Oregon (14-9, 5-7). Chance Gray added 18 points and fellow freshman Grace VanSlooten had 16 for the Ducks, who shot 50% from the field and made nine 3-pointers two days after going 0-for-16 beyond the arc in a loss to Colorado.
“I liked our fight tonight,” Oregon coach Kelly Graves said. “Offensively, we finally got some things rolling a little bit. It’s kind of been how we’ve done it this year; the days we defend pretty well we can’t get it together offensively and now today offensively we did some good things and we just couldn’t stop Utah.”
Utah took a 47-41 halftime lead before Oregon went ahead 58-56 early in the second half on a 3-pointer by Rogers. The Utes followed with six straight points and later stretched the margin to 71-66 on a basket from Gianna Kneepkens.
After Oregon drew closer, Pili scored five straight points to put Utes ahead 82-76. Rogers’ six points in a row later got Oregon within 84-82, but McQueen followed with a 3-pointer and Pili scored inside to push the Utes ahead 89-82.
“Our team was locked in,” Roberts said. “Since I’ve been at Utah, we never swept the Oregon trip so we wanted to do something that has never been done. That was in the front of our minds.
Pili scored the first seven points of the game. The Ducks led 39-36 after a basket by Gray, but Utah followed with 11 straight points, including 3-pointers from Gianna Kneepkens, Pili and Johnson to go up 47-39 just before halftime.
Utah: The Utes have their highest AP ranking in school history at No. 7, but could move up after sweeping the Oregon schools on the road. The Utes will be in the national rankings for the 13th straight week, stretching their school record. … Utah heads home next weekend to face Washington and Washington State, two teams in the bottom half of the standings.
Oregon: The Ducks are below .500 in conference play this late in the season for the first time since 2016-17. … Oregon, which was ranked as high as No. 16 in the Top 25 earlier this season, will be unranked for the third week in a row and on the NCAA Tournament bubble as they prepare for four straight games on the road.
Utah: The Utes return home to face Washington on Friday night.
Oregon: The Ducks play at Southern California on Friday.
AP women’s college basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/womens-college-basketball and https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-womens-college-basketball-poll and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25