SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Three Pioneers finished in double-figures as the University of Denver women’s basketball team fell to Pac-12 opponent Utah in both team’s season opener on Friday night at the Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City, Utah.
“In those first 20 minutes, you saw what this team is capable of,” said second-year head coach Kerry Cremeans. “We were sharp, we played strong offensively, we were sharp defensively and we communicated really well. In the second half, you have to just give it to Utah. They are a phenomenal team. They are big and powerful and they really started hurting us more inside in the second half.”
Junior Theresa Wirth (Mesa, Ariz.) and sophomores Kailey Edwards (Broomfield, Colo.) and Paige Bradley (The Woodlands, Texas) all finished with 13 points each. Starting in her first game as point guard, Bradley set a new career-high in points and tied her career high with four assists.
“To take over for Emi Smith, I’m so proud of Paige,” Cremeans said. “To play the game she did, she played a complete game and I’m proud of her.”
Senior Maiya Michel (Loma Linda, Calif.) led the Pioneers’ rebounding efforts with seven rebounds, while freshman Alecia Espinoza (Hacienda Heights, Calif.) finished with five.
Emily Potter led the Utes with 16 points, while Michelle Plouffe chipped in with 15. Three other Utes finished in double figures.
Denver shot 39.2 percent from the field and 44.4 percent from three-point range, while Utah shot 47.4 percent from the floor and 32.0 percent from long distance.
Denver led by as much as five points twice throughout the first half until Utah took a one-point lead with 10:40 remaining. The Pioneers regained the lead off a Jordan Johnston (Waterloo, Iowa) jumper, but the Utes answered with a jumper by Potter. Utah took a three-point lead when Danielle Rodriguez nailed a jumper in the paint.
Denver answered as freshman Jesse Spittel (Yorba Linda, Calif.) netted her first points as a Pioneer to cut the lead to one, and then gave the Pioneers a one-point advantage on the Pioneers’ next possession.
The Pioneers stretched their lead to four-points twice more as the clock wound down, however the Utes clawed back with back-to-back three-pointers to take a two-point lead with 44 seconds remaining, forcing the Pioneers to call a 30-second timeout. Denver’s attempt to tie the game missed the mark and the Pioneers headed into the locker room down by two, 31-29.
Utah came out strong in the second half, scoring 42 points off 55.2 percent shooting from the field and a perfect 8-of-8 showing from the free-throw line. The Pioneers struggled offensively, scoring only 27 points, while shooting 34.6 percent from the floor. Eleven of Wirth’s 13 points came in the second half, while Edwards chipped in eight.
Up next, the Pioneers open the home portion of their schedule on Tuesday, Nov. 12 as they take on the Wyoming Cowgirls at 7 p.m. at Magness Arena.
Tickets for the Pioneers’ home-opener against Wyoming are available for purchase online with prices ranging from $8-12 for adults. Fan can save $3 on group tickets when 20 or more are purchased, and $5 off when 100 or more are purchased. Please contact email@example.com, or call 303-871-2389 or visit the group ticket page for more information. Season tickets are also available for as low as $72. To purchase season tickets online, CLICK HERE.
Fans who can’t make it to the game can follow it live via Pioneer Vision as Brad Thompson will be calling all the action from the hardwood. Pioneer Vision is Denver’s on-demand online subscription webcast service, located at DenverPioneers.com. Live stats will also be available for fans to follow along. Live in-game tweeting will be available at www.Twitter.com/DU_WHoops and fans can join in the conversation by using #DUGameDay.
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