SALT LAKE CITY — Facing a two-point deficit with 15 seconds left in the game, No. 17 Utah’s Erika Bean stole an inbounds pass and called a quick timeout. The Utes would have at least one more opportunity to stave off defeat by the visiting USC Trojans.
It would be all for naught, though, as Utah’s Niyah Becker missed a 3-pointer out of the timeout and the Utes were forced to foul in hopes of another try. But USC’s JaTavia Tapley hit two free throws to seal an 84-80 upset victory over the Utes Friday night at the Huntsman Center.
Moments before Becker’s miss, she was the hero.
The freshman wing hit a 3-pointer, her only bucket of the night, to cut the Trojans’ lead to two. It was the conclusion to a fourth-quarter run that erased a 14-point lead, and one in which Utah outscored USC 21-16 in the quarter.
Utah (18-4, 7-4) tied the game up with less than five minutes to play on a 3-pointer by Andrea Torres, but the Utes would go on to miss three consecutive 3-pointers as USC (14-8, 4-7) went on a quick 6-0 run. Freshman Dre’Una Edwards hit a bucket between four free throws made by redshirt freshman Dru Gylten to keep the game close.
Gylten led the Utes in scoring, finishing with 24 points on 7-of-9 shooting, including 2-of-3 from deep and going perfect at the free throw line on eight free throw attempts in 35 minutes of play. She was joined by four other Utes that scored in double figures, including Megan Huff, who finished with 13 points and 10 rebounds in another double-double performance by the senior.
USC was led in scoring Mariya Moore’s 23 points on 8-of-12 shooting, including 3-of-5 from deep. She was joined by three other Trojans who finished in double figures in the win over the Utes.
Utah has dropped its last three games since its upset win over then-No. 6 Stanford and moving into the Top 15 of the Associated Press Top 25 poll. The Utes will look to rebound Sunday at 12 p.m. MST as they welcome in the visiting UCLA Bruins to the Huntsman Center.