PROVO — Utah's Dru Gylten struggled all night to get any offense going, but when her team needed her the most she hit a free throw with three seconds left in regulation to force overtime in Provo.
The Utes (4-3) would go on to spoil the Cougars' (3-2) Thanksgiving weekend with a 77-73 win Friday night.
Freshman Brynna Maxwell scored 18 points and had a career high seven rebounds to lead the Utes in the win. Ola Makurat added 13 points and grabbed six rebounds as the Utes put an end to the Cougars' three-game winning streak.
"That was a really great game," head coach Lynne Roberts said in a statement. "It took both teams a little bit to get going, but I thought in the second half and in overtime, both teams played their hearts out. Kids were making shots both ways and it was one of those games where it was unfortunate one of the teams had to lose, because I thought both teams played their hearts out."
Even though the Cougars led for 29 minutes of the ball game there were 18 lead changes and 12 ties through the duration of the game. The big game changer was the performance of the Utah bench which outscored the Cougars bench, 36-21.
The Cougars had to bench its two stars, Paisley Johnson and Brenna Drollinger, late in the second quarter when they both got into foul trouble with three each. During that time, the Utes went on a 10-2 run before the half to lead 32-30.
"This is great win for our team," Roberts said. "This is a great conference booster because BYU is always good. This is a tough place to win, so this is big. It is a genuine win against a tough opponent on the road."
With seven lead changes in the first five minutes of the third quarter, the Cougars got a strong performance from Babalu Ungwu when she grabbed an offensive rebound, made the shot and was fouled on her way up.
The Cougars would take a 43-41 lead, but Utah made back-to-back buckets after Maurane Corbin made a layup and then Julia Brosseau hit a 3-pointer to put the Utes back on top and to light a spark for the Utes. Both Corbin and Brosseau came off the bench for the Utes in the victory.
Utah would trail by one heading into the fourth quarter and a pair of buckets would push the Cougars' lead to five. But the Utes answered back with a pair of buckets of their own. Every shot one team made, the other team seemed to have an answer.
With 1:20 left in the game, the Utes went on a 5-0 scoring run when Lola Pendande made two free throws and Brosseau hit a 3-pointer to give the Utes a 66-65 lead with just under a minute left in the game.
The Cougars' Ugwu would later find an open lane and drive to the basket for an open bucket to give the Cougars a 67-66 lead with five seconds left, but Gylten was fouled with three seconds left and would make one of her free throws to send the game into overtime.
With 2:51 left in overtime, Torress, who had 10 points off the bench, hit a vital 3-pointer that would spark a 6-0 run by the Utes to give them a 75-71 lead. Sara Hamson hit a jumper for the Cougars to bring them within two with 14 seconds left in overtime, but Utah's Maxwell hit two free throws to ice the victory for the Utes.
Johnson led the Cougars with 19 points and four rebounds. Hamson added 18 points and seven rebounds in the Cougars' losing effort.
Utah is back at home on Thursday on a five-game homestand. The Cougars head to Arizona to take on the Arizona State Sun Devils on Friday. Carra McManamon is a native of Washington State and is attending the University of Utah. Contact her at email@example.com or follow her on Twitter: @curramac22