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Utah women's basketball dominates Saint Mary's behind Johnson, Maxwell scoring

Utah Utes head coach Lynne Roberts argues a point with a referee as Utah and Washington play in Pac-12 tournament action at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas on Thursday, March 7, 2019. Washington won 64-54.

Utah Utes head coach Lynne Roberts argues a point with a referee as Utah and Washington play in Pac-12 tournament action at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas on Thursday, March 7, 2019. Washington won 64-54. (Scott G Winterton, Deseret News)

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SALT LAKE CITY — It was another blowout victory for the red hot Utah women's basketball team as they defeated Saint Mary's in commanding fashion 92-50 Tuesday night.

Every member of the team recorded a basket during the game, but it was the two-headed scoring of Jenna Johnson and Brynna Maxwell that buried the Gaels and lifted the Utes to a 3-0 start to the season.

From the start, Utah was hot from the floor and relentless on the defensive end. Johnson got things going for the Utes and recorded the first two baskets for Utah. When Johnson checked out of the game, Maxwell picked up right where her teammate left off and splashed back-to-back 3-pointers, which quickly increased Utah's lead.

Utah continued to pressure the Gaels and held them to just 18% shooting from the floor in the first quarter. As Johnson re-entered the game, she went on a tear to continue Utah's dominance in the game. Despite only being a freshman, Johnson attacked the defense and scored with ease early.

With the play clock winding down in the opening quarter, Johnson drove the paint at two Gael defenders. And instead of panicking, Johnson elevated and athletically split the defenders, laying it off the glass. The ball rolled around in the cylinder before dropping for 2 points.

Not long after, Johnson received an inbounds pass with 2.5 seconds remaining in the quarter, which she confidently hoisted off one foot and swished home to beat the buzzer. After just one, the Utes lead Saint Mary's 18-6.

In the second quarter, Johnson and Maxwell continued to scorch their opponent. While Johnson feasted inside in the paint, the Utes put the Gael's through the blender on multiple occasions to leave a wide open Maxwell on the perimeter — and she made Saint Mary's pay.

By the half, not only did the dynamic scoring duo lead the Utes on the stat sheet, but they outscored the Gaels collectively 21-15 to control a 49-15 lead in the half.

Even though the outcome was solidified by halftime, that didn't stop the two from continuing their dominance in the game. Johnson picked up right where she left off in the first and owned the paint to contribute 16 of Utah's 52 points in the painted area. Maxwell, on the other hand, was effective in other ways and grabbed a team-high six rebounds while dishing out four assists.

"We work on positioning a lot in practice and obviously my guards are finding me and giving me good passes, which lead me to the hoop," Johnson said. "So that's a lot easier to score when it's pretty much just right there and I put it in the hoop."

Between the two, the duo combined for 33 of the team's 92 overall points and were a combined +52 on the floor. Individually, Johnson finished with a game-high 22 points and five rebounds, while Maxwell recorded 11 points, six rebounds and four assists.

"The one thing that Brynna has shown for two years and Jenna is now showing is being consistent and reliable," head coach Lynne Roberts said. "Brynna is very, very reliable, and Jenna is proving to be that, too. And that's no coincidence, it's not like wow, how lucky. These guys are in the gym all the time. So that's what great players do."

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