Utah pulls away from Washington State women for 73-61 victory

PULLMAN — Alissa Pili scored 15 points to lead five players in double figures and No. 20 Utah took over in the fourth quarter to beat Washington State 73-61 on Sunday.

Isabel Palmer had two baskets and Jenna Johnson sank a three-pointer in a 9-2 run to begin the fourth quarter as the Utes (17-6, 7-4 Pac-12 Conference) pushed their advantage to 64-54 and never trailed.

Bella Murekatete and Eleonora Villa had 15 points apiece to lead the Cougars (15-8, 4-6). Murekatete grabbed the 900th rebound of her career to move to the top of WSU’s all-time list. She passed Kate Benz (2003-07). Villa was 3 for 4 from beyond the arc. Tara Wallack totaled 10 points and 10 rebounds for her first double-double this season.

Pili sank 6 of 10 shots with a three-pointer for Utah, adding seven rebounds and three assists. Palmer finished with 14 points off the bench on 6-for-8 shooting with two three-pointers. Johnson and Kennady McQueen both buried three shots from beyond the arc, scoring 13 apiece. Ines Vieira hit two of the Utes’ 13 three-pointers and scored 10.

Vieira had six points in the first quarter to help Utah take an 18-14 lead.

Pili had four points in a 9-0 run and the Utes upped their advantage to 29-16 with 5:25 left in the second quarter. Wallack hit two three-pointers, Villa sank a three-pointer and two free throws and Aster Tuhina buried a three at the buzzer as Washington State used an 18-5 run to knot the score at 34 at halftime.

Johnson, McQueen and Maty Wilke all scored five and Utah took a 55-52 lead into the final quarter.

Washington State will host California on Friday.

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