Freshmen duo rally Utah past Cal 66-60 in Pac-12 tournament
LAS VEGAS (AP) — Gianna Kneepkens tossed in 20 points, Jenna Johnson scored 18 and Utah held off upset-minded California 66-60 in the first round of the Pac-12 tournament on Wednesday night.
Kneepkens, who was just named the conference’s top freshman and an All-Pac-12 selection, sank 9 of 13 shots and added five rebounds for the sixth-seeded Utes (18-10). Johnson, who joined Kneepkens on the all-freshman team, hit 7 of 12 attempt. Kennedy McQueen scored 11.
Johnson had 11 points by halftime to help Utah take a 31-26 lead.
Evelien Lutje Schipholt made two free throws and Jayda Curry added a basket as Cal scored the final four points of the third period to take a 45-44 lead. Kneepkens scored 10 of the Utes’ 13 points in the quarter.
Dasia Young opened the fourth quarter with a 3-pointer, Kneepkens had a layup and McQueen buried a 3 as Utah used an 8-2 run to grab a 52-47 lead with 7:26 remaining.
The Golden Bears battled back to knot the score at 56 on a basket by Dalayah Daniels with 3:33 left, but Johnson scored six straight points to put Utah up 62-56 with 1:45 to go. Cal closed within 62-60, but Kneepkens answered with a layup and McQueen added two free throws with 15 seconds remaining to wrap up the win.
Curry, who was also named to the all-freshman team, had 16 points and seven rebounds for 11th-seed Cal (11-13). Ugonne Onyiah finished with 14 points and eight boards, while Lutje Schipholt scored 11.
Utah advances to play No. 3 seed Washington State on Thursday.
More AP women’s college basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/womens-college-basketball and https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-womens-college-basketball-poll and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25