Bennett leads ASU women past Utah
Kali Bennett had 12 points, nine rebounds and a school-record-tying seven blocked shots to lead Arizona State past Utah 59-51 on Saturday in Pac-12 play.
Deja Mann had a career-high 17 points, four rebounds and four assists while Kimberly Brandon added 12 points for the Sun Devils (13-5, 4-3), who have won three straight after losing three in a row. Bennett tied the blocked-shot record set by Kym Hampton against Washington on Jan. 19, 1981 for Arizona State.
Michelle Plouffe had 15 points and seven rebounds for Utah (9-9, 2-5). The Utes shot just 35 percent from the field (20 of 58) and made 21 turnovers, seven more than their average, in losing for the fifth time in seven games.
Janita Badon scored 12 points and had eight assists for Utah.
The Sun Devils opened the second half with an 8-1 run to take a 30-20 lead with 15:33 left, taking advantage of Utah's poor shooting. The Utes missed their first six shots of the second half and four minutes into the half were 8-of-39 (20.5 percent) from the field. Arizona State leads the conference in defense, allowing just 52.2 points a game.
Utah did get within four points after Badon made a steal and found Plouffe for a jumper to cut the lead to 43-39 with 6:47 to play. However, Utah coach Anthony Levrets thought Plouffe had also been fouled on the play, was called for a technical foul, leading to two Sun Devils free throws by Mann. She hit a 3-pointer on the subsequent position and Arizona State held on.
Taryn Wicijowski added 10 points and nine rebounds for Utah.
Bennett had six points and six blocked shots in the first half as Arizona State took a 22-19 lead at the break.
The Utes missed 14 of their 23 shots in the first 20 minutes but outrebounded the Sun Devils 24-15 to help stay close. Wicijowski had four points and six rebounds in the first half for Utah.
It was the first meeting in nearly six years between the schools, the last being Utah's 86-65 win over Arizona State in the second round of the 2006 NCAA tournament.