SALT LAKE CITY (AP) The Washington Huskies had lost their last two previous trips to Salt Lake City, so there was no overlooking struggling Utah on Friday night.
Kelsey Plum scored 24 points and handed out eight assists as No. 10 Washington rolled over the Utes 82-53.
The Huskies (21-3, 9-2 Pac-12) put the game away in the second quarter with a 21-10 period as they rode the elite duo of Plum and Chantel Osahor.
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”We ran about four or five different looks to get her touches on the block,” Washington coach Mike Neighbors said about Osahor. ”They weren’t double-teaming her. She’s so good at reading whether she can go score or if she needs to fan it out and keep the ball moving. It was really important her getting those touches inside. That got us a lot of separation.
”I get it. I don’t know what I’d do (against her) either. I really don’t. If you go double her, she’s going to get an assist for a three. It may just be, `Hey, let’s just try two for threes and hope.’ I don’t know what I would do. It never surprises me with how people try to defend us. We just always try to make them wrong no matter what they throw out.”
Utah (14-8, 3-8) had no answer for the nation’s leading rebounder in Osahor, who flat-out dominated the paint and had a double-double (15 points, 11 rebounds) at halftime. She finished with 19 points and 20 rebounds.
”Very shocking,” Osahor said. ”They’re the first team in the Pac-12 and the first team in a long time that hasn’t double-teamed me. They did it like twice. That was it.
”It was very, very shocking to see that that didn’t happen. But it worked out in my favor.”
While Osahor controlled the paint, Plum, the nation’s leading scorer, continued to own the perimeter. She knocked down 7 of 12 shots in the first half and sparked a 17-2 second-quarter run that buried the Utes.
Utah shot just 22.2 percent from the field in the second quarter.
Megan Jacobs led the Utes with 14 points, but Utah never made a run in the second half.
”Honestly I didn’t think defense was the issue tonight,” Utah coach Lynne Roberts said. ”They scored 82. If we take away the transition points, we haven’t played anyone that has transitioned from offense to defense that fast all season and it was kind of a little bit eye opening.
”They do have legitimate post play and a legitimate best player in the country in their point guard, but I didn’t think that was our issue. Our issue was, offensively, we can’t score. If you are going to play the No. 10 team in the nation and expect to get a win, we have to shoot better than 30 percent.”
Washington: The Huskies bounced back nicely from a loss to No. 8 Stanford, their third of the season. Washington remains one loss back of No. 11 Oregon State and Stanford for the Pac-12 lead, but have already played, and lost, to both. It needs help to win the conference title, even if the Huskies run the table.
Utah: The 11-0 start to the season seems eons ago. The Utes have lost 8 of 11 and still have to play both Stanford and Oregon State for the second time this season.
STAT OF THE NIGHT
Washington entered the game ranked No. 3 in the nation with 11.1 3-point field goals per game. It was 6 for 21 Friday and still cruised to victory.
”That’s our thing, just make teams wrong,” Neighbors said. ”If they want to guard the arc, then we’ll throw it inside. If they want to guard us inside, we’ll throw it outside. … I thought we dictated the tempo pretty much from start to finish.”
Plum and Osahor played the first 37 minutes of the game before sitting down. Natalie Romeo played the first 34 minutes before being subbed out.
Washington: The Huskies travel to face Colorado on Sunday.