Last season, Utah bested Washington State in the Pac-12 Tournament quarterfinals. This time around the Cougars turned the tables.
As a No. 7 seed, Washington State sent second-seeded Utah home early defeating the Utes 66-58.
A double-digit trio of Bella Murekatete (19), Charlisse Leger-Walker (15) and Ula Motuga (13) led the Cougars in scoring.
WSU was superb from beyond the arc shooting 47% including a dagger 3-pointer late in the fourth quarter to make it a two-possession game with 10 seconds left.
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Both teams held the lead for about 17 minutes each. The back-and-forth game saw seven ties and nine lead changes. That was until the Cougars exploded with a 14-0 run bridging the end of the third and the beginning of the final quarter.
Utes leading scorer Alissa Pili scored just 11 points on 3 of 14 shooting and 0 of 4 from three-point land. Gianna Kneepkens paced the Utes with 18 points including seven fourth-quarter points to try to eclipse the Cougars' 14-point deficit.
The upset loss follows a series of program highs. Utah ranked fourth in the NCAA DI Women's Basketball Committee rankings placing the Utes as a possible No. 1 seed. Then the Utes claimed a share of the Pac-12 regular season title for the first time in history by taking down Stanford. And it finished off with a No. 3 rank in the AP poll — the highest mark of the season for Utah.
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Now, Utah awaits its seeding fate on Selection Sunday. Meanwhile, Washington State all but solidified its position in the NCAA tournament bracket.
The Cougars advance to their first conference tournament semifinals since 2014 and will face the winner of the Oregon State-Colorado game tomorrow.