The Utes (16-15) defeated Utah State 69-58 to advance to the second round of the WNIT, setting up rematch against Washington (18-13) at noon at Edmundson Pavilion on Sunday.
Regina Rogers sat in her apartment and listened.
It’s her senior season at Washington, and the center was hoping to get another opportunity against Pac-12 women’s basketball foe Utah.
Rogers suffered a hamstring injury after getting kneed in the opening half of a 49-36 overtime loss to the Utes. The schools were not scheduled to play again, and Rogers’ only chance to make amends was if Utah also advanced in Women’s National Invitation Tournament on Thursday.
So she listened to that game aired on the Internet, also supporting her friend, former Cleveland High guard Cheyenne Wilson, who’s a freshman at Utah. The Utes (16-15) defeated Utah State 69-58 to advance to the second round of the WNIT, setting up a rematch against Washington (18-13) at noon Sunday at Edmundson Pavilion.
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“I wanted to play them,” Rogers said. “It’s not about revenge. It’s just about us wanting to win and me wanting to play them, again.”
Utah coach Anthony Levrets joked that the first meeting set women’s basketball back a few years. As Rogers, Washington’s leading scorer (16.7), sat, the teams combined for the second-lowest point total in a UW game since 1975.
Utah needed overtime to win 49-36, led by senior guard Janita Badon’s 16 points. The Utes outscored the Huskies 17-4 in overtime and held UW to a season-low 24.5 percent.
“That was not the prettiest game that I’ve ever been a part of,” first-year Washington coach Kevin McGuff said.
Yet both teams are different heading into the WNIT rematch. Along with Rogers being healthy, UW freshman Aminah Williams has averaged 10.6 rebounds off the bench in her past three games.
Teammate Jazmine Davis was named Pac-12 Freshman of the Year, scoring 20 points or more 10 times this season. And senior Mollie Williams has scored in double figures as a reserve the past two games.
For Utah, Badon has missed the past six games due to a knee sprain, and Wilson has been running the team more. Still, the undermanned Utes have won six of their past nine games.
“Badon is a great defensive player and in the first game, she took the job of guarding Jaz and I feel she did the job really well,” Rogers said of what she witnessed in the first game. “With Cheyenne playing, it’s going to be different. We really don’t know how because she really didn’t play that much the last time. It’s a whole different team. (Badon) kind of makes them go, we’ll just see what happens.”
Utah remains a solid defensive team, holding opponents to 55.9 points. Posts Michelle Plouffe (14 points), whose older sister Andrea played for UW, and Taryn Wicijowski (13.2) lead the Utes in scoring.
“If you’re still playing you’re playing a pretty good basketball team, and Washington is a very good basketball team,” Levrets said of the rematch. “I expect a physical battle, just like it was the first time.”
Seattle U plays
Seattle University has participated in postseason games before. In 1979 and 1980 they were part of the AIAW Division I tournament before it became the NCAA tournament. But after decades of playing at the Division II level, the return has captured excitement around campus.
The Redhawks (19-11) host Wright State (21-12) at 2 p.m. Sunday at the Connolly Center in the second round of the Women’s Basketball Invitational. Seattle U, participating in its first postseason game since beginning the reclassification process in 2008, is seeded first in the third annual WBI.
Wright State is led by guard Kim Demmings, the top-scoring freshman in the nation (18.4).
Jayda Evans: 206-464-2067 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
On Twitter @JaydaEvans