Utah 64, No. 20 San Diego St. 57
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) _ Freshman Julie Krommenhoek scored 15 of her game-high 26 points in the first half and Utah dominated the boards as the Utes won the Western Athletic Conference tournament Saturday with a 64-57 win over No. 20 San Diego State.
Coming into the contest, Utah (23-6) had won 16 of its last 18 games. The Utes’ only losses came at the hands of the Aztecs (24-5), who became the only team in WAC history _ men’s or women’s _ to survive the conference schedule unbeaten in 14 games.
With the win, Utah earned the WAC’s automatic berth into the NCAA tournament. San Diego State, which had an 18-game winning streak snapped, is at the mercy of the selection committee, but an at-large berth seems likely.
Leading 10-9 midway through the first half, Utah used an 11-2 run to build a 19-9 advantage. Krommenhoek, who also had 10 rebounds and was named tournament MVP, scored five points during that burst and the Aztecs _ scoreless for almost five minutes _ never fully recovered.
The Utes had a 29-17 lead at halftime after 10-2 run to close the period, including a 3-pointer, layup and two free throws by Krommenhoek. Falisha Wright’s 3-pointer at the halftime buzzer gave the Aztecs slight momentum going into the locker room.
San Diego State rallied in the second half, but the closest the Aztecs got was 62-57 when Christina Murguia hit a 3-pointer with 9.5 seconds left. Krommenhoek and Mia Palkie both went 6-for-6 from the line in the final two minutes, when the Utes hit 14 of 16 foul shots.
Utah held a 41-28 rebounding advantage, led by Angie Bandy with 11. Amber McEwen scored 11 points, while Andrea Herold and Alli Bills each had four assists for the Utes.
Wright finished with 13 points to lead the Aztecs, while Murguia scored 12 and 6-foot-3 center Michelle Suman had 11. Suman had nine blocked shots but managed only four rebounds.