On Sunday, January 1st at 12PM, the (9-3) Washington Huskies will resume their PAC-12 conference schedule by hosting the (13-0) Utah Utes at Hec Ed.
Can Huskies Run with High Scoring Utes?
The undefeated (13-0) Utah Utes are a scary, well-oiled and experienced offensive machine.
The Runnin’ Utes are averaging 90.8 points per game.
Defensively, the Utes are holding opponents to 58.5 points per game — a margin of 32.3 points per game.
Meanwhile, the Huskies are averaging 66.1 points per game — 25 points less than Utah.
Washington has feasted on weak offensive teams during nonconference play, it will be a much more difficult task for the Huskies defense to be more than a bump in the road for the high-powered Utes offense.
A Barrage of Threes in the Forecast
As a team, Utah is shooting an excellent 34.8% from the three-point line.
Unfortunately, the saga of Washington’s struggling three-point defense continues — UW is currently allowing opponents to shoot 34.6% from three-point range, which ranks 324th of all 351 Division One programs.
The three-point threat from Utah should be priority #1 for the UW defense, because Utah has the ability to blowout the Huskies with a three-point barrage.
Will UW Turnovers Lead to Utah Points?
Washington averages 17.1 turnovers per game which ranks 221st nationally — in the bottom 40% of all Division One programs.
Utah’s defense will pressure the Huskies to ignite their fastbreak transition offense.
Utah Players for UW to Watch
Junior wing/forward Alissa Pili is averaging 19.9 points per game, 6.0 rebounds, 2.2 assists, 1.2 steals, and 0.8 blocks in 23.8 minutes.
Pili is playing like an unstoppable force right now.
Arguably, the USC transfer is a top three candidate for PAC-12 Player of the Year.
Pilli is hot from almost every spot on the court — shooting 73.1% on two-pointers and 38.1% from three-point range.
Sophomore 5’11” guard Gianna Kneepkens is back after a stellar All-PAC12 Freshman debut.
Kneepkens is averaging 13.8 points, 3.9 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 1.2 steals and 0.6 blocks in 24.4 minutes — she is shooting a blistering 65.3% on two-pointers and 46.8% from three-point range.
Jenna Johnson is a 6’2″ forward, averaging 11.9 points in 25.5 minutes.
Johnson is shooting 60.7% on two-pointers but is struggling from the three-point line at 14.8% overall — with the exception of leftside above the break threes (33.3%)