Pac-12 women's basketball enjoys huge Friday night

While Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer was making history, Utah and UCLA were earning big wins

Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer tying former Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski for all-time wins in college basketball wasn't the only highlight for the Pac-12 on Friday night.

The conference, which boasts five teams in the AP Top 25 — including four in the top eight — had two other marquee matchups, and they didn't disappoint:

  • No. 20 Utah earned its first victory over a Top 25 foe this season as Alissa Pili scored a season-high 37 points against her former team in a 78-58 rout of No. 6 USC in Salt Lake City.

Utah logoUtah logo
Alissa Pili
1/19/2024 v. USC
  • And No. 5 UCLA knocked off No. 3 Colorado 76-68 in front of the largest crowd to ever watch a women's basketball game at Colorado behind Lauren Betts, who led the Bruins with 20 points and 13 rebounds.

UCLA logoUCLA logo
Lauren Betts
C - UCLA - #51
1/19/2024 v. COLO

Recaps below compiled from The Associated Press.

Utah vs. USC: Pili outduels Watkins

The USC women’s basketball team was hoping to build on the momentum of its big win against rival UCLA last weekend, but the Trojans’ plans were scuttled by a familiar face.

Alissa Pili scored a season-high 37 points and had six rebounds against her former team to lead No. 20 Utah to a 78-58 victory over No. 6 USC.

Pili shot 13 for 16 from the field, including a 5-for-6 showing from 3-point range. Matyson Wilke added 12 points off the bench.

Utah (13-5, 3-3 Pac-12) claimed its first win over a Top 25 opponent this season after going winless in four previous contests against ranked foes.

“This was a big game for us to kind of propel us in the right direction,” Pili said.

Star freshman JuJu Watkins led USC (13-2, 3-2) with 26 points.

“They beat us in every way tonight,” USC coach Lindsay Gottlieb said. “I thought they were better offensively. I thought they were better defensively.”

UCLA vs. Colorado: Big road win for Bruins

UCLA sophomore center Lauren Betts wasn't bothered by her hyped-up homecoming, the Buffaloes' swarming defense, her tough shooting night or the largest crowd that had ever witnessed a Colorado women's basketball game.

Betts overcame all of that to score 20 points and grab 13 rebounds, leading fifth-ranked UCLA to a 76-68 victory over third-ranked Colorado in the first top-five matchup in the country this season.

Betts made five of six shots in the second half after going 3 for 10 from the field before halftime, her seven misses more than she'd had in any full game this season, as UCLA overcame an early nine-point deficit.

Charisma Osborne added 22 points for the Bruins (15-1, 4-1 Pac-12), who rebounded from a loss to Southern California last weekend that knocked them from the unbeaten ranks and dropped them from No. 2 in the country. They handed the Buffaloes (15-2, 5-1) their first loss at home.

The crowd of 11,338 was a record for a women's game at Colorado and the team's first sellout since March 17, 1995. Only two men's games have drawn bigger crowds to the arena, which opened in 1979.

“I don’t think it really affected us," Betts said, noting the Bruins have played in front of three packed houses this month, "but I can say that it was just a really cool experience and I’m grateful that we got to play in front of that crowd.”