Alissa Pili's 22 points leads No. 10 Utah over Merrimack 98-34

SALT LAKE CITY -- — Alissa Pili scored 22 points and collected six rebounds to lead No. 10 Utah to a 98-34 victory over Merrimack on Friday night.

Kennady McQueen added a season-high 18 points on six 3-pointers for the Utes. Ines Vieira dished out 11 assists, finishing with double-digit assists for the second time in three games. Utah (5-1) finished with a 50-28 advantage in rebounds and outscored Merrimack 30-12 in the paint.

Cadence Johnson led the Warriors with eight points. Thalia Shepard added seven. Merrimack (1-5) made only 14 baskets while totaling the fewest points for a Utah opponent this season. The Utes scored 32 points off 25 turnovers.

“This is a great offensive team and we know what we’re going to get on offense,” Pili said. “But I think it’s our defense that we need to key in on.”

Utah had no trouble smothering Merrimack on both ends of the court from the opening tip.

Utah raced out to a double-digit lead after making seven 3-pointers in the first quarter while shooting 58% from the perimeter. Seven different players contributed an outside basket during the onslaught.

Their hot shooting allowed the Utes to quickly blow the game wide open. Utah built a 55-15 halftime lead after Pili and Young both made back-to-back baskets to fuel a 17-3 run to close the second quarter.

Turnovers complicated Merrimack’s efforts to stay in the game. The Warriors committed 16 turnovers before halftime, which led to 21 points for the Utes.

Utah held Merrimack to a single basket in the third quarter, allowing the Warriors to shoot just 1-of-13 from the field. The Utes led by as many as 69 points in the second half.

Utah has made continued strides defensively since suffering its first loss at Baylor two weeks earlier. The Utes have now allowed just 42.3 points per game through three home contests.

“The Baylor game showed us (where to improve) and that’s what we wanted,” Utah coach Lynne Roberts said. “That’s why we scheduled it. You want to see where your holes are and what you got to get better at and I think it showed us all that.”


Merrimack: The Warriors struggled to keep up with Utah from the opening tip. They had no answer for the Utes on either end of the court.

Utah: The Utes clamped down on defense and kept Merrimack from getting easy looks at the basket. Utah did not allow any offensive rebounds, points in the paint, second chance points or fastbreak points during the first half.


Merrimack is at Siena on Tuesday.

Utah hosts Carroll College on Tuesday.


AP women’s college basketball: and