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Originally published Thursday, March 7, 2013 at 3:43 PM

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Utah women beat Arizona when it counts most

The Arizona women's basketball team had beaten Utah twice during the regular season. But the Utes routed the Wildcats, 66-48, Thursday at KeyArena on the first day of the Pac-12 tournament.

Seattle Times staff reporter

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Arizona was seeded 11th for the Pac-12 women's basketball tournament but thought it had an advantage in its matchup against No. 6 Utah.

Two of the Wildcats' four Pac-12 wins were against the Utes.

"Playing a team for the third time in a difficult task," Arizona coach Niya Butts said Thursday after her team lost 66-48 to Utah at KeyArena.

The Utes used 12-of-23 shooting from three-point range to blow the game open.

Forward Michelle Plouffe made four straight three-pointers in the first half, helping Utah to a 43-29 at the break. Plouffe, a 6-foot-4 junior forward, scored a game-high 24 points and grabbed nine rebounds.

Wildcats senior Davelynn Whyte scored 23 points and added eight rebounds and six assists. Arizona lost 13 of its final 14 games, finishing with a 12-18 record.

Utah (18-12) plays No. 3 UCLA on Friday.

USC 64, Oregon State 57

Seventh-seeded USC benefitted from a record-setting march to the free-throw line, beating No. 10 seed Oregon State.

The Trojans led 47-45 then scored 15 of their final 17 points at the line. USC attempted a tournament-record 46 free throws, making 35. Oregon State was 7 of 12 from the free-throw line.

Oregon State coach Scott Rueck was called for a technical foul with 4:40 remaining, arguing against a charge foul on freshman forward Jamie Weisner. The Trojans made two free throws, then survived the Beavers' later pushes.

The Trojans (11-19) survived despite shooting just 29 percent from the field. USC advances to play No. 2 seed California in the second round at noon Friday.

Ariya Cook led USC with 17 points. Cassie Harberts added 16 points and 14 rebounds and Christina Marinacci scored 13. Oregon State (10-21) was led by Ali Gibson with 13 points. Mollee Schwegler scored 12 and Alyssa Martin and Weisner each scored 10.

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