TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) — Gianna Kneepkens scored 22 points and Jenna Johnson added 15 to push No. 4 Utah to a 74-69 Pac-12 victory over stubborn Arizona State on Sunday afternoon.
The Utes (23-3, 13-3), who had a seven-game winning streak stopped at No. 18 Arizona on Friday, struggled to put away Arizona State without post player Alissa Pili.
Pili, the Pac-12’s leading scorer at 20.7 points per game, did not play after suffering an apparent right ankle sprain the final minutes of the loss at Arizona. Her ankle was re-taped on the bench after the first quarter but she never entered the game.
Sydney Erikstrup had 15 points, Treasure Hunt had 13 and Kayla Mokwuah had 11 for the Sun Devils (7-18, 0-16), who lost their 16th straight game despite leading most of the way.
The Utes did not get their first lead until Kneepkens’ 3-pointer made it 29-27 with 2:19 remaining in the first half and did not lead for good until Kneepkens made two free throws to break a tie at 65 with 1:29 left.
Johnson made two free throws with 40.8 seconds left for a 69-65 lead and Kennady McQueen and Ines Vieira made three fouls shots to complete a late 7-0 run.
Utah shot 44.2% and made 6 of 21 3-point attempts. They ranked fifth in NCAA Division I in both scoring at 84.2 points per game and in field goal percentage (49.0) coming in.
Utah won the first scheduled game between the two this season by forfeit, when injuries and illness forced the Sun Devils to cancel the Feb. 3 meeting in Salt Lake City.
Utah: The Utes assured themselves of a top-four league finish and a first-round bye in the Pac-12 postseason tournament with the victory. They remain in the running for a host site in the NCAA regionals and will finish the regular-season at home against No. 3 Stanford next Saturday.
Arizona State: The Sun Devils have had injury and illness issues during a difficult season, but they have persevered. They led late into the third quarter against Utah, their fifth AP Top 25 opponent in the last six games.
Utah: Hosts California on Thursday.
Arizona State: At Oregon State on Thursday.
AP college basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/college-basketball and https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-basketball-poll and https://twitter.com/AP–Top25