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Utah women's basketball: Paige Crozon determined to author better ending to senior year

Published March 3, 2017 6:40 pm

In focus • Utes' Crozon hopes for better in postseason game.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2017, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Seattle • Facing Utah's biggest deficit of the night, something went right for Paige Crozon.

She had missed her first five shots, which is never a good omen for Utah. It boded ill again Thursday, as Utah suffered a 72-54 of a loss in the Pac-12 tournament to Arizona State.

But at the 6:09 mark of the game, Crozon was still trying. And finally, when her team was down 22 and the game was all but out of reach, a layup bounced off the glass and in.

Finishing her last Pac-12 game with two points was tough for Utah's only senior. But she steadied the emotion that made her jaw tremble — for a moment — outside the Utah locker room afterward, composed herself and spoke with the confidence of a player who still has games left to go out on a better note.

"This was obviously a disappointing game," Crozon said. "But we talk about making the most of every situation. Wherever we end up in the postseason, we'll try to improve off of this and finish the season strong."

The alternative was too bitter to even consider.

For the last few weeks of the season, the blonde Canadian forward has been a rallying point for the team, not just as a leader but as a figurehead. Crozon is the team's only senior, and ahead of Utah's Senior Day game, in which they pushed Pac-12 title winner Oregon State to a deadlock through three quarters, they united over the idea of "playing for Paige."

They remain unified on that front.

"Any extra games are great games, and we still want to make this a really great senior season for Paige," junior Emily Potter said. "I'd love to get to 20 wins. So right now that's my goal: to win the whole thing in WNIT. Why not?"

Crozon's senior season hasn't reached the team or personal fulfillment she hoped for from the outset. A 5-13 league record was full of spotty efforts when the Utes were blown off the court, as they were in the second half against Arizona State. Crozon's own numbers — including points, rebounds and shooting percentages — have dipped from last season.

And yet, her personality — one which teammates describe as upbeat and kind — has continued to endear her to the team, and been the engine of renewed energy toward the end of a rough season.

Crozon has been through worse: She redshirted the entire 2013-14 season, believing that she might not play basketball again. Since coming back as one of the Utes' key veterans, she's no longer one to count herself out.

"There's been a lot of ups and downs to my career," she said. "I think the key is to be resilient. Whatever happens, the next day just keep improving."

kgoon@sltrib.com Twitter: @kylegoon






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