Coach Lynne Roberts seemed unable to quite put a finger on why her team was so off its game in that first quarter, which she called "discombobulated." Perhaps it was the 15-day layoff from the Pac-12 tournament, which also was a first-round exit for the Utes. Malia Nawahine and Paige Crozon both called it strange, with Crozon, the team's only outgoing senior, saying, "I don't have the answer there."
Neither did the rest of the team, which shot only 34.7 percent in the game and continued a season-long theme of struggling to score.
"It's kind of the story of our season: We get ourselves in a hole and fight and fight," Crozon said. "It takes so much energy to get back."
Utah eventually trimmed the gap in a resurgent third quarter, during which the team was 9 for 19 to cut the deficit to three points. But UC Davis' own rally from the final minute of the third into the fourth quarter vaulted them back up to a double-digit lead, and the Utes couldn't get within a possession after that.
If there was a silver lining, it was that Utah was paced by players who are expected to return: Junior Tanaeya Boclair scored a team-leading 19 points, while Nawahine had 15 and Emily Potter scored 13 points and nine rebounds. But the Aggies, the regular-season champs of the Big West, didn't surrender points gladly: Aside from Boclair (8 for 14), each Ute missed more attempts than she made.
Crozon scored eight points in her Utah finale, the last chapter of a career that saw her become a 1,000-point scorer. Roberts wished she could have Crozon back for two more seasons.
"She's just coachable and wants the team to do well," Roberts said. "I never had to tell Paige to go hard. It was always just maximum effort."
As for the rest of the returning Utes, it will likely be a long summer in the gym. After finishing with one of the worst shooting percentages in the conference, Utah tied for last place with 5-13 record the team's ambitions for this season were much higher.
"I think we have to figure it out," Roberts said. "I think we all have to get better."
email@example.com Twitter: @kylegoon
R UC Davis outscores Utah 24-12 in first quarter of WNIT first-round game.
• Tanaeya Boclair leads Utah with 19 points and six rebounds.
• Morgan Bertsch scores 23 points for the Aggies.