PORTLAND — There were lots of red shirts in the stands at the Chiles Center on Sunday for a University of Portland women’s college basketball game.
And the red shirts weren’t Fresno State red. They were Seaside red.
Seaside High School’s Maddi Utti was making a “homecoming” of sorts, as the Bulldogs paid a visit to Portland in a battle of unbeatens.
And except for the Pilots’ 75-64 win, the night could not have been more memorable for Utti.
On her 21st birthday and in front of a large contingent of fans from her hometown, Utti scored a career-high 29 points.
Fresno State led 17-12 after one quarter, but Portland rallied and outscored the Bulldogs 63-47 over the final three quarters.
The Pilots improved to 4-0, while Fresno State (3-1) lost its first game of the season.
Utti was 14-of-24 from the field and pulled down 11 rebounds for her first double-double of the season, and 12th of her college career.
Utti tried to rally the Bulldogs. Her 10th point of the third quarter had Fresno State within 57-50 to end the quarter, and she scored Fresno State’s first six points of the fourth period to cut Portland’s lead to 59-56.
The Bulldogs got within 63-62 before the Pilots regrouped and rebuilt their lead to close out the win.
Now in her junior season, Utti was on the Mountain West Conference all-defensive team last season, in addition to making honorable mention all-conference.
Fresno State hosts Brigham Young Thursday and Northern Arizona next Sunday, before playing a pair of games in Los Angeles vs. Yale and Georgetown, Nov. 29-30.
Jackson scores career-high 22 points
Utti wasn’t the only former Gull to come up big on the court in the first week of the college basketball season.
In a men’s game Nov. 15 in Newberg, Seaside’s Jackson Januik scored a career-high 22 points to lead George Fox to an 87-82 win over Colorado College.
Januik, a junior guard, was 6-of-10 from the field and 8-for-9 from the free throw line, and added five rebounds and four assists in the victory. George Fox improved to 2-1.