Go Utes!
Go Utes!

Nov. 19, 1997

Utah Opens Season Versus Weber State

Utah Probable Line-Up:
Pos. No. Name              Ht.  Yr. Hometown           1996-97 Statistics 
G    10  Alli Bills        5-7  Sr. Sandy, Utah         8.4 ppg, 5.0 rpg,7.6 apg
G    33  Julie Krommenhoek 5-9  Sr. American Fork, Utah 17.4 ppg, 3.7 rpg,2.6 apg 
C    44  Kristi Rose       6-4  So. Palmdale, Calif.    2.9 ppg, 2.1 rpg, 1.1 bpg 
F    32  Lori Red          5-11 So. Provo, Utah         2.5 ppg, 1.8 rpgor
F    42  Angie Thill       6-0  Sr. Belt, Mont.         2.0 ppg, 2.1 rpg 
Off The Bench:
Pos. No. Name                  Ht.  Yr. Hometown            1996-97 Statistics
G    11  Amy Alcorn            5-8  Sr. Oregon City, Ore.   1.9 ppg, 0.8 rpg 
G    14  Rosie Shelley         5-9  Jr. American Fork, Utah 0.7 ppg, 1.0 rpg 
F    15  Lindsay Sodja         6-1  Fr. Taylorsville, Utah        - - -
F    21  Kristina Anderson     6-1  Fr. Eugene, Ore.              - - -
G    22  Tiana Fuertes         5-3  So. Honolulu, Hawaii    1.4 ppg, 1.3 rpg, 1.9 apg
F/G  24  Amy Ewert             6-0  Fr. Vancouver, B.C.           - - -
G    25  ReShawnda Richardson  5-7  So. Long Beach, Calif.        - - -
G    30  Janna Whitman         5-10 So. Magna, Utah         1.1 ppg, 0.4 rpg
F/C  35  Laura Ross Allen      6-2  Sr. Sparks, Nev.        4.1 ppg, 2.8 rpg

GAME DATA:Utah (0-0) opens its 24th season on Friday against in-state rival Weber State (0-1) at 5:30 p.m. at the Dee Events Center (11,500) in Ogden, Utah.

ON THE AIR: KALL-910 AM will broadcast the game tape-delayed following U. Talk at 6:30 p.m. Mike Lageschulte (play-by-play) and former Ute Reggie Jewkes (analyst) call the action. The broadcast begins with a 15-minute pre-game show and concludes with The Elaine Elliott Postgame Show.

A QUICK LOOK AT UTAH: The Utes will be gunning for their fourth Western Athletic Conference championship of some form in as many years and its fourth-consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance this season. Utah won the WAC Tournament in `95 and took the WAC regular-season championship in 1995-96. The Utes return 10 of 14 letterwinners from last year's team that went 25-6 overall, advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament for the first time in school history and won the WAC Mountain Division title by four games with a 15-1 record.

FOR OPENERS: Utah is 17-7 in season openers overall and 9-4 in season openers played on the road. The Utes have won three-consecutive season openers and have taken five of the last six since 1991. Last season, Utah opened at home on Nov. 18 against Montana, winning 73-54.

COMING UP: Utah opens its 1997-98 home schedule against UC Irvine next Friday at 7:00 p.m. at the Jon M. Huntsman Center. The Utes also host Bradley next Saturday at 4:00 p.m.


PREVIEW SCOUTING THE WILDCATS: Weber State opened its season with a 70-58 loss to Cal Poly-SLO last Saturday on the road. The Wildcats featured a line-up of four new starters. Freshman 5-10 guard Sara Sue Olney led the team in scoring with 16 points. Sunny Robinson had a game-high 10 rebounds and six points. The only starter back in the line-up from last year, junior 5-7 guard Andie Willer, scored 12 points. The Wildcats return seven letterwiners from last year's team that went 15-13 overall and placed fifth in the Big Sky Conference with a 9-7 record. Senior 5-8 guard Tori Allen and sophomore 5-11 guard/forward Taryn Stringham are returning starters from last year.

HEAD COACH CARLA TAYLOR... has a 111-134 career record in her 10th year at Weber State. A WSU alumna, Taylor was a four-year starter for the Wildcats 1980-84. Prior to being hired by Weber State in 1988, Taylor was a graduate assistant coach at Utah for one season under Elaine Elliott.

THE SERIES: Utah leads the all-time series 31-4, and has a 13-3 record in games played in Ogden, Utah. Utah won the last game of the series played in Ogden, 81-59, on Dec. 16, 1995. Weber States' last win was a 61-59 triumph on Dec. 22, 1994 at the Huntsman Center. Elaine Elliott is 18-2 against Weber State. Carla Taylor is 2-10 against Utah.

LAST MEETING: Utah staved off a late rally by Weber State to win 60-56 on Nov. 26 last year at the Huntsman Center. Utah sprinted out to a 34-20 halftime lead and led by as many as 17 points in the second half. With 7:21 remaining and the U. leading 50-34, the Wildcats went on a 20-6 run to get within 56-54 with 20 seconds left. Lisa Thueson, who had a career-high 19 points, went 3-for-4 at the line in the final seconds, allowing the Utes to hold on for the four-point win. Laura Ross Allen had eight points and two rebounds for Utah. Andie Willer went 4-for-5 from three-point range to score 12 points for the Wildcats.s


UTES PERFECT IN EXHIBITION SEASON: Utah won both of its exhibition games, rolling over the Portland Saints AAU team, 74-50, on Nov. 1 and Spartak-Moscow, 97-58, on Nov. 14 at the Jon M. Huntsman Center. Four Utes scored in double-figures with Julie Krommenhoek tossing in 22 as Utah cruised to a 39-point win over Spartak-Moscow last Friday night at the Huntsman Center. Krommenhoek went 8-for-16 from the field and 4-for-9 from three-point range while dishing out five assists.

Sophomore center Kristi Rose had 13 points, eight rebounds and two blocks. Angie Thill had a team-high nine boards and 10 points. Alli Bills had a game-high six assists. Laura Ross Allen and Lindsay Sodja came off the bench to score 12 and 11 points, respectively. Utah outshot Spartak-Moscow 43.1 to 35.4 percent, and had a 57 to 39 edge on the boards. The Utes led 41-22 at halftime, and outscored Spartak-Moscow 56-36 in the second half.

Rose lead the way with a game-high 15 points and eight rebounds in just 20 minutes of action against Portland. Krommenhoek and Thill, as well as Janna Whitman off the bench, scored 10 points a piece. Krommenhoek went 2-for-5 from behind the arc and 4-for-4 at the line in 18 minutes. Whitman went 3-for-8 from the field and 2-for-3 from three-point range in 15 minutes. Bills had a game-high six assists and four steals, as well as scoring six points on 3-for-5 shotting. The Utes shot 40.3 percent from the field, 50.0 percent from three-point range (6-for-12) and 75.0 percent from the free throw line (18-for-24). Utah outrebounded Portland, 46 to 35.

HEAD COACH ELAINE ELLIOTT... is the winningest coach in Utah women's basketball history. Elliott, entering her 15th season as Utah's head coach after spending four years as an assistant coach at the U., will be aiming for her 300th career victory this season. She enters the campaign with a 281-127 career record and a 138-38 mark in conference games. Her number of career wins and winning percentage (.689) is the best of any coach in the Western Athletic Conference. Her coaching tenure is also the longest among the league coaches.

She has had nine 20-win seasons and three 19-win campaigns, averaging 20 wins in the 14 previous years at the U. Elliott was named the WAC Mountain Division Coach of the Year last season after guiding Utah to the Mountain Division title. Utah won the WAC regular-season title under Elliott in 1995-96 and the WAC Tournament championship in 1995. Elliott has coached teams to a total of four regular-season conference crowns (1986, 87, 89, 96), one divisional title (1997) and four league tournament championships (1989, 90, 91, 94). Seven of her teams have advanced to the NCAA Tournament (1986, 89, 90, 91, 95, 96, 97).

ELLIOTT ELABORATES: On Utah's exhibition win over Spartak Moscow - "We came out apathetic in the first half and it was really an ugly game. But, I was much happier with our effort in the second half. We had too many turnovers, but other than that nothing really stood out to me. There were some nice things that I liked seeing after four weeks of practice." On playing Weber State - "They have a relatively new team this year, so its nice that they've had a game already so we can get an idea of what they are doing. I know they have some good guards back from last year, so I expect them to be perimeter oriented."

UTAH PREDICTED TO WIN WAC: In a preseason poll of the Western Athletic Conference coaches, Utah was selected as the favorite to win the Mountain Division for the second-consecutive year and capture the WAC championship.

Utah collected 12 of the 16 first-place votes and 117 points in being predicted to win the division. The Utes garnered 11 of the 16 votes as the favorites to win the WAC Tournament championship game over Colorado State (3 votes) and Hawai'i (2). Colorado Statewas picked to finish second in the Mountain Division, collecting 108 points and the remaining four first-place votes. The coaches picked New Mexico to place third (90 points), followed by Brigham Young (77), Wyoming (65), UTEP (50), UNLV (39) and Air Force (22). Hawai'i waschosen as the preseason favorite in the Pacific Division with 110 points and 10 first-place votes.

The remainder of the Pacific Division was predicted as follows: San Diego State (100), Rice (95), SMU (86), TCU (68), Fresno State (50), San Jose State (31) and Tulsa (28). This season the WAC schedule with feature a 14-game format. Each school will play a cross-over series with a team from the other division_Rice in Utah's case_but the two games will not count in the WAC standings as opposed to last year.

The 1998 WAC Tournament will feature 12 teams_the top six from each division_and will be contested March 2-7 at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas.

FROM THE TRAINING ROOM: Lori Red hasachilles tendonitis. Her availability for Friday night's game is questionable.

WAC'S TOP TEAM: Utah begins its 24th season as the most successful program in the history of the Western Athletic Conference. The U.'s 467-191 (.709) overall record, 76-22 (.776) mark in league games and eight NCAA Tournament appearances are all top marks in the WAC. Utah's two conference championships, including the 1997 Mountain Division title, rank second to San Diego State's three WAC titles.

EUROPEAN VACATION: Utah got a head start on the 1997-98 season by playing five games against European professional teams during a 10-day trip to France and Switzerland last summer. The Utes went 4-1 on the tour. The team left for France on Aug. 15, spent the first four days in Paris, toured Switzerland for three days and went to Nice, France, for the last three days of the trip before returning home on Sept. 5. Senior Julie Krommenhoek averaged 18 points a game to lead the team in scoring. Sophomore 6-2 center Kristi Rose averaged 15 points and 15 rebounds a game.

1997-98 OUTLOOK: Two outstanding senior starters come back to lead the Utes. Julie Krommenhoek (17.4 ppg, 2.6 apg), a 5-9 guard from American Fork, Utah, was an honorable mention Kodak All-American and the WAC's fourth-leading scorer last season. Alli Bills (8.4 ppg, 7.6 apg), a 5-7 guard from Sandy, Utah, led the nation in assists last year and was named to the WAC Mountain Division all-defensive team.

Five key reserves from last season will contend for starting positions in the frontcourt. Senior 6-2 forward/center Laura Ross Allen (4.1 ppg, 2.8 rpg) started the first five contests at center, played in 26 games and scored in double figures four times last season. Kristi Rose (2.9 ppg, 1.1 bpg), a 6-4 sophomore center, ranked third in the WAC and recorded the eighth-most blocked shots in a single season (34) at Utah.

Rose scored in double figures twice, and set Utah and WAC (league games only) records with nine blocked shots against Colorado State on Feb. 8. Sophomore 5-11 forward Lori Red (2.5 ppg, 1.8 rpg) played in all 31 games at small forward and was splitting the time with senior starter Lisa Thueson early in the season. Senior 6-0 forward Angie Thill (2.0 ppg, 2.1 rpg) saw her playing time increase off the bench late in the season and had four boards or more in seven games.

Senior Amy Alcorn (1.9 ppg, 0.8 rpg) was set back early last season after missing the first nine games with a stress fracture, but could see significant playing time at the two or three position this season. Sophomore 5-3 guard Tiana Fuertes (1.4 ppg, 1.9 apg) started three games at point guard last season while Bills was injured and averaged 13.7 minutes a game in 30 contests. Sophomore 5-10 guard Janna Whitman (1.1 ppg, 0.4 rpg) and junior 5-9 guard Rosie Shelley (1.0 ppg, 1.0 rpg) will provide depth in the guard court.

THE NEWCOMERS: The Utes welcome three freshmen to the team this season and gain the talents of sophomore guard ReShawnda Richardson, who sat out last season as a partial qualifier under NCAA admissions standards. The rookies are Kristina Anderson, a 6-0 forward from Marist High School in Eugene, Ore., Amy Ewert, a 6-0 forward/guard from Kitsilano High School in Vancouver, B.C., and Lindsay Sodja, a 6-1 forward from Taylorsville, Utah.

Anderson, a USA Today All-American in 1996, is a two-time first-team all-state selection and 3A Player of the Year in Oregon. Anderson led Marist to its second-consecutive state championship in 1997 with a 27-3 record and was named to the all-tournament team. She averaged a team-best 18 points and 10 rebounds a game, and shot 31 percent from three-point range and 78 percent from the free-throw line. Ewert is the first Canadian to play for the Utes. She scored 20.2 points and pulled down 10.6 rebounds a game to earn first-team all-star and league MVP honors during the 1995-96 season. Sodja was a three-time first-team all-state and region honoree, and named the Region 3 Player of the Year in `96.

Sodja averaged 21.0 points, six rebounds, six assists, three steals and two blocks per game last season. Richardson is a native of Long Beach, Calif., who was able to practice with the team all of last season.

KROMMENHOEK GUNNING FOR UTAH AND WAC CAREER SCORING MARKS: Senior guard Julie Krommenhoek has already established herself as one of the most prolific shooters in the history of the Utah program and the Western Athletic Conference. Entering the 1997-98 season with 1,542 points, Krommenhoek ranks fourth in career scoring at Utah and needs 533 points this season to take over the career scoring mark. She also ranks fifth in the WAC in career scoring, needing 307 points to claim the top spot.

Krommenhoek already tops the Utah and WAC career charts for three-point field goals made (256) and attempted (594), and owns the top three single-season marks in both three-point categories. She set school and conference single-season records last season with 103 three-pointers made and 233 attempted.

KROMMENHOEK SHOOTING FOR ALL-AMERICA HONORS ONCE AGAIN: Julie Krommenhoek, a Kodak honorable mention All-American the past two seasons and a District VII All-American in `94-95, figures to be one of the top shooters in the country once again in `97-98. Last season, Krommenhoek ranked second in the nation with a career-best average of 3.3 three-pointers per game and fourth in three-point field goal percentage (44.2), leading the Western Athletic Conference in both categories. She was also 18th in the NCAA and third in the WAC free throw percentage (84.3).

A three-time first-team all-WAC selection, Krommenhoek is the conference's fourth-best returning scorer (17.4 ppg). Last season, the American Fork, Utah, native ranked ninth in the conference in field goal percentage (42.7) and 10th in steals (2.4) overall. She scored 18.4 points a game in league games to rank third. Krommenhoek, who has been named to the WAC all-tournament team each of the past three seasons, scored 20 points or more 11 times last season, including a career-best 35 against Rice on Jan. 23.

Also against the Owls, she tied her own school record with seven three-pointers (in 11 attempts). In the process of scoring 24 points against Oregon in the championship game of the Pepsi Shootout in Eugene, Ore., on Nov. 30, 1996, Krommenhoek broke her own Utah and WAC all-time records with 17 three-point field goal attempts. Her previous best mark was 16 three-point attempts against Southern Mississippi on March 16, 1996. Also last season, Krommenhoek posted her first career double-double with 18 points and 11 rebounds against Southern California on Dec. 14, 1996.

BILLS IN PURSUIT OF UTAH AND WAC CAREER ASSISTS RECORDS: Senior point guard Alli Bills ranked first in the nation with 7.6 assists per game last season, recording a school record 213 on the season. That brings her career total to 400 in essentially two and one-third seasons of playing time. Bills missed the last 20 games of her sophomore season due to a torn ACL in her right knee.

Bills enters the 1997-98 season in fourth place in career assists at the U., needing just 41 more to take over first place from Karen Alcorn (1988-92). Bills also owns two of the top three single-season assists totals in school history, dishing out 160 assists, the third-most in the Utah record books, as a freshman in 1994-95. Bills also ranks fourth in career assists in the WAC, needing 124 this season to take over the top spot from Dee Dee Dominguez of Colorado State (1993-96).

MORE ON BILLS: Judging by her play, one would never guess that Alli Bills had undergone two ACL operations prior to last season. Look at her stats, and it is clearly apparent that Bills played the best basketball of her career in 1996-97.

Bills, who was named to the Western Athletic Conference all-defensive team, posted 10 assists or more seven times last season. She dished out a career-best 14 assists against SMU on March 7 in the semifinals of the WAC Tournament. Bills also scored in double figures 11 times in `96-97. Bills had her first career triple-double against Colorado State on Feb. 26, with 13 points, a career-best 14 rebounds and 10 assists. She also posted her first two career double-doubles last season, getting 13 points and 10 assists against Brigham Young on Feb. 6, and 10 points and 11 assists against SMU on Feb. 13. She matched a career-best with 23 points against SMU on Jan. 18.

THE SCHEDULE: Utah's 1997-98 regular-season schedule features 11 homes games and two potential match-ups against NCAA Tournament teams from last year. Once again, Utah will be aligned in the Mountain Division of the 16-team Western Athletic Conference with Air Force, Brigham Young, Colorado State, New Mexico, UNLV, UTEP and Wyoming. Utah will face each of the teams in the Mountain Division home and away, and have two cross-over games with Rice of the Pacific Division. The Utes' games with Rice will not count in the league standings.

The WAC season concludes with the conference tournament, March 2-7 at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas, Nev. Montana, which will host Utah on Dec. 13 at 7:00 p.m. in Missoula, Mont., earned a ninth seed in the NCAA West Region last season with a 25-3 record.

The Utes' second date with an NCAA Tournament team could come against Kansas State on Dec. 6. Both teams are competing in the Kansas State Tournament, and would need to win their first round games the preceding night to meet in the championship game. Kansas State was a 10th seed in the East Region with a 19-11 mark last year.


LAST YEAR: Utah ranked 17th in the nation in scoring defense in 1996-97. The Utes gave up an average of just 57.9 points a game, and held five opponents to under 50 points. Utah's defense gave up more than 80 points on only one occasion, surrendering 81 in a loss to Southern California on Dec. 14. Utah also limited opponents to 38.7 percent field goal shooting on the season. Utah held the opposition to under 40 percent field goal shooting in 19 games, including the first nine games of the Western Athletic Conference season. The Utes also ranked 17th in the nation with a .806 winning percentage, the best of any team in the WAC.

UTAH ON TELEVISION: The Utes will make at least three appearances on television this season. Utah game with Colorado State on Jan. 18 at 2:00 p.m. (MST) will be televised regionally on Fox Sports Net. The contest is part of an eight-game Western Athletic Conference Game of the Week package_the first of its kind in conference history. Fox Sports Net will also televise the WAC Championship game on March 7 tape-delayed at 6:00 p.m. (MST).

Utah will also make at least two appearances on local television. The Utah/Brigham Young game on Jan. 10 at 3:00 p.m. in the Jon M. Huntsman Center will be televised by KJZZ-TV (Ch. 14, TCI 3). KJZZ is also tentatively scheduled to telecast either the Utes' quarterfinal or semifinal game in the WAC Tournament on March 4 or 6. The Utah/Brigham Young game in Provo, Utah, on Feb. 4 at 7:00 p.m will be televised by KBYU-TV (Ch. 11).

UTES ON RADIO: Once again this season, KALL-910 AM in Salt Lake City will be the radio home for Ute women's basketball. The majority of the regular-season games and all postseason contests will be carried live or tape delayed when they conflict with Utah men's games. KALL-910 AM Sports Director Brad Stone and Utah Assistant Sports Information Director Mike Lageschulte will share the play-by-play duties. Former Ute Reggie Wright-Jewkes will be the analyst for home games and select road games.

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