Nov. 23, 1997
Utah (1-0) opens its 1997-98 home schedule this week with two games at the Jon M. Huntsman Center. The Utes host the UC Irvine Anteaters (1-0) on Friday at 7:00 p.m. and the Bradley Braves (2-0) on Saturday at 4:00 p.m.
On The Air: KALL-910 AM will broadcast both games live. Sports Director Brad Stone (play-by-play) and former Ute Reggie Wright-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 opened the season with a 69-48 win over Weber State last Friday night in Ogden, Utah. Senior point guard Alli Bills leads the team in scoring (14.0 ppg) and assists (7.0 apg). Sophomore center Kristi Rose is second in scoring (13.0 ppg). Senior forward Angie Thill is the team-leader in rebounding (12.0 rpg).
The Utes are 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 21-2 in home openers. Last season, Utah opened at home on Nov. 18 against Montana, winning 73-54. With its win against Weber State last Friday, Utah pushed its record in season openers to 18-6 in season openers overall and 10-4 in season openers played on the road. The Utes have won four-consecutive season openers and have taken six of the last seven since 1991.
Coming Up: Utah begins a string of five consecutive road games next week, playing at Kansas State's Commerce Bank-Wildcat Classic in Manhattan, Kan., on Friday and Saturday (Dec. 5-6). The Utes open the tournament on Friday against Wisconsin-Green Bay at 5:30 p.m. (CST). Utah will play either Kansas State or Southern A&M on Saturday. The consolation game will be at 5:30 p.m. (CST) followed by the championship game at 7:30 p.m. (CST)
Utah Vs. Uc Irvine Preview
Scouting The Anteaters: UC Irvine is is 1-0 after opening its season at home with 56-43 win over San Diego on Sunday. UC Irvine returns 10 letterwinners and all five starters from last year's team that went 16-13 overall, placed second in the Western Division of the Big West Conference and advanced the conference tournament championship game.
Senior 5-10 forward Leticia Oseguera earned first-team all-Big West honors last year, averaging 15.5 points and 10.3 rebounds per game. Sophomore 5-8 guard Megan Stafford averaged 12.4 points and 5.6 assists in '96-97 on her way to earning honorable mention all-conference honors. Sophomore 6-3 center Chelsea Mackey had a game-high 18 points in the season opener. Junior 6-0 forward Char-Pei Chen had 11 points and a game-high 13 rebounds.
UC Irvine Head Coach Mark Adams... became the fifth head coach in school history this season after serving as an assistant coach with the Anteaters for three years. Prior to UCI, Adams was an assistant women's basketball coach at Baylor (1993-94). He was the head women's basketball coach at Hardin-Simmons University from 1989-93. His teams went 46-29 and made two NAIA playoff appearances.
The Series: Utah and UC Irvine meet for the second time on Friday. The Utes won the first meeting, 66-58, on Dec. 13, 1996 in Irvine, Calif. Utah came back from a 12-point first-half deficit to defeat UC Irvine in the first game of the UCI/Marriott Classic. The Utes cut a 30-18 deficit to six points (34-28) in the final 3:35 of the first half.
In the second period, Utah went on an 18-5 run from the 15:33 to the 7:21 mark, and built the lead to 11 points on two occasions. Alli Bills, who had missed the previous three games with a minor knee injury, scored 14 points. Tiana Fuertes scored seven points off the bench in 13 minutes.
Utah Vs. Bradley Preview
Scouting The Braves: Bradley is 2-0, opening the season with a 78-62 win over Western Michigan at home on Nov. 16 and defeating Western Illinois, 85-65, on the road last Saturday. Bradley hosts Xavier on Tuesday and plays at Weber State on Friday before facing Utah. Three starters and eight letterwinners return from last year's team that went 16-12 overall and tied for fourth in the Missouri Valley Conference with a 9-9 record.
Through the first two games, 5-11 senior forward Jackie Parker leads Bradley in scoring (17.0 ppg) and rebounding (7.5 rpg). Junior 6-0 guard/forward Heather Best is averaging 15.0 points, 7.5 assists, 6.0 boards and 1.5 blocks. Senior 5-7 guard Dana Anderson is averaging 16.5 points per game.
Bradley Head Coach Donna Freitag... is in her second year with the Braves. Freitag posted a 16-12 record in her first season as head coach at BU after spending two seasons there as an assistant coach. She was also an assistant coach at Wisconsin for eight years.
The Series: Utah and Bradley meet for the first time on Saturday.
Utes Start Off Season With A Flourish Of Success
Last Week: Alli Bills scored a game-high 14 points and dished out seven assists to lead Utah to a 69-48 opening-night win over cross-state rival Weber State at the Dee Events Center in Ogden, Utah. Sophomore center Kristi Rose scored 13 points and pulled down seven boards in 35 minutes of play in her first collegiate start.
Julie Krommenhoek scored all of her 11 points in the second half. Laura Ross Allen had 10 points on 4-for-6 shooting in 17 minutes off the bench. Angie Thill had a game-high 12 rebounds. Utah outshot Weber State 46.4 to 33.3 percent from the floor. The Utes made 15 of 21 free throws. The Wildcats made just one of two attempts at the line. Weber State committed 23 turnovers to Utah's 11.
Utah jumped out to 12-4 lead on a 14-footer by Rose at the 11:46 mark in the first half, and then went on an 8-0 run to pull away for good, 20-4, on a Bills 15-foot jumper from the right side of the lane at the 7:47 mark. The Utes' largest lead of 30 points (50-20) came with 12:57 remaining on two free throws by Tiana Fuertes.
Head Coach Elaine Elliott... is the winningest coach in Utah women's basketball history. Elliott, now in 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 has 282-127 career record and a 138-38 mark in conference games.
Her number of career wins and winning percentage (.690) 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 win over Weber State - " I was very pleased with our offensive execution. This is probably the best offensive team I've had this early in the year. As with any opening game, I'm going to look at the film and see some things that we still need to work on. We didn't board very well at times, but that is the area where our losses from last year (three starters in the front court) really hurt us. I was very pleased with the efforts of Alli Bills and Kristi Rose.
On playing UC Irvine and Bradley - "It will be nice to have a couple of home games this week before we hit the road for a while. Hopefully we can get the community out to these games and get them interested in what we're doing. I'm excited about that. UC Irvine had some nice young players last year and gave us a really good game at their place. They have all five starters back, so we'll have to be prepared to play them. We've never seen Bradley before, but they are off to a good start."
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. With 1,553 points, Krommenhoek ranks fourth in career scoring at Utah and needs 522 points this season to take over the career scoring mark. She also ranks fifth in the WAC in career scoring, needing 296 points to claim the top spot.
Krommenhoek already tops the Utah and WAC career charts for three-point field goals made (256) and attempted (597), 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 in 1996-97, recording a school record 213 on the season. Her current career total is 407 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 is in fourth place in career assists at the U., needing just 34 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 117 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.
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 State was 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).
Hawaii was chosen 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.
WAC's Top Team: Utah, in its 24th season, is the most successful program in the history of the Western Athletic Conference. The U.'s 468-191 (.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.
Utah In The Ncaa Rankings 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.