Go Utes!
Go Utes!

Feb. 3, 1998

Utah Set to Take on Rice

Game #20 (No. 14) 
Utah Utes 
vs. Rice OwlsFeb. 7 
* 3:00 p.m. 
* Salt Lake City 
* Jon M. Huntsman Center

Utah Probable Line-Up:

Pos.No. Name                Ht. Yr. Hometown            Statistics
G   10  Alli Bills          5-7 Sr. Sandy, Utah         11.2 ppg, 5.6 rpg, 8.3 apg
G   33  Julie Krommenhoek   5-9 Sr. American Fork, Utah 20.3 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 2.5 apg
C   44  Kristi Rose         6-4 So. Palmdale, Calif.    8.5 ppg, 6.3 rpg, 2.1 bpg
F   11  Amy Alcorn          5-8 Sr. Oregon City, Ore.   4.1 ppg, 1.4 rpg
F   42  Angie Thill         6-0 Sr. Belt, Mont.         13.5 ppg, 7.6 rpg 

Off The Bench:

Pos.No. Name                    Ht.     Yr. Hometown            Statistics
G   14  Rosie Shelley           5-9     Jr. American Fork, Utah 0.5 ppg, 1.5 rpg
F   15  Lindsay Sodja           6-1     Fr. Taylorsville, Utah  2.8 ppg, 1.2 rpg
F   21  Kristina Andersen       6-1     Fr. Eugene, Ore.        2.4 ppg, 2.0 rpg
G   22  Tiana Fuertes           5-3     So. Honolulu, Hawaii    1.8 ppg, 1.3 apg
F/G 24  Amy Ewert               6-0     Fr. Vancouver, B.C.     2.6 ppg, 2.6 rpg
G   25  ReShawnda Richardson    5-7     So. Long Beach, Calif.  1.6 ppg, 0.9 rpg
G   30  Janna Whitman           5-10    So. Magna, Utah         1.2 ppg. 0.3 rpg
F/C 35  Laura Ross Allen        6-2     Sr. Sparks, Nev.        4.6 ppg, 4.2 rpg

GAME DATA: Utah (16-2, 7-2 WAC), ranked No.14 in the USA Today/ESPN poll and No. 11 by A.P., plays two games in the state of Utah this week. The Utes play Western Athletic Conference Mountain Division rival Brigham Young (8-11, 3-6 WAC) on Wednesday at 7:05 p.m. at the Marriott Center (23,000) Provo, Utah. Utah opens its final home stand of the regular season against Rice (13-6, 6-3 WAC) in a non-WAC game on Saturday at 3:00 p.m. at the Jon M. Huntsman Center (15,000).

ON TELEVISION: KBYU-TV (Ch. 11) will televise the Utah vs. Brigham Young game live in Provo and the Salt Lake metro area. Holly Rowe (play-by-play) and Jay Monson (color) call the action.

ON RADIO: KALL-910 AM, the flagship station of the Utah Sports Network, will broadcast the Brigham Young game live, beginning with the pre-game show at 6:45 p.m. Mike Lageschulte (play-by-play) and Reggie Wright-Jewkes (color) call the action. KALL will also carry the Rice game tape delayed on Saturday at 7:00 p.m. with KALL Sports Director Brad Stone (play-by-play) and Wright-Jewkes (color) providing the talent. Both broadcasts will conclude with The Elaine Elliott Postgame Show.

A QUICK LOOK AT UTAH: The 16-2 Utes dropped their first two games of the season last week, falling to New Mexico, 76-59, and UTEP, 50-46, on the road. The two losses dropped Utah back into a four-way tie for first place in the Western Athletic Conference Mountain Division with Colorado State, New Mexico and UTEP at 7-2. Senior guard and All-America candidate Julie Krommenhoek leads the Utes in scoring with an average of 20.3 points per game. Krommenhoek is also averaging a team-best 3.6 three-pointers per game and is shooting 41.1 percent from three-point range.

Senior point guard and postseason honors candidate Alli Bills leads the team in assists (8.3) and is third in scoring (11.2 ppg). Senior forward Angie Thill is the team leader in rebounding (7.6) and is second in scoring (13.5 ppg). Sophomore center Kristi Rose is fourth in scoring (8.5 ppg), second in rebounds (6.3) and first in blocked shots (2.1). Utah is outscoring the opposition 69.4 to 54.9 points per game and has a 36.8 to 34.8 advantage in rebounding. The Utes are shooting 45.9 percent from the field, 38.8 percent from three-point range and 72.6 percent from the free throw line.

IN THE POLLS: Following its first two losses of the season last week, Utah dropped in both polls but remained ranked in the top 20. The Utes (16-2) are ranked No. 14 in USA Today/ESPN with 589 points, falling from a tie for ninth last week. Utah is also ranked No. 17 in the A.P. poll with 322 points, descending from 11th.

The Utes became the first team in school and Western Athletic Conference history ever to move into the top 10 in the national polls when they were tied for ninth in the USA Today/ESPN poll. The highest Utah had been ranked in any previous season was 27th by A.P. on Dec. 4, 1995. The highest any WAC team had previously climbed in the polls was San Diego State, which climbed to No. 21 in the A.P. poll during the 1994-95 season.

HOOPS U.: The University of Utah was the last NCAA Division I athletics program to have both an undefeated women's and men's basketball team. The Utah men's team is 18-1 following a loss at New Mexico on Sunday and ranked No. 5 in both this week's USA Today/ESPN and A.P. polls.

COMING UP: The Utes play their final two home games of the season next week. Utah hosts Wyoming on Thursday (Feb. 12) at 7:00 p.m. and Colorado State on Saturday (Feb. 14) at 3:00 p.m.s

UTAH VS. BRIGHAM YOUNG PREVIEW

SCOUTING THE COUGARS: Brigham Young is 8-11 overall and tied for fifth place in the Western Athletic Conference Mountain Division with an 3-6 record. Last weekend, BYU lost to UTEP, 66-63, and New Mexico, 75-63, on the road. Senior 5-10 guard Kari Gallup ranks 11th in the WAC in scoring (15.7 ppg) and sixth in both three-point percentage (39.5) and three-point field goals per game (2.4). Senior 5-10 forward Barbi Charmichael ranks 16th in the conference in scoring (13.6 ppg), ninth in field goal percentage (47.5) and 11th in assists (2.5). Amanda Covington is 16th in the WAC in assists (3.4). Lori Henry is the team's leading rebounder with an average of 5.4 per game. Brigham Young ranks seventh in the WAC in scoring offense (69.6 ppg) and 12th in scoring defense (68.3 ppg). The Cougars have a 36.6 to 35.8 edge on the boards and are shooting 43.9 percent from the field, 36.9 percent from three-point range and 64.8 percent from the free throw line.

COUGAR HEAD COACH TRENT SHIPPEN... has an 8-11 record in his first season as a Division I collegiate head coach. Shippen spent the past three years at Ricks College, where he compiled a 71-26 (.732) record and a fifth-place finish in the National Junior College Tournament in 1994-95. He graduated from Colorado State in 1990 after playing two seasons for the Rams.

SERIES NOTES: Utah leads the all-time series with Brigham Young, 42-20, and has a 13-11 record in games played in Provo, Utah. The Utes have won 10 consecutive games from BYU. In each of the past three seasons, the two teams met twice during the regular season and also in the quarterfinals of the Western Athletic Conference Tournament.

LAST MEETING: Julie Krommenhoek had a game-high 19 points and Kristi Rose contributed 10 points and nine rebounds as Utah defeated Brigham Young, 63-46, on Jan. 10 at the Jon M. Huntsman Center.

Krommenhoek shot 6-for-12 from the field and 5-for-8 from three-point range in 39 minutes. Alli Bills dished out a game-high 11 assists and had six points. Senior forward Angie Thill, in her first game back after sitting out two contests with a knee injury, had nine points and eight boards. Amy Ewert went 3-for-5 and scored nine points in 19 minutes off the bench. BYU had a balanced attack with Angela Burgess scoring nine points. Kari Gallup and April Hayes each had eight points. Utah outshot BYU 46.0 to 35.8 percent from the field for the game, cooling off from a 53.8 percent clip in the first half. The Utes also had the edge on the boards, 44 to 26. The Cougars doubled-up the Utes in steals, 16 to eight.

As par for the course this season, Utah opened the second half with a 7-0 run to turn a six-point halftime lead into a 41-28 advantage at the 16:21 mark. The Utah lead grew to as much as 21 points.s

UTAH VS. RICE PREVIEW

SCOUTING THE OWLS: Rice enters its game against Tulsa on Thursday night at 13-6 overall and in third place in the Western Athletic Conference Pacific Division with a 6-3 record. Last week, the Owls defeated TCU, 84-60, and SMU, 77-66. Sophomores Kirra Jordan and Marla Brumfield rank 20th in the WAC in scoring with an average of 12.2 points per game. Jordan is also 20th in rebounds (6.1) and 14th in free throw percentage (.732). Brumfield is 14th in steals (2.4). Junior Jennifer Hamilton is 14th in the WAC in rebounds (6.7) and eighth in blocked shots (1.1). Junior Charonda Wilson is first in the league in steals (3.8) and fifth in assists (4.7). Rice ranks fourth in the WAC in scoring (72.9) and third in scoring defense (59.4). The Owls have been outrebounded 38.5 to 38.2, and are shooting 41.9 percent from the field, 33.1 percent from three-point range and 68.6 percent from the free throw line.

RICE HEAD COACH CRISTY McKINNEY... is in her fifth season at Rice and her seventh year as a collegiate head coach. Entering this week, McKinney has 93-89 career record and 66-61 mark in her tenure with the Owls. She is a former assistant coach at Western Kentucky and helped lead the Lady Toppers to the 1992 Final Four.

SERIES NOTES: Utah and Rice meet for the third time on Saturday. Utah won the first two games in the series last season. The Utes defeated the Owls 71-64 in triple overtime on Jan. 23 in Houston and 68-57 on Feb. 22 at the Huntsman Center.

LAST MEETING: Utah claimed the 1997 Western Athletic Conference Mountain Division title all for itself with a 68-57 win over second-place Rice on Feb. 22. Trailing 23-19, Utah made six of its first eight shots to open the second half. The 16-4 run gave Utah a 36-27 lead with 13:54 remaining. Julie Krommenhoek had 12 points, connecting on 3-of-6 three-pointers. Angie Thill made 4-of-5 field goals to score 10 points in 16 minutes off the bench. Alli Bills had 10 assists and seven points. Jennifer Hamilton led Rice with 13 points. Kirra Jordan and Marla Brumfield each scored 10 pointss

RICE Probable Starters

G -     21  Charonda Wilson 5-4 Jr. Clear Lake, Texas       8.6 ppg, 4.7 apg
G -     25  Marla Brumfield 5-9 So. Houston, Texas          12.2 ppg, 5.5 rpg
F -     10  Gina Cafagna    5-9 Sr. Lewisville, Texas       11.4 ppg, 4.6 rpg
F -     33  Kirra Jordan    6-0 So. Missouri City, Texas    12.2 ppg, 6.1 rpg
C -     42  Angelica Smith  6-0 Jr. Little Rock, Ark.       8.8 ppg, 4.8 rpg

UTAH TEAM NOTES

RECORD-SETTING START TO SEASON: Utah, winning its first 16 games this season, posted the best start in school and Western Athletic Conference history. The Utes' previous all-time best start was 6-0 during the 1976-77 season. The all-time best start to a season by a WAC team was 9-0 by New Mexico last season.

UTES RECORD SECOND-LONGEST WINNING STREAK: With 16 consecutive wins to start the season, Utah posted the second-longest winning streak in school and conference history. The Utes' previous second-longest winning streak was 15 games from Dec. 29, 1980 through Feb. 21, 1981. Utah missed tying the longest winning streaks in the Utah and Western Athletic Conference record books of 18 consecutive wins by two games. The Utes set the school record during the 1976-77 season from Jan. 7 through Mar. 5. San Diego State established the conference mark in 1994-95.

HOME SWEET HOME: Utah has won all eight of its home games this season and 10 in a row dating back to last season. The Utes' last loss at the Jon M. Huntsman Center was on Feb. 8 to Colorado State, 79-68, in triple overtime. The Utes have won 38 of their last 39 home games since a loss to Western Athletic Conference rival San Diego State on Jan. 12, 1995.

FROM THE TRAINING ROOM: Sophomore forward Lori Red will sit out this season with a medical redshirt and return next season with three years of eligibility remaining.

GAME #17 RECAP: Utah suffered its first loss of the season in front of a rabid crowd of 4,516 at The Pit in Albuquerque, N.M., last Thursday night, falling to New Mexico, 76-59. The loss ended Utah's season-opening, 16-game win streak. Abby Garchek scored 23 points and New Mexico shot 67 percent in the second half. Guard Julie Krommenhoek led Utah with 19 points. Angie Thill scored 16 and 6-foot-4 center Kristi Rose had 14 points. New Mexico ended Utah's streak behind Abby Garchek's 23 points and 63-percent shooting in the second half.

Trailing 26-22 with four minutes left in the first half, New Mexico outscored the Utes 11-1 in the next two minutes. Garchek, who hit four three-pointers, began the rally with a shot from behind the arc and Sonya Bryant put the Lobos in front for good with another three-pointer. New Mexico led 37-32 at halftime. The Lobos, who hit 16-of-24 shots in the second half, outscored Utah 19-6 in the first eight minutes.

Utah was outshot 51.8 to 39.2 percent for the game and outrebounded 32 to 29. The Utes, one of the better three-point shooting teams in the country, made just 5-of-19 (26.3 percent) against UNM.

GAME #18 RECAP: The Utes dropped their second game of the season, falling to UTEP, 50-46, last Saturday at the Don Haskins Center in El Paso, Texas. It was the first time Utah had lost back-to-back games for the first time since Dec. 14 and 17, 1996. Cold shooting did in the Utes, who made just 15-of-51 field goals (29.4 percent) and 6-of-22 three-pointers (27.3 percent). Utah was also outrebounded 45-37, including a 19-11 deficit on the offensive boards. The Utes also committed 15 turnovers to UTEP's nine, giving up 11 steals.

Julie Krommenhoek scored all of her team-high 11 points in the second half. Angie Thill had nine points and nine rebounds. Kristi Rose posted nine points, seven rebounds and a season-high six blocked shots. Alli Bills had eight points, eight rebounds and four assists. Kanequa Chancellor led UTEP with 20 points and 13 rebounds. Utah trailed 19-17 at the half, and took the lead, 26-23 with 14:38 remaining in the game. Chancellor then scored 13 points in a 19-7 run that put the Miners ahead for good at 42-33 with 4:54 to go.

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., is on pace to record her 300th career victory this season. Elliott has 297-127 career record and a 145-38 mark in conference games entering this weekend. Her number of career wins and winning percentage (.700) 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).

QUOTING ELLIOTT: On Utah's losses to New Mexico and UTEP - "Our offense, for what ever reason, just left us those two games. When you're not a strong rebounding team and you don't shoot well, you're not going to be successful. New Mexico just played so well against us. In the game against UTEP, we never got in sync. Both of those teams really came after us." On this week - "BYU has been playing well lately and competing with everyone. They just haven't had enough to pull out the wins at the end of games. We just need to kind of get back in sync and get our offense back on track. All of the teams that we are tied with in the WAC (Mountain Division race) have to play each other, which goes in our favor. But, the point is that you have to play every game and you have to do what it takes to win games."

KROMMENHOEK WAC'S CAREER SCORING LEADER: Senior guard Julie Krommenhoek continues to solidify herself as one of the all-time best players in Utah and Western Athletic Conference history. Krommenhoek broke the WAC's all-time scoring record with 18 points against Air Force on Jan. 22 to eclipse the old top mark of 1,848 points set by Colorado State's Teresa James from 1992-96. Krommenhoek is also in second place in career scoring at Utah. She needs 169 more points to take over the top mark of 2,075 held by Deb Asper (1980-84).

Krommenhoek already tops the Utah and WAC career charts for three-point field goals made (329) and attempted (767), 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. The American Fork, Utah, native has also already set the all-time steals mark at Utah (238) and ranks fourth in the WAC.

BILLS BREAKS WAC AND SCHOOL CAREER ASSISTS MARKS: Senior point guard Alli Bills dished out nine assists against Colorado State on Jan. 18 to break the Western Athletic Conference's career assists record. Bills now has 549 career assists, breaking the old mark of 523 held by Colorado State's Dee Dee Dominguez (1992-96).

Bills is also Utah's all-time leader in assists, breaking the record in essentially two and a two-thirds seasons after missing the last 20 games of her sophomore year with a torn ACL. She took over first place from Karen Alcorn (1988-92), who had 440 career assists, when she dished out 10 against Kansas State on Dec. 6 in the championship game of the Commerce Bank Wildcat Classic.

The Sandy, Utah, native owns two of the top three single-season assists totals in school history. She dished out 160 assists, the third-most in the Utah record books, as a freshman in 1994-95. Bills ranked first in the nation with 7.6 assists per game in 1996-97, recording a school-record 213 on the season.

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, is once again one of the top players in the country in '97-98. Through the first 18 games, Krommenhoek has already had eight 20-point games.

She missed her career high by two with a season-best 33 points against No. 24 Arkansas on Dec. 21, going 11-for-19 from the field and 6-for-9 from three-point range. She also had 29 points against UTEP on Jan. 1 and at Idaho State on Dec. 9., and tossed in 25 against Wisconsin-Green Bay on Dec. 5. Krommenhoek has scored in double figures in every game, averaging 20.3 points per game to rank 19th in the NCAA rankings released on Jan. 27. She is also averaging 3.6 three-pointers per game to rank third in the nation. Krommenhoek is shooting 41.1 percent from behind the arc.

BILLS CONTENDING FOR POSTSEASON AWARDS: Alli Bills is having a solid final season to her Utah career. Bills has averaged 8.3 assists in the first 18 games and is ranked second in the NCAA. She has posted three double-doubles, most recently getting 11 points and 10 assists against then-No. 24 Arkansas on Dec. 21. She also posted 15 points and 11 assists against UC Irvine on Nov. 28 and 10 points and 10 assists, to go along with seven rebounds, against Kansas State on Dec. 6.

Bills has scored in double figures in 11 of the 18 contests. Her best offensive output of the year was 23 points to equal her career high against Wyoming on Jan. 15. Bills went 6-of-11 from the field, 2-of-5 from three-point range and 9-of-11 from the free throw line. She has had double-figure assists in five games and posted a season-high of 12 against Idaho on Dec. 29. She had 11 assists against Brigham Young on Jan. 10.

Bills, who was named to the Western Athletic Conference all-defensive team in 1996-97, posted 10 assists or more seven times last season. She had the first triple-double in school history against Colorado State on Feb. 26, with 13 points, a career-best 14 rebounds and 10 assists. She narrowly missed her second career triple-double against UTEP on Jan. 1 with 15 points, nine assists and nine rebounds.

THILL SAVES HER BEST FOR LAST: Senior forward Angie Thill, who had not started a single game since her freshman year prior to this season, has blossomed into one of the top power forwards in the Western Athletic Conference. The Belt, Mont., native ranks 18th in the WAC in scoring (13.5 ppg) and 12th in rebounding (7.6 rpg). Thill has posted three double-doubles this year, most recently getting 11 points and 11 boards against Colorado State on Jan. 18.

She has scored in double figures in 12 of the 16 games she has played in, missing the UTEP (Jan. 1) and New Mexico (Jan. 3) games to start the conference season with a dislocated knee cap. Thill has also scored over 20 points four times, including a career-high of 23 against both Air Force on Jan. 22 and UC Irvine on Nov. 28. She has had 10 rebounds or more four times, and hauled in a career-high 12 boards against both Weber State on Nov. 21 and Bradley on Nov. 29.

NCAA INDIVIDUAL STATISTICAL RANKINGS (Released Jan. 27):

Scoring 
Julie Krommenhoek   19th (20.9)
Assists  Alli Bills  2nd (8.8)
3-Point Field Goals    
Julie Krommenhoek   3rd (3.7)

NCAA TEAM STATISTICAL RANKINGS (Released Jan. 27):

Scoring Defense   3rd (53.9)
Scoring Margin    11th (17.6)
Field Goal Pct. Defense  12th (36.7)
3-Point FG Percentage    2nd (40.7)
3-Point FG Per Game   14th (6.4)

WAC TEAM STATISTICAL RANKINGS (Released Feb. 2):

>
Scoring 5th (69.4)  
Rebounds    13th (36.8)
Scoring Defense  2nd (54.9)  
Opponents' Rebounds 1st (34.3)
Scoring Margin    4th (14.4)  
Rebound Margin  6th (2.1)
Field Goal Percentage  3rd (45.9)  
Blocks  3rd (3.6)
Field Goal Pct. Defense    2nd (37.1)  
Steals  12th (8.7)
3-Point FG Percentage 2nd (38.8)  
Turnover Margin 6th (-2.2)
3-Point FG Per Game   3rd (6.3)   
Free Throw Percentage   2nd (72.6)  

WAC INDIVIDUAL STATISTICAL RANKINGS (Released Feb. 2):

Scoring  Julie Krommenhoek   2nd (20.3)  Angie Thill 18th (13.5)
Field Goal Percentage    Angie Thill 4th (54.2)  Julie Krommenhoek   13th (43.4)
3-Point Percentage   Julie Krommenhoek   4th (41.1)
Free Throw Percentage Angie Thill 12th (73.7)
Rebounds Angie Thill 11th (7.6)  Kristi Rose 17th (6.3)Assists   Alli Bills  1st (8.3)
Blocked Shots  Kristi Rose 2nd (2.1)
Steals Julie Krommenhoek   8th (2.9)   Alli Bills  12th (2.5)
3-Point Field Goals   Julie Krommenhoek   1st (3.6)   

UTES UPEND TWO NCAA TOURNAMENT TEAMS FROM A YEAR AGO: Utah's non-conference schedule was highlighted by two match-ups against NCAA Tournament teams from last year. Utah defeated Kansas State, 68-57, on Dec. 6 in the championship game of KSU's tournament. The Wildcats, members of the Big 12 Conference, were a 10th seed in the NCAA East Region last year with a 19-11 record. Utah also beat Montana, 65-52, on Dec. 13 in Missoula, Mont. The Lady Griz earned a ninth seed in the NCAA West Region last season with a 25-3 record.

UTES FIRST WIN OVER RANKED TEAM IN TWO YEARS: Utah's win over then-No. 24 Arkansas on Dec. 21 was its first victory over a nationally-ranked team since downing 14th ranked Western Kentucky, 83-77, on Nov. 27, 1995.

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).

Hawai'i 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 PROGRAM: Utah, in its 24th season, is the most successful program in the history of the Western Athletic Conference. The U.'s 483-193 (.716) overall record, 83-24 (.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.

FOUR RECRUITS SIGN EARLY WITH UTAH: The Utes signed one in-stater in 6-3 forward Erin Hansen from Mountain View High School in Orem, Utah. A preseason honorable mention All-American by Street & Smith's this year, Hansen was a second-team all-state selection in 1996-97, averaging 8.9 points, 7.9 rebounds and 3.4 blocked shots per game.

In addition to landing one of the top high school prospects in the state of Utah, the Utes have also signed the reigning Player of the Year from Nevada and Idaho. Lauren Beckman, a 6-2 forward/center from Elko, Nev., was named the 1997 Nevada Gatorade Player of the Year as a junior. A first-team all-state selection the past two years, Beckman averaged 20.3 points and 10.7 rpg in 1996-97. She is also a two-time academic all-state selection.

Utah also signed the 1997 Gatorade Player of the Year in Idaho, Lindsay Herbert. The 5-11 guard/forward from Lake City High School in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, averaged 14.8 points, 6.3 rebounds and 3.4 assists last season on her way to earning first-team all-state recognition for the second-consecutive year. She is a 1997 preseason honorable mention All-American by Street & Smith's. Utah signed its second Canadian in as many years in Erin Gibbons, a 5-9 guard from Salmon Arm Secondary school in British Columbia. Gibbons averaged 20.7 points, 4.2 rebounds and 10.4 assists per game as a junior. She was the MVP of the Western Canada Championship and a second-team all-star in 1997. Gibbons comes into the Utah program as a shooting guard, but will also likely play some at point guard.

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 ON TELEVISION: The Utes will make at least three appearances on television this season. Utah game with Colorado State on Jan. 18 was televised regionally on Fox Sports Net. The contest was 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 the Jon M. Huntsman Center was 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 7:05 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. All of the remaining 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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