Utah head women's basketball coach Elaine Elliott picked up her 450th victory Saturday against Wyoming.
Jan. 15, 2005
SALT LAKE CITY -- University of Utah head women's basketball coach Elaine Elliott became just the 36th NCAA Division I coach to reach the milestone of 450 victories Saturday afternoon at the Huntsman Center. Behind junior guard Shona Thorburn's season-high 27-point effort, Elliott's Utes defeated Wyoming 67-49 in Mountain West Conference play.
With the victory, Elliott also became just the 26th active coach to reach the 450-win mark. As has been the hallmark of many of Elliott's victories, Utah's defense was the key. The Utes held their fifth straight opponent to 50 points or less and forced 17 turnovers. Utah (13-4, 2-0 MWC) outscored Wyoming (10-5, 1-1) by 15 points, 26-11, in points off turnovers.
Utah (13-4, 2-0 MWC) disarmed the Cowgirls' big guns, as well. Wyoming's Ashley Elliott entered the game as the MWC's leading scorer, averaging 17.4 points per game, while Hanna Zavecz was coming off a 32-point effort against BYU Thursday. Elliott managed just 11 points, while Zavecz tallied just 13.
Meanwhile, the Utes got strong performances from their stars. Junior guard Shona Thorburn scored a season-high 27 points. Junior forward Kim Smith tallied her second consecutive double-double, with 18 points and 10 rebounds.
Thorburn broke open a close game in the opening minutes of the second half, leading Utah to the victory. The Utes led 39-33 with 15 minutes remaining in the game, when Thorburn hit a three-pointer and followed up with two consecutive traditional three-point plays. Thorburn's nine straight points sparked an 11-0 Utah run, giving the Utes a 17-point lead midway through the second half.
Utah pushed its lead to as many as 23 points with just more than five minutes remaining on a Smith bucket. The Utes cruised from there, rolling to the 18-point victory.
Utah took a nine-point lead, 21-12, when Thorburn hit a jumper with just more than eight minutes remaining in the first half. Wyoming pulled back within three points on two occasions before halftime, but the Utes led 30-24 at the intermission.
Thorburn and Smith were the only double-figure scorers for Utah, while senior guard Lana Sitterud tallied eight points. Erin Hicks led Wyoming with 16 points, to go along with the double-figure outputs of Zavecz and Elliott.