Lana Sitterud and the Utes defeated BYU 68-58 Thursday night at the Huntsman Center. It was Sitterud's final home appearance for Utah.
Feb. 24, 2005
SALT LAKE CITY -- Senior night was bittersweet for the University of Utah women's basketball team. The Utes defeated arch-rival BYU 68-58 and reached the 20-win plateau. But Lana Sitterud, the lone Utah senior, had to say farewell to the Huntsman Center and the home fans, as she made her final home appearance in a Ute uniform.
After falling behind 3-0, Sitterud got Utah (20-6, 9-2) started with a three-pointer to tie things up at 3-3. The contest was tight for much of the remainder of the first half. Utah led by one, 17-16, with 8:19 remaining in the first half. The Utes then put together a 9-0 run, capped by a Shona Thorburn three-pointer. That outburst put Utah on top 26-16 with 4:13 left until the intermission.
BYU (16-9, 7-5) pulled back within six by halftime, 30-24. Utah did not record a field goal over the final 2:55 of the first half. It looked as though the Cougars maintained their momentum throughout the break as Julie Sullivan hit a three-pointer to open the second half, pulling BYU within three, 30-27.
But that was as close as they would get. The Utes missed their first two field-goal attempts of the second half, but then ripped off eight consecutive field goals to put together a 21-6 run. Utah did not miss a field-goal attempt over the course of a span of 7:07. Over that seven-minute stretch, Thorburn hit three of the Utes' eight shots and scored eight of her game-high 24 points.
Behind the strength of that 21-6 outburst, Utah pushed its lead to 18 points. But BYU wasn't finished. The Cougars clawed back into the contest. A Mallary Gillespie three-pointer with 4:29 remaining pulled BYU within 10 points, 60-50. Less than 30 seconds later, Sullivan hit a trey for the Cougars to get them within seven, 60-53.
Utah still led by seven with less than two minutes remaining, forcing BYU to foul. Thorburn and Smith combined to hit six-of-six at the free-throw line to close out the 10-point Utah victory.
Utah reached 20 wins for the 16th time in head coach Elaine Elliott's 22-year tenure on the bench. The Utes are back in action Saturday night at Colorado State. Tipoff from Moby Arena in Fort Collins is set for 2 p.m.