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Utah Women Pick Up 20th Victory, Stop BYU 68-58

Lana Sitterud and the Utes defeated BYU 68-58 Thursday night at the Huntsman Center. It was Sitterud's final home appearance for Utah.

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

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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.

 

 

Thorburn scored 20 or more points for the third time in her last four games. It was the seventh time she has reached the 20-point plateau in 11 Mountain West Conference games. In addition to Thorburn's 24-point effort, Utah junior Kim Smith reached double figures for the 26th time in 26 games this season. She tallied 16 points. BYU was paced by Sullivan with 13 and Gillespie, who scored 12 points on four three-pointers.

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.

-UU-

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