Lana Sitterud, who hit three three-pointers herself, celebrates one of Utah's 10 treys against Air Force.
March 9, 2005
DENVER, Colo. -- The University of Utah women's basketball team hit all four of its three-point attempts in the first six minutes of Wednesday's Mountain West Conference Championship tournament game against Air Force. From there, Utah simply cruised to a 63-42 victory over the Falcons.
Utah (24-6) will advance to face the winner of Wednesday's last quarterfinal game between No. 6-seeded Colorado State and No. 3-seeded BYU.
Air Force (7-21) led once. The Falcons took a 1-0 lead when Lauren Henderson hit a free throw 31 seconds into the game. The Air Force lead lasted exactly 32 seconds until Utah junior Kim Smith hit the first of those four three-pointers. By the time Smith had hit her second trey of the game, freshman Jessica Perry and sophomore Camie Allen had also converted from long range. Add in a traditional three-point play from Allen and Utah led 15-3.
After each team traded a bucket, Letricia Castillo hit a three-pointer for Air Force and Pamela Findlay scored on a jumper. The 5-0 spurt for the Falcons pulled them back with in seven points, 17-10. But a three-pointer from Utah senior Lana Sitterud stopped Air Force's mini-run and put Utah back on top by double digits, 20-10. The Utes' advantage never dipped below 10 points again.
Another Sitterud three-pointer, late in the first half, put Utah on top by 15 at the intermission, 33-18. The Utes outscored Air Force 9-3 over the first four minutes of the second half, taking a 21-point lead. From there, Utah simply cruised to the 21-point victory. The Utes' advantage ballooned to as many as 24 points late in the contest.
Smith paced Utah with 19 points and nine rebounds, coming up one board short of a double-double. She hit 8-of-12 shots from the field, including 3-of-6 from three-point range. Junior guard Shona Thorburn was one assist shy of a double-double with 15 points and nine helpers. She also pulled down seven rebounds. Sitterud was also in double figures for the Utes, converting 3-of-5 from behind the three-point arc.