Game #21(No. 18) Utah Utes
vs. Wyoming CowgirlsFeb. 12
* 7:00 p.m.
* Salt Lake City
* Jon M. Huntsman Center
Game #22(No. 18) Utah Utes
vs. Colorado State Rams
Feb. 14 * 3:00 p.m.
* Salt Lake City
* Jon M. Huntsman Center
GAME DATA: Utah (17-3, 7-3 WAC), ranked No. 18 in the USA Today/ESPN poll and No. 20 by A.P., plays it final two regular-season home games against Western Athletic Conference Mountain Division rivals this week. The Utes host the Wyoming Cowgirls (8-13, 4-7 WAC) on Thursday at 7:00 and the Colorado State Rams (19-3, 9-2 WAC) on Saturday at 3:00 p.m. in the Jon M. Huntsman Center (15,000).
ON RADIO: KALL-910 AM, the flagship station of the Utah Sports Network, will broadcast both games with KALL Sports Director Brad Stone (play-by-play) and Reggie Wright-Jewkes (color) providing the talent. The Wyoming game will be broadcast tape-delayed at 10:30 p.m. following the Utah men's game on Thursday. The Colorado State game will be broadcast live, beginning with the pre-game show at 2:45 p.m. Both broadcasts will conclude with The Elaine Elliott Postgame Show.Utah Probable Line-Up:
Pos. No. Name Ht. Yr. Hometown Statistics G 10 Alli Bills 5-7 Sr. Sandy, Utah 11.3 ppg, 6.0 rpg, 8.0 apg G 33 Julie Krommenhoek 5-9 Sr. American Fork, Utah 19.9 ppg, 3.3 rpg 2.7apg C 44 Kristi Rose 6-4 So. Palmdale, Calif. 8.5 ppg, 6.1 rpg, 2.0 bpg F 11 Amy Alcorn 5-8 Sr. Oregon City, Ore. 3.9 ppg, 1.3 rpg F 42 Angie Thill 6-0 Sr. Belt, Mont. 14.1 ppg, 7.8 rpgOffThe 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 3.0 ppg, 1.6 rpg F 21 Kristina Andersen 6-1 Fr. Eugene, Ore. 2.3 ppg, 2.1 rpg G 22 Tiana Fuertes 5-3 So. Honolulu, Hawaii 1.9 ppg, 1.2 apg F/G 24 Amy Ewert 6-0 Fr. Vancouver, B.C. 2.8 ppg, 2.6 rpg G 25 ReShawnda Richardson 5-7 So. Long Beach, Calif. 1.4 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. 4.2 ppg, 3.9 rpgWYOMING
Probable Starters G - 14 Taran Stapp 5-8 So. Newell, S.D. 6.3 ppg, 2.9 apg G - 23 Courney Stapp 5-7 Sr. Newell, S.D. 17.1 ppg, 3.1 apg C - 34 Rebeca Tomlin 6-2 Jr. Las Animas, Colo. 12.4 ppg, 7.7 rpg F - 20 Regan Dulaney 5-10 Jr. Tucson, Ariz. 7.7 ppg, 5.1 rpg F - 54 Lisa Glasser 5-10 Fr. Bismark, N.D. 4.1 ppg, 5.7 rpg
A QUICK LOOK AT UTAH: The Utes are 17-3 overall and in third place in the Western Athletic Conference Mountain Division with a 7-3 record--a game and a half back of first-place Colorado State. Last week, Utah suffered a 70-64 loss at Brigham Young on Wednesday and ended a three-game losing streak with a 74-66 win over Rice at home last Saturday. It was the first time Utah had lost three-consecutive games since Dec. 19-22, 1994.
The U. had not lost three-straight WAC games since Feb. 26 through Mar. 6, 1993. Senior guard and All-America candidate Julie Krommenhoek leads the Utes in scoring with an average of 19.9 points per game. Krommenhoek is also averaging a team-best 3.6 three-pointers per game and is shooting 42.0 percent from three-point range. Senior point guard and postseason honors candidate Alli Bills leads the team in assists (8.0) and is third in scoring (11.3 ppg). Senior forward Angie Thill is the team leader in rebounding (7.8) and is second in scoring (14.1 ppg).
Sophomore center Kristi Rose is fourth on the roster in scoring (8.5 ppg), second in rebounds (6.1) and first in blocked shots (2.0). Utah is outscoring the opposition 69.3 to 56.3 points per game and has a 37.1 to 34.0 advantage in rebounding. The Utes are shooting 45.3 percent from the field, 38.1 percent from three-point range and 73.7 percent from the free throw line. IN THE POLLS: After splitting two games last week, Utah dropped in both polls but remained ranked in the top 20.
The Utes (17-3) are ranked No. 18 in USA Today/ESPN with 431 points, falling from 14th last week. Utah is also ranked No. 20 in the A.P. poll with 223 points, descending from 17th. 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 No. 9 in the USA Today/ESPN poll on Jan. 26. 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 20-1 following wins over BYU and Rice last week and ranked No. 5 in both this week's USA Today/ESPN and A.P. polls.
BEST CLASS EVER PLAYS IT FINAL HOME GAME: Saturday' game with Colorado State will be the final home game for this year's senior class of Amy Alcorn, Laura Ross Allen, Alli Bills, Julie Krommenhoek and Angie Thill. The quintet could leave the U. as the best class ever if the Utes maintain their current .818 winning percentage and surpass the 23-win plateau. Only three times before has a class been a part of four 20-win seasons. However, none can lay claim to an average of 23 wins a season and a .767 winning percentage--that is the pace this group established in its first three seasons together. This year's senior class is also hoping to lead Utah to its fourth-consecutive NCAA Tournament berth, a streak that would stand alone in the Utah and WAC annals.
COMING UP: The Utes play their final three regular-season games on the road. Next week, Utah plays at UNLV on Thursday (Feb. 19) at 7:00 p.m. (PST) and at Air Force on Saturday (Feb. 21) at 2:00 p.m. Utah concludes the regular season at Rice on Feb. 26 at 7:00 p.m. (CST).sUTAH VS. WYOMING PREVIEW
SCOUTING THE COWGIRLS: Wyoming is 8-13 overall and in sixth place in the Western Athletic Conference Mountain Division with a 4-7 record after losing to New Mexico, 60-46, and defeating UTEP, 76-70, last week at home. Senior Courtney Stapp ranks seventh in the WAC in scoring (17.1 ppg), 15th in field goal percentage (.402), 10th in three-point field goal percentage (.347), eighth in three-pointers per game (2.0), eighth in free throw percentage and 20th in assists. Junior Rebecca Tomlin is 20th in the league in scoring (12.4 ppg) and 11th in rebounds (7.7). As a team, the Cowgirls rank ninth in the WAC in scoring (65.8), eighth in scoring defense (67.3) and sixth in rebounding (39.1).
WYOMING HEAD COACH CHAD LAVIN... has a 173-158 record in his 12th year at Wyoming and a 255-190 mark in 16 seasons as a collegiate head coach. Honored as the conference Coach of the Year in 1987 and 1990, Lavin is the winningest coach in school history.
THE SERIES: Utah and Wyoming meet for the 45th time on Thursday night with the Utes leading the all-time series, 38-6. Utah has won 19 of the 20 games played in Salt Lake City and has taken the last 15 games in the series. In the first meeting this season, the Utes defeated the Cowgirls, 74-63, on Jan. 15 in Laramie, Wyo.
LAST MEETING: Alli Bills equalled a career-high with 23 points as Utah shook off a pesky Wyoming team on the road, 74-63, on Jan. 15 in Laramie, Wyo. Bills went 6-of-11 from the floor, 2-of-5 from three-point range and 9-of-11 from the free throw line in 36 minutes. She also had six assists, four steals and four assists. Julie Krommenhoek bounced back from a 2-for-11 first half to score 12 points in the second half and finish with 18 for the game.
Krommenhoek also pulled down seven boards. Angie Thill had 15 points and four rebounds. Utah was outshot, 43.4 to 40.0 percent, and outrebounded, 39 to 34; however, Utah got 11 steals and scored 22 points off of 21 Wyoming turnovers. Utah led 34-26 at halftime and opened the second half with a 7-2 run in the first three and a half minutes. The Utes' lead grew to 19 points (55-36) with 10:36 to play. Rebecca Tomlin led Wyoming with a game-high 24 points and nine rebounds. Courtney Stapp had 19 points.sUTAH VS. COLORADO STATE PREVIEW
SCOUTING THE RAMS: Colorado State enters Thursday night's game at Brigham Young in first place in the Western Athletic Conference Mountain Division with a 19-3 overall record and a 9-2 mark in conference action. Junior Becky Hammon ranks ninth in the nation and leads the league in scoring with an average of 22.9 points per game. She is also 13th in the NCAA in free throw percentage (87.6) and sixth in steals (3.7), and ranks second in the WAC with 5.9 assists per game.
Junior Katie Cronin ranks 45th in the nation in scoring (19.4 ppg). Cronin is also fifth in the WAC in three-point percentage (.406), eighth in rebounds (7.9), ninth in field goal percentage (.500) and 12th in free throw percentage (.741). As a team, CSU ranks sixth in the nation in scoring offense and 14th in scoring margin, outscoring the opposition 83.8 to 66.7 points per game. The Rams are also third in the NCAA in three-pointers per game (7.2).
COLORADO STATE HEAD COACH TOM COLLEN... took a 19-3 record in his first season as the Rams' head coach into Thursday night's game at Brigham Young. Collen went to CSU from Arkansas, where he was an assistant coach for two years and an assistant head coach for his last two seasons with the Lady 'Backs. He also worked as an assistant coach at Utah, Purdue and Miami-Ohio.
THE SERIES: Utah and Colorado State meet for the 47th time on Saturday. The Utes lead the all-time series, 39-7, and have won 20 of the 21 games played on their home court. After the U. won 24-consecutive games from 1983-94, the Rams have taken four of the last nine contests. Utah won the first meeting this year, 69-68, on Jan. 18 in Fort Collins, Colo.
LAST MEETING: Julie Krommenhoek scored 16 points and Kristi Rose added 13, including the game-winning layup with 11 seconds left, as Utah held off Colorado State, 69-68, on Jan. 18 at Moby Arena in Fort Collins, Colo. Rose's basket halted a 12-1 run that saw Colorado State erase a 10-point deficit with 4:30 left and take a 68-67 lead on Sara Farmer's driving lay-up with 23 seconds to play. It was the Rams' first lead since they were ahead 4-3 three minutes into the game.
The Utes shot 49 percent (27-of-55) from the floor and made 8-of-15 three-pointers as they held off Colorado State. Amy Alcorn scored 14 points and Angie Thill added 11 points and 11 rebounds for the Utes, who shot 54 percent in the first half en route to a 33-25 edge at the break. Alli Bills contributed nine points and nine assists. Becky Hammon led all scorers with 17 points and Heather Haanen added 16 points off the bench for the Rams, who shot 37.5 percent overall and went a dismal 4-of-24 from three-point range. Hammon was 0-of-7 from behind the arc.
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 open 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 school record was set 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 nine of its home games this season and 11 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 39 of their last 40 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 #19 RECAP: Kari Gallup scored 16 points, including four crucial free throws in the last 45 seconds, to lift Brigham Young to a 70-64 win against No. 17 Utah last Wednesday night at the Marriott Center in Provo, Utah. Julie Krommenhoek scored 16 of her 20 points in the second half to lead Utah. BYU led 58-45 with 7:19 left before Utah made a run. Angie Thill's three-point play brought the Utes within 65-61 with 53 seconds remaining. Gallup then made four straight free throws, around a three-pointer by Utah's Alli Bills, to give BYU a 69-64 advantage. Angela Burgess and Lori Henry each had 12 points for BYU, which shot 57 percent in the second half.
Thill finished with 19 points and 14 rebounds for Utah and Bills added 12 points. The loss was Utah's third in three games after starting the season 16-0. GAME #20 RECAP: Angie Thill scored 12 of her 18 points in the final six minutes as 17th-ranked Utah beat Rice, 74-66, and broke a three-game losing streak last Saturday. Kristi Rose scored 15 and Julie Krommenhoek added 13 for the Utes, who made 14-of-17 free throws down the stretch. Kirra Jordan had a career-high 28 points for the Owls, who had won four in a row. Utah, which had battled cold shooting in its three previous games, shot 50 percent (23-of-46) against the Owls and had a 37 to 24 edge on the boards.
Utah trailed 23-9 with eight minutes remaining in the first half before outscoring the Owls 21-6 to end the first 20 minutes of play. With Utah trailing 45-43 early in the second half, Krommenhoek hit a three-pointer to spark a 13-2 run that put the Utes ahead for good. Later, a 10-2 run, capped by Thill's two foul shots, made it 60-49 with 4:15 remaining.
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 298-130 career record and a 145-39 mark in conference games entering this weekend. Her number of career wins and winning percentage (.696) 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 the BYU game - "I'd take the team that played the last 15 minutes of that game and go anywhere and play anyone with them. But, I wouldn't take the team that played the first 25 minutes of the game. Sure, our shots weren't falling, but we also had some other things we need to take care of. We finally got after it and hustled the last 15 minutes of the game. I thought Angie Thill and Lindsay Sodja played hard down the stretch."
On the Rice game - "We needed better play and got it. I think it took us getting upset with ourselves--in a good way--to get our focus back. We started slow, but I was much happier with the effort. We stuck our big kids down on the block and I thought that Kristi (Rose) played with strength and authority."
On the three-game losing streak - "I think we might have gotten too caught up in being undefeated and being ranked high, and didn't focus on playing each game and preparing the way we had been earlier in the season. Now we've been forced to put the focus back on ourselves where it belongs. We need to start playing much harder the rest of the way to be successful. As far as what we want now, every win is important in getting us into the NCAAs. We have to take care of every game."
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 with 1,940 points. She needs 136 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 (335) and attempted (778), 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 (245) and ranks third 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 559 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 three of the top four 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. This year, Bills has already posted 159 assists, the fourth-highest single-season total in the Utah record books.
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 20 games, Krommenhoek has already had nine 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 19.9 points per game to rank 28th in the NCAA rankings released on Jan. 27. She is also averaging 3.6 three-pointers per game to rank second in the nation. Krommenhoek is shooting 42.0 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 8.0 assists over 20 games and is ranked second in the NCAA. She has posted four double-doubles, most recently getting 12 points and 10 rebounds against Brigham Young on Feb. 4. She also posted 11 points and 10 assists against then-No. 24 Arkansas on Dec. 21. Bills has scored in double figures in 13 of the 20 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 15th in the WAC in scoring (14.1 ppg) and ninth in rebounding (7.8 rpg). Thill has posted four double-doubles this year, most recently getting a career-high 14 rebounds to go along with 19 points (7-for-14 FG) against Brigham Young on Feb. 4.
She has scored in double figures in 14 of the 18 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 five times. In addition to her career-best 16 against BYU, Thill hauled in 12 boards against both Weber State on Nov. 21 and Bradley on Nov. 29.
Scoring Julie Krommenhoek 28th (20.3) Assists Alli Bills 2nd (8.3) 3-Point Field Goals Julie Krommenhoek 2nd (3.7) Blocked Shots Kristi Rose 16th (2.1)
Scoring Defense 5th (55.1) Scoring Margin 23rd (14.4) Free Throw Percentage 23rd (72.6) 3-Point FG Percentage 9th (38.8) 3-Point FG Per Game 15th (6.3)
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)
Scoring Julie Krommenhoek 2nd (19.9) Angie Thill 15th (14.1) Field Goal Percentage Angie Thill 4th (54.2) Julie Krommenhoek 12th (43.9) 3-Point Percentage Julie Krommenhoek 4th (42.0) Free Throw Percentage Alli Bills 4th (79.4) Angie Thill 11th (74.6) Rebounds Angie Thill 9th (7.8) Kristi Rose 19th (6.1) Assists Alli Bills 1st (8.0) Blocked Shots Kristi Rose 1st (2.0) Steals Julie Krommenhoek 8th (3.0) Alli Bills 11th (2.6) 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 484-194 (.714) overall record, 83-25 (.769) 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.STANDINGS
Mountain Division WAC Pct. Overall Pct.1. Colorado State 9-2 .818 19-3 .8642. New Mexico 8-3 .727 18-5 .7833. Utah 7-3 .700 17-3 .8184. UTEP 7-4 .636 12-9 .5715. Brigham Young 4-6 .400 10-11 .4766. Wyoming 4-7 .364 8-13 .381 UNLV 3-7 .300 4-18 .1898. Air Force 0-10.000 5-16 .238 Pacific Division WAC Pct. Overall Pct.1. Hawai'i 10-0 1.00 20-1 .9522. SMU 9-2 .818 17-5 .7733. Rice 7-3 .700 14-7 .6674. Tulsa 4-7 .400 8-13 .381 TCU 4-7 .364 13-9 .5916. Fresno State 4-6 .400 9-13 .4097. San Diego State 3-7 .300 8-12 .4008. San Jose State 1-10 .091 5-18 .217s