Go Utes!
Go Utes!


 

Women's Basketball Prepares to Face Rice

Utes conclude regular season schedule

Feb. 24, 1998

Game #25
(No. 16) Utah Utes at Rice Owls
Feb. 26 * 6:00 p.m. (CST) * Autry Court * Houston, Texas

GAME DATA: Utah (21-3, 11-3 WAC), ranked No. 16 in the USA Today/ESPN poll and No. 18 by the Associated Press, concludes its regular-season schedule against Rice on Thursday at 6:00 p.m. (CST) at Autry Court (5,000) in Houston, Texas.

ON RADIO: KALL-910 AM, the flagship station of the Utah Sports Network, will broadcast the Rice game tape delayed at 10:00 p.m. following the Utah men's basketball game. Mike Lageschulte calls the action.

A QUICK LOOK AT UTAH: The Utes, 21-3 overall and 11-3 in league play, tied for first place in the Western Athletic Conference Mountain Division with Colorado State. Utah finished out its divisional schedule on the road last week, defeating UNLV, 74-58, and Air Force, 100-39. Senior guard and All-America candidate Julie Krommenhoek leads the Utes in scoring with an average of 20.4 points per game. Krommenhoek is also averaging a team-best 3.7 three-pointers per game and is shooting 43.3 percent from three-point range. Senior point guard and postseason honors candidate Alli Bills leads the team in assists (8.1) and is third in scoring (11.1 ppg). Senior forward Angie Thill is the team leader in rebounding (7.6) and is second in scoring (14.0 ppg). Sophomore center Kristi Rose is fourth on the roster in scoring (8.3 ppg), second in rebounds (5.9) and first in blocked shots (2.0). Utah is outscoring the opposition 71.0 to 55.7 points per game and has a 37.3 to 33.3 advantage in rebounding. The Utes are shooting 45.9 percent from the field, 38.8 percent from three-point range and 75.3 percent from the free throw line.

IN THE POLLS: After winning both of its games last week, Utah moved up in both of the major national polls released on Monday. The Utes (21-3) climbed to No. 16 in USA Today/ESPN poll with 530 points, moving up from 17th last week. Utah also ascended two spots to No. 18 in the A.P. poll, increasing its point total from 246 to 286.

The '97-98 Utes became the first team ever in school and Western Athletic Conference history 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 21st in the A.P. poll, accomplished by San Diego State during the 1994-95 season.

WHAT UTAH HAS ACCOMPLISHED: Entering its final week of the regular season, here's a breakdown of what Utah has already accomplished this season.

* WAC Mountain Division title: Utah and Colorado State tied for the Western Athletic Conference Mountain Division title with 11-3 records.

* No. 1 seed in the WAC Tournament: Since Utah swept the two-game season series from Colorado State, the Utes are the Mountain Division's No. 1 seed in the WAC Tournament.

* Fourth WAC championship of some form in as many seasons: Utah has won its second-consecutive WAC Mountain Division championship. The Utes also won the WAC Tournament in 1995 and the WAC regular-season championship in 1996.

* Fourth-consecutive 20-win season: Utah posted its 20th win of the season at UNLV on Feb. 19. The Utes went 23-7 in 1994-95, 21-8 in 1995-96 and 25-6 in 1996-97. This is the 10th 20-win season of the Elaine Elliott era and 16th in school history.

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, and is one of only seven institutions to have both teams ranked in the top 25. The Utah men's team is 23-2 following wins over Air Force and UNLV, and ranked No. 5 in this week's USA Today/ESPN poll and No. 6 by and A.P.

KROMMENHOEK NAMED WAC PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Senior 5-9 guard Julie Krommenhoek was named the Western Athletic Conference Mountain Division Player of the Week on Monday. Last week in wins over UNLV and Air Force, Krommenhoek averaged 22.5 points, 3.0 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 1.5 steals per game. She also shot 18-of-31 (.581) from the field, 13-of-33 (.394) from three-point range. and 2-of-2 from the free throw line. Against Air Force, Krommenhoek scored 33 points in 22 minutes, tying a season high. She also made nine three-pointers (in 12 attempts) to break the WAC and Utah single-game records.

BEST UTAH CLASS EVER CLOSING OUT RUN: Seniors Amy Alcorn, Laura Ross Allen, Alli Bills, Julie Krommenhoek and Angie Thill are heading down the home stretch of their careers at Utah. The quintet, which has helped Utah post a 90-24 (.789) record in its four seasons together, could leave the U. as the best class ever if the Utes reach the 23-win plateau this season. 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, a streak that would stand alone in the Utah and WAC annals.

TRAVEL ITINERARY: Flight Plans: Feb. 25 - Depart Salt Lake City at 10:25 a.m. (Delta #1450) and arrive in Houston at 2:10 p.m. Feb. 27 - Depart Houston at 8:10 a.m. (Delta #1647) and arrive in Salt Lake City at 10:19 a.m. Accommodations: Marriott Hotel/Medical Center (713-796-0080).

    Utah Probable Line-Up:
Pos.    No. Name            Ht. Yr. Hometown                Statistics
G   10  Alli Bills          5-7 Sr. Sandy, Utah             11.1 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 8.1 apg
G   33  Julie Krommenhoek   5-9 Sr. American Fork, Utah     20.4 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 2.5 apg
C   44  Kristi Rose         6-4 So. Palmdale, Calif.        8.3 ppg, 5.9 rpg, 2.0 bpg
F   11  Amy Alcorn          5-8 Sr. Oregon City, Ore.       3.8 ppg, 1.3 rpg
F   42  Angie Thill         6-0 Sr. Belt, Mont.             14.0 ppg, 7.6 rpg
Off The Bench:
Pos.    No. Name                Ht. Yr. Hometown            Statistics
G   14  Rosie Shelley           5-9 Jr. American Fork, Utah 1.7 ppg, 1.7 rpg
F   15  Lindsay Sodja           6-1 Fr. Taylorsville, Utah  5.1 ppg, 2.9 rpg
F   21  Kristina Andersen       6-1 Fr. Eugene, Ore.        2.1 ppg, 2.0 rpg
G   22  Tiana Fuertes           5-3 So. Honolulu, Hawaii    1.7 ppg, 1.4 apg
F/G 24  Amy Ewert               6-0 Fr. Vancouver, B.C.     2.8 ppg, 2.5 rpg
G   25  ReShawnda Richardson    5-7 So. Long Beach, Calif.  1.1 ppg, 0.8 rpg
G   30  Janna Whitman           5-10So. Magna, Utah         1.1 ppg. 0.3 rpg
F/C 35  Laura Ross Allen        6-2 Sr. Sparks, Nev.        4.0 ppg, 3.7 rpg

COMING UP: The Utes compete in the Quest Western Athletic Conference Tournament, Mar. 2-7 at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas, Nev. Utah receives a bye in the first round and opens tournament play against either Fresno State or Brigham Young on March 4 at 8:30 p.m. (PST).

UTAH VS. RICE PREVIEW

SCOUTING THE OWLS: Rice is 18-7 overall and tied SMU for second place in the Western Athletic Conference Pacific Division with an 11-3 mark. The Owls have earned the Pacific Division's No. 2 seed in the upcoming WAC Tournament. Rice posted perhaps its biggest win in the history of the program on Sunday, defeating No. 15 Hawai'i, 76-71, at Autry Court. Sophomore 5-9 guard Marla Brumfield led the way, posting a career high 33 points. Also last week, Brumfield scored 22 points to lead Rice to a 66-61 win over San Diego State on Thursday. Sophomore Kirra Jordan ranks 14th in the WAC in scoring (13.5 ppg), seventh in field goal percentage (51.3), 13th in free throw percentage (74.7), 10th in blocked shots (0.9) and 15th in rebounds (6.4) Brumfield is 19th in the conference in scoring (12.8 ppg) and 11th in steals (2.6). Junior 6-3 center Jennifer Hamilton is 16th in the WAC in rebounds (6.3). Junior point guard Charonda Wilson ranks sixth in the conference in assists (4.6) and fifth in steals (3.4).

RICE HEAD COACH CRISTY McKINNEY... is in her fifth season at Rice and her seventh year as a collegiate head coach. Entering this week, McKinney has 98-90 career record and 71-62 mark in her tenure with the Owls. She is a former assistant coach at Western Kentucky and helped lead the Lady Toppers to the 1992 Final Four.

SERIES NOTES: Utah and Rice meet for the fourth time on Thursday. Utah won the first three games of the series, including a 74-66 win in Salt Lake City on Feb. 7. In the only game of the series played in Houston, the Utes defeated the Owls, 71-64, in triple overtime on Jan. 23, 1997. Julie Krommenhoek scored a career-high 35 points in that contest, making 7-of-11 three-pointers and playing the entire 55 minutes.

LAST MEETING: Angie Thill scored 12 of her 18 points in the final six minutes as Utah beat Rice, 74-66, and broke a three-game losing streak on Feb. 7. 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.

WAC TOURNAMENT PREVIEW

TOURNAMENT SCHEDULE SET: With completion of divisional play last week, the schedule is set for the 1998 Quest Western Athletic Conference Tournament, Mar. 2-7, at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas, Nev. The championship game will be televised regionally by FOX Sports Net.

For the first time in the history of the WAC Tournament, two nationally ranked teams will be among the 12-team field. In addition to Utah, ranked No. 16 by USA Today/ESPN and No. 18 by A.P., Hawai'i is ranked No. 18 in the USA Today/ESPN poll and No. 19 by the Associated Press.

Monday, March 2 (First Round)
Game 1 -    SMU (P-3) vs. Wyoming (M-6), 12:00 p.m.
Game 2 -    New Mexico (M-4) vs. Tulsa (P-5), 2:30 p.m.
Game 3 -    UTEP (M-3) vs. TCU (P-6), 6:00 p.m.
Game 4 -    Fresno State (P-4) vs. Brigham Young (M-5), 8:30 p.m.
Wednesday, March 4 (Quarterfinals)
Game 5 -    Colorado State (M-2) vs. Winner Game 1, 12:00 p.m.
Game 6 -    Hawai'i (P-1) vs. Winner Game 2, 2:30 p.m.
Game 7 -    Rice (P-2) vs. Winner Game 3, 6:00 p.m.
Game 8 -    Utah (M-1) vs. Winner Game 4, 8:30 p.m.
Friday, March 6 (Semifinals)
Game 9 -    Winner Game 5 vs. Winner Game 6, 12:00 p.m.
Game 10 -   Winner Game 7 vs. Winner Game 8, 2:30 p.m.
Saturday, March 7 (Championship)
Game 11 -   Winner Game 9 vs. Winner Game 10, 2:30 p.m. (FOX Sports Net)
NOTING THE UTES

GAME #23 RECAP: Angie Thill scored 22 points and posted nine boards and Julie Krommenhoek added 18 points to lead Utah to a 74-58 win at UNLV last Thursday night. The win gave Utah its fourth-consecutive 20-win season.

Thill, who narrowly missed her career high by one point, shot 9-of-13 from the field on her 23rd birthday. Krommenhoek exploded for four three pointers and 16 points in the second half. Lindsay Sodja had 11 points and eight rebounds in 20 minutes off the bench. Kristi Rose also had 11 points. Alli Bills had a game-high 12 assists and eight points. Taneisha Gossett led the Lady Rebels with 12 points, while Liz Wolfe added 10.

Leading 35-27 at the intermission, Utah utilized a jumper by Thill, a three-pointer from Krommenhoek, a lay-up by Thill and two free throws by Krommenhoek to rattle off a 9-1 run over the first two minutes of the second half. The Utes took control of the game from there and lead by as many as 23 points (72-49) with 3:55 to play. Utah shot 58.3 percent in the second half and had a 50.8 to 46.0 advantage for the game. The Utes also owned a 39-22 advantage on the boards.

GAME #24 RECAP: Utah reached the century mark for the ninth time and posted the most-decisive defeat in school history with a 100-39 romp at Air Force last Saturday. Julie Krommenhoek scored 20 points in the first half on the way to equalling her season high of 33. Krommoenhoek also broke the WAC and Utah single-game records by making nine three-pointers (in 12 attempts).

Lindsay Sodja set career highs with 18 points and nine rebounds in 19 minutes off the bench. Alli Bills made all five of her shots from the field and scored 13 points. Tiana Fuertes had six assists off the bench.

Utah tied a school record by making 12 three-pointers (in 25 attempts). The Utes shot 56.3 percent in the first half to jump out to a 54-22 lead. Utah led 7-5 at the 17:31 mark before rattling off 11 straight points--including three trifectas by Krommenhoek--over the next two minutes. The Utes outshot the Falcons 50.8 to 34.7 percent for the game and had a 43 to 28 advantage on the boards.

RECORD-SETTING START: 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.

MORE STREAKS: With 16 consecutive wins to open the season, Utah posted the second-longest winning streak in school history and the third-longest in 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 record book of 18 consecutive wins by two games. The school record was set during the 1976-77 season from Jan. 7 through Mar. 5. Following the 16-0 start, Utah dropped its next three games--all on the road. 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.

HOME SWEET HOME: Utah won all 11 of its home games this season and has a streak of 13-consecutive home wins dating back to last season, which ranks as the 13th-longest in the nation. The Utes' last loss at the Jon M. Huntsman Center was on Feb. 8, 1997 to Colorado State, 79-68, in triple overtime. Going back even further, the Utes have won 41 of their last 42 home games since a loss to Western Athletic Conference rival San Diego State on Jan. 12, 1995. Utah averaged 1,502 fans at 11 home games this season, ranking fourth in the WAC. The Utes drew over 1,000 fans on six occasions.

FROM THE TRAINING ROOM: Sophomore forward Lori Red will sit out this season with a medical redshirt. She has three years of eligibility remaining.

ELAINE ELLIOTT GETS 300th CAREER WIN: Ute head coach Elaine Elliott is the the winningest coach in Utah women's basketball history. Now in her 15th season as Utah's head coach after spending four years as an assistant coach at the U., Elliott recorded her 300th career victory on Feb. 14 with a 67-53 win over Colorado State. Elliott has a 302-130 (.699) career record and a 149-39 mark in conference games entering this week. Her number of career wins is the best of any coach in the Western Athletic Conference and her coaching tenure is the longest among the league's coaches. She has had nine 20-win seasons and three 19-win campaigns, averaging 20 wins in 15 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 1996 and the WAC Tournament championship in 1995. Elliott has coached teams to a total of four regular-season conference crowns (1986, 87, 89, 96), two divisional titles (1997, 98) 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 playing Rice - "I expect a tough game down there. They have some outstanding players and are very athletic. It took us three overtimes to beat them down there last year. A win against that kind of a quality team on the road could help our NCAA Tournament seeding. It will also help us get ready for the postseason."

On the UNLV game - "We didn't come out with the intensity that we needed and looked a little sloppy in the first half. I attribute some of that to the fact that UNLV put a lot of pressure on us and really came after us full court. But, I was very happy with the way we played in the second half. Angie Thill had a big night for us, and I was most happy with her work on the boards."

On the Air Force game and finishing tied for a first place in the division - "I told the team that I wanted to enjoy the moment, which meant that they needed to play well--and they did. Everyone shot well, including players off the bench. It was nice to be able to give the starters a rest and get our bench some playing time. We're going to need everyone fresh and ready to play the rest of the way. After we lost those three games in the middle of the season, we had to gut it out and treat every game the same. To the team's credit, they did just that and I am very proud of them. Now we can focus on the rest of our goals."

KROMMENHOEK CLOSING ON UTAH SCORING RECORD: Senior guard Julie Krommenhoek has continued to solidify herself as one of the all-time best players in Utah and Western Athletic Conference history this season. Krommenhoek is just 44 points away from breaking the Utah all-time scoring record of 2,075 set by Deb Asper (1980-84). If she maintains her current average of 20.4 points per game, she will break the record in the semifinals of the WAC Tournament.

Earlier this season, Krommenhoek broke the WAC's all-time scoring record with 18 points against Air Force on Jan. 22 to eclipse the old mark of 1,848 points set by Colorado State's Teresa James from 1992-96.

Krommenhoek also tops the Utah and WAC career charts for three-point field goals made (352) and attempted (812), and owns the top three single-season marks in both three-point categories. She set school and conference single-season records last year with 103 three-pointers made and 233 attempted. The American Fork, Utah, native has also already set the all-time steals mark at Utah (249) 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 594 career assists, bettering 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 fourth-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 194 assists, the second-highest single-season total in the Utah record books.

KROMMENHOEK SHOOTING FOR ALL-AMERICA HONORS ONCE AGAIN: Julie Krommenhoek, an honorable mention Kodak 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 24 games, Krommenhoek has already had 11 20-point games. She has missed her career high by two points twice. Krommenhoek went off for a season-high 33 points in 22 minutes against Air Force on Feb. 21. Krommenhoek broke her own school record with nine three pointers (in 12 attempts) and shot 12-of-16 from the field overall. Her previous best three-point mark was seven trifectas against Rice on Jan. 23, 1997 and Idaho State on Jan. 29, 1995. She also had 33 points against No. 24 Arkansas on Dec. 21, going 11-for-19 from the field and 6-for-9 from three-point range. Krommenhoek has scored in double figures in every game, averaging 20.0 points per game and ranking 32nd in the NCAA rankings released on Feb. 17. She is also averaging 3.7 three-pointers per game to rank second in the nation. Krommenhoek is shooting 43.3 percent from behind the arc.

    RICE Probable Starters
G - 21  Charonda Wilson 5-4 Jr. Clear Lake, Texas       7.3 ppg, 4.6 apg
G - 25  Marla Brumfield 5-9 So. Houston, Texas          12.8 ppg, 4.9 rpg
F - 10  Gina Cafagna    5-9 Sr. Lewisville, Texas       10.7 ppg, 4.6 rpg
F - 33  Kirra Jordan    6-0 So. Missouri City, Texas    13.5 ppg, 6.4 rpg
C - 42  Angelica Smith  6-0 Jr. Little Rock, Ark.       10.5 ppg, 6.3 rpg
    

BILLS CONTENDING FOR POSTSEASON AWARDS: Alli Bills is having a solid final season to her Utah career. Bills has averaged 8.1 assists over 24 games and is ranked second in the NCAA. She has posted five double-doubles, most recently getting 12 points and 11 assists in a 67-53 win against Colorado State on Feb. 14.

Bills has scored in double figures in 15 of the 24 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 seven games and posted a season-high of 12 against both UNLV on Feb. 19 and Idaho on Dec. 29. She had 11 assists against both Colorado State on Feb. 14 and 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 this season 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 12th in the WAC in scoring (14.0 ppg) and 10th in rebounding (7.6 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 17 of the 22 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 five 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 boards against BYU, Thill also hauled in 12 against both Weber State on Nov. 21 and Bradley on Nov. 29.

ROSE ON PACE TO SET SINGLE-SEASON BLOCKED SHOTS RECORD: Sophomore 6-4 center Kristi Rose has 47 blocked shots this season and needs just nine more to break the Utah single-season record of 55 set by Lori Parish in 1978-79. Rose is averaging 2.0 blocked shots per game this season. The Palmdale, Calif., native tied the ninth-highest single-season mark in school history and the set the top mark by a freshman with 34 blocked shots last season.

NCAA INDIVIDUAL STATISTICAL RANKINGS (Released Feb. 17):
Scoring Julie Krommenhoek   32nd (20.0)
Assists Alli Bills  2nd (8.1)
3-Point Field Goals Julie Krommenhoek   2nd (3.4)
NCAA TEAM STATISTICAL RANKINGS (Released Feb. 17):
Scoring Defense 8th (56.4)
Free Throw Percentage   10th (74.8)
3-Point FG Percentage   6th (38.6)
3-Point FG Per Game 14th (6.1)
WAC TEAM STATISTICAL RANKINGS (Released Feb. 23):
Scoring 5th (71.0)  Rebounds    11th (37.3)
Scoring Defense 1st (55.7)  Opponents' Rebounds 1st (33.3)
Scoring Margin  3rd (15.2)  Rebound Margin  4th (4.0)
Field Goal Percentage   3rd (45.9)  Blocks  4th (3.5)
Field Goal Pct. Defense 3rd (37.9)  Steals  10th (8.9)
3-Point FG Percentage   1st (38.8)  Turnover Margin 5th (-2.7)
3-Point FG Per Game 2nd (6.4)   Free Throw Percentage   2nd (75.3)  
WAC INDIVIDUAL STATISTICAL RANKINGS (Released Feb. 23): 
Scoring Julie Krommenhoek   2nd (20.4)
    Angie Thill 12th (14.0)
Field Goal Percentage   Angie Thill 3rd (55.3)
    Julie Krommenhoek   10th (45.5)
3-Point Percentage  Julie Krommenhoek   2nd (43.3)
Free Throw Percentage   Alli Bills  5th (81.4)
    Angie Thill 15th (74.4)
Rebounds    Angie Thill 10th (7.6)
Assists Alli Bills  1st (8.1)
Blocked Shots   Kristi Rose 1st (2.0)
Steals  Alli Bills  8th (2.7)
    Julie Krommenhoek   12th (2.6)
3-Point Field Goals Julie Krommenhoek   1st (3.7)

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 LIVES UP TO EXPECTATIONS BY WINNING THE WAC MOUNTAIN DIVISION: 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 488-194 (.716) overall record, 87-25 (.777) 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 have posted a 2-1 record in televised games this season. Utah's 69-68 win over 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 has made two appearances on local television. The Utes' 63-46 win over Brigham Young 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. Utah's 50-46 loss to Brigham Young in Provo, Utah, on Feb. 4 was televised by KBYU-TV (Ch. 11).

UTES ON RADIO: Once again this season, KALL-910 AM in Salt Lake City is the radio home for Ute women's basketball. All postseason contests will be carried live. 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.

PLAYER NOTES

AMY ALCORN - 11

Started all 24 games ... first start of her career against Weber State on Nov. 21 ... season-high 14 points, going 5-for-8 from the field and 3-for-3 from three-point range in 28 minutes against Colorado State on Jan. 18 ... 6 points (2-6 FG, 1-2 3pt. FG) and 3 assists in 23 minutes against Wyoming on Feb. 12 ... 7 points (2-5 FG, 2-3 3pt. FG) and 2 rebounds in 24 minutes at UTEP (Jan. 31) ... 8 points (3-4 FG, 2-2 FT), 3 rebounds and 3 assists in 26 minutes against UNLV (Jan. 24) ... 7 points (3-5 FG, 1-2 3pt. FG) in 19 minutes against Idaho ... 4 points (2-5 FG) and 3 assists in 22 minutes against BYU (Jan. 10) ... 4 points and 4 assists against Rice (Feb. 7) ... 2 points, 3 rebounds and 3 assists in 23 minutes against New Mexico (Jan. 3) ... 6 points (2-6 FG), 5 assists, 2 boards and 2 steals in 15 minutes at Air Force on Feb. 21 ... scored 6 points (2-3 FG) and had 1 rebound in 18 minutes versus Bradley.

LAURA ROSS ALLEN - 35

Played in all 24 games, starting 3 ... season-high 11 points (5-7 FG) and 5 rebounds in 24 minutes at Montana ... started on Senior Day against Colorado State, posting 6 points (3-5 FG) and 3 boards in 13 minutes ... first start of the season against UTEP (Jan. 1), posting 7 points, 6 rebounds, and 2 blocks in a season-high 29 minutes ... 8 points (3-7 FG) and a season-high 9 boards in 25 minutes as a starter against New Mexico (Jan. 3) ... 10 points on 4-for-6 field goal shooting and 3 boards in 17 minutes in the season opener at Weber State ... 7 points (5-6 FT), a game-high 9 rebounds and 2 assists in 19 minutes against Air Force (Jan. 22) ... 6 points (3-5 FG) and 5 boards in 19 minutes against BYU (Jan. 10) ... 8 boards and 4 points in 20 minutes against Wisconsin-Green Bay ... 6 points (3-5 FG) and 4 rebounds at Kansas State ... 4 points (2-5 FG) and 4 rebounds in 14 minutes against Colorado State (Jan. 18) ... 4 points and 6 rebounds in 23 minutes against UC Irvine.

KRISTINA ANDERSEN - 21

Played in 18 games ... career-highs with 13 points, going 5-for-8 from the field and 2-for-2 from three-point range, and 7 rebounds in 23 minutes against New Mexico (Jan. 3) ... 4 points (2-6 FG) and 3 rebounds in 12 minutes at Air Force on Jan. 21 ... 6 points (2-5 FG, 2-3 3 pt. FG) and 3 rebounds in 16 minutes against UTEP (Jan. 1) ... 7 points, going 3-for-5 from the field and 1-for-3 from three-point range, with 2 rebounds in 9 minutes against Idaho ... 3 points and 2 rebounds in 10 minutes against Air Force (Jan. 22) ... in 10 minutes against Bradley, grabbed 4 boards and scored 1 point (1-3 FT) ... 3 rebounds in 6 minutes against BYU on Feb. 4 ... 2 points, 2 rebounds in 10 minutes against UTEP (Jan. 31) ... 2 points (1-2 FG) and 1 rebound in 3 minutes against Weber State.

ALLI BILLS - 10

Started all 24 games ... named to the USA Today All-ACL Team ... team ... leader in assists in 22 of 24 games, posting 10 or more 7 times ... 15 double-figure scoring games ... 5 double-doubles ... tied her career-high with 23 points, going 6-for-11 from the floor, 2-for-5 from three-point range and 9-for-11 from the free throw line, in 36 minutes against Wyoming on Jan. 15 ... 13 points, going 5-for-5 from the field, with 4 assists and 5 steals in 24 minutes at Air Force on Feb. 21 ... tied a season-high with 12 assists and also posted 8 points at UNLV on Jan. 19 ... double-double with 12 points (7-8 FT), 11 assists, 5 rebounds and 3 steals against Colorado State on Feb. 14 ... 8 points, , 8 boards, 8 assists against Wyoming on Feb. 12 ... broke WAC career assists record with nine against Colorado State on Feb. 18 ... double-double with 12 points (9-10 FT) and 10 rebounds against BYU on Feb. 4 ... 12 points, 9 boards, 4 assists and 4 steals against Rice (Feb. 7) ... 11 points (5-12 FG), 8 assists, 7 rebounds and 4 steals in 32 minutes against UNLV (Jan. 24) ... 11 assists, 6 points and 3 steals against BYU (Jan. 10) ... season-high 12 assists, 8 points, 5 rebounds and 4 steals against Idaho ... went 3-for-3 from the field and 2-for-2 at the free throw line versus the Vandals ... nearly missed a triple-double with 15 points (6-9 FG, 3-5 3 pt. FG), 9 assists and 9 rebounds in 39 minutes against UTEP (Jan. 1) ... 13 points, (4-4 FT), 8 assists and 4 steals in 40 minutes against New Mexico (Jan. 3) ... double-double with 11 points and 10 assists in 39 minutes against No. 24 Arkansas on Dec. 21 ... broke Utah all-time assists record with 10 against Kansas State on Dec. 6 ... also had 10 points (4-7 FG) and 7 rebounds in 37 minutes against KSU to post a double-double ... named to the all-tournament team of Kansas State's Commerce Bank-Wildcat Classic (Dec. 5-6) ... 12 points (2-5 3pt. FG), 9 boards, 6 rebounds and 3 steals in a season-high 40 minutes at Montana ... double-double with a season-high 15 points and 11 assists, as well as 3 rebounds in 32 minutes against UC Irvine ... went 5-for-6 from the field, 3-for-3 from three-point range and 2-for-2 from the free throw line against UCI ... 13 points, 8 assists and 6 rebounds at Idaho State ... 15 points (3-3 3pt. FG), 8 assists and 4 rebounds against Bradley ... 14 points, 7 assists and 5 steals in 35 minutes against Weber State.

AMY EWERT - 24

Played in all 24 games ... career-high 9 points (3-5 FG), career-high 5 boards and 2 assists in 19 minutes against BYU (Jan. 10) ... career-high 6 rebounds and 7 points (3-5 FG) in 18 minutes against Wyoming (Jan. 15) ... 6 points (2-2 FG) and 4 assists in 19 minutes at Air Force on Feb. 21 ... 3 points (1-1 3pt. FG), 2 boards and 1 block against Wyoming on Feb. 12 ... 5 points and 3 rebounds in 21 minutes against Rice (Feb. 7) ... 3 points and 2 rebounds against BYU on Feb. 4 ... 4 points (2-4 FG) in 16 minutes against UNLV (Jan. 22) ... 7 points (2-3 FG) and 4 rebounds in 20 minutes against Idaho ... 2 points, 2 rebounds and 2 blocked shots in a season-high 22 minutes against UTEP (Jan. 1) ... 4 points (2-2 FG) and 2 assists in a season-high 22 minutes against No. 24 Arkansas ... 3 points and 3 rebounds in 9 minutes against Wisconsin-Green Bay ... career-best 4 assists and 3 rebounds in 14 minutes at Montana ... 2 points and 3 rebounds in 20 minutes at Idaho State ... 2 points and 4 rebounds in 12 minutes at Weber State.

TIANA FUERTES - 22

Has played in 20 games ... led Utah with a season-high 6 assists (no turnovers) and 3 points (1-2 3pt. FG) at Air Force on Feb. 19 ... season-high 7 points (2-3 FG, 1-2 3pt. FG) and 4 assists in 18 minutes against Air Force (Jan. 22) ... 3 points and 1 board in 12 minutes against BYU on Feb. 4 ... 5 points (1-1 FG, 1-1 3pt. FG) in 8 minutes against UNLV (Jan. 24) ... 6 points (6-8 FT) and 1 assist in 9 minutes at Weber State ... 4 points (1-3 FG) and 4 assists in 11 minutes against Bradley ... made a three-pointer at the halftime buzzer against Kansas State ... 2 assists and 2 rebounds in 7 minutes, running the point in the closing moments of a 69-68 win at Colorado State on Jan. 18.

JULIE KROMMENHOEK - 33

Started all 24 games ... has not scored less than 10 points in any game ... 11 20-point games ... named WAC Mountain Division Player of the Week on Feb. 23 ... equalled season high with 33 points, going 9-for-12 from the field, in 22 minutes at Air Force on Feb. 21 ... broke the WAC record and her own school record with 9 three pointers (in 12 attempts) against the Falcons ... 23 points, going 7-for-15 from the field, 3-for-6 from behind the arc and 6-for-6 at the line, in 38 minutes against Colorado State on Feb. 14 .. became the WAC's all-time scoring leader with her 18th point against Air Force on Jan. 22 ... finished with 23 points (8-20 FG, 6-15 3pt. FG) and 4 rebounds in 26 minutes against the Falcons, tying the JMHC record for three-pointers made and breaking the arena record for three-point attempts ... 20 points, 5 rebounds and 3 steals in 38 minutes against BYU on Feb. 4 ... had 23 points (9-14 FG, 5-8 3pt. FG) and 4 assists in 34 minutes against UNLV (Jan. 24) ... named WAC Mountain Division Player of the Week on Dec. 22 after scoring a season-high 33 points in Utah's win over No. 24 Arkansas ... went 11-for-19 from the field, 6-for-9 from three-point range and 5-for-5 at the line in 40 minutes against the Lady Razorbacks ... named WAC Mountain Division Player of the Week on Jan. 5 ... 29 points (12-21 FG, 4-9 3pt. FG), 5 assists and 3 steals in 37 minutes against UTEP (Jan. 1) ... 22 points (9-17 FG) in 34 minutes against Idaho (Dec. 29) ... 29 points, going 10-for-22 from the field and 4-for-9 from three-point range in 38 minutes at Idaho State ... also had a career-high 6 steals, 6 rebounds and 5 assists against the Bengals ... named the MVP of the Commerce Bank Wildcat Classic (Dec. 5-6) ... averaged 20.5 points 3.5 steals and shot 40 percent (8-10) from three-point range against Wisconsin-Green Bay and Kansas State ... 25 points (8-21 FG, 4-10 3pt. FG) and 3 steals against UWGB ... 24 points (9-17 FG, 6-9 3pt. FG) and 3 assists in 30 minutes against Bradley ... set JMHC single-game record for three-pointers made against BU.

ReSHAWNDA RICHARDSON - 25

Has played in 13 games ... career-highs with 4 points (1-3 FG) and 4 assists, also 1 rebound in 7 minutes against Bradley ... 3 points (1-1 3pt. FG) in 2 minutes against UNLV (Jan. 24) ... career-high 3 rebounds, 2 points (1-1 FG), and 3 blocked shots in 6 minutes against Air Force (Jan. 22) ... 2 points, making her only shot, and 1 block in 4 minutes against UTEP (Jan. 1) ... 2 points and 1 rebound in 6 minutes against Idaho.

KRISTI ROSE - 44

Has started 23 of the 24 games ... equalled a career-high with 14 points (6-9 FG, 1-1 3pt. FG) against New Mexico (Jan. 29) ... 11 points (5-6 FG) at UNLV on Feb. 19 ... 8 points, 6 rebounds and 3 blocks in 19 minutes at Air Force on Feb. 21 ... 15 points (5-9 FG, 5-6 FT) and 5 rebounds in 32 minutes against Rice on Feb. 7 ... 9 points, 7 rebounds and a season-high 6 blocked shots at UTEP (Jan. 31) ... 13 points (6-8 FG), 5 rebounds and 3 blocked shots in 31 minutes against Colorado State (Jan. 18) ... 10 points (4-8 FG) and 9 boards against BYU (Jan. 10) ... career-high 14 points (6-11 FG, 2-4 3pt. FG), 7 rebounds and 3 blocked shots in 26 minutes against Kansas State on Dec. 6 ... 12 points and 7 boards against Wisconsin-Green Bay on Dec. 5 ... in first collegiate start at Weber State, had 13 points (6-13 FG), 7 rebounds and 2 assists in a season-high 35 minutes ... 4 blocked shots in 32 minutes against New Mexico (Jan. 3) ... 11 boards, 3 blocked shots and 6 points at Idaho State ... 9 points, 7 rebounds and 2 blocked shots in 30 minutes against No. 24 Arkansas.

ROSIE SHELLEY - 14

Played in 3 games ... career-high 4 points, making her first career-three-pointer, in 7 minutes at Air Force on Feb. 21 ... 1 point, 1 rebound and 1 assist in 2 minutes versus Bradley ... scoreless with 2 rebounds in 7 minutes against Air Force on Jan. 22.

LINDSAY SODJA - 15

Has played in 15 games off the bench ... posted career highs with 18 points (6-10 FG, 5-5 FT) and 9 rebounds in 19 minutes at Air Force on Feb. 21 ... 11 points (5-9 FG) and 8 boards in a career-best 20 minutes at UNLV on Feb. 19 ... 11 points (5-6 FG), 3 steals and 2 rebounds in 9 minutes against Bradley ... 8 points, going 3-for-6 from the field and 2-for-3 from three-point range, and 5 rebounds in 17 minutes against Colorado State on Feb. 14 ... 7 points (3-3 FT), 3 rebounds and 3 steals in 16 minutes against Wyoming on Feb. 12 ... 5 points, 5 rebounds and 1 steal in 17 minutes against Rice (Feb. 7) ... 3 points and 2 rebounds in 13 minutes against BYU on Feb. 4 ... 8 points (4-7 FG) and 3 rebounds in 15 minutes against Air Force on Jan. 22 ... 2 points, 2 rebounds in 5 minutes against UNLV on Jan. 24 ... 2 points (2-2 FT), 2 rebounds, 1 assist and 1 steal in 9 minutes against UTEP (Jan. 1) ... 2 points in 7 minutes at Weber State.

ANGIE THILL - 42

Has started and played in 22 games ... four double-doubles this season and five in her career ... equalled a career-high with 23 points (10-13 FG, 2-2 3pt. FG), 4 rebounds and 3 steals in 24 minutes against Air Force (Jan. 22) ... 22 points, going 9-for-13 from the field and 2-of-4 from behind the arc, and 9 rebounds in 32 minutes at UNLV on Feb. 19 ... named WAC Mountain Division Player of the Week on Feb. 16 ... 19 points (7-8 FG, 2-2 3pt. FG) and 9 rebounds in 27 minutes against Wyoming on Feb. 12 ... 15 points and 7 rebounds in 29 minutes against Colroado State on Feb. 14 ... double-double with 19 points (7-14 FG, 5-6 FT) and 14 rebounds in 37 minutes against BYU on Feb. 4 ... 18 points (6-10 FG) and 5 boards in 28 minutes against Rice on Feb. 7 ... 16 points (6-7 FT) and 9 boards in 30 minutes at New Mexico (Jan. 29) ... 13 points (6-12 FG) and 3 boards in 29 minutes against UNLV (Jan. 24) ... career-high 23 points (8-11 FG, 2-3 3pt. FG, 5-7 FT) and 8 rebounds in 27 minutes against UC Irvine ... third double-double of the season with 11 points, 11 rebounds and 3 assists in 35 minutes against against Colorado State on Jan. 18 ... 15 points (5-6 FG) at Wyoming on Jan. 15 ... 21 points (9-for-14 FG) and 7 rebounds in 23 minutes at Idaho State ... 18 points (8-13 FG, 1-2 3pt. FG) and 8 rebounds in season-high 34 minutes at Montana ... first double-double in three seasons with 15 points (6-9 FG) and a career-best tying 12 rebounds in 22 minutes against Bradley ... career-best 12 rebounds in 28 minutes at Weber State ... double-double with 10 points (5-9 FG) and 10 rebounds in a career-best 37 minutes against No. 24 Arkansas ... 16 points (4-6 FT) and 6 rebounds in 33 minutes against Kansas State ... missed the UTEP (Jan. 1) and New Mexico (Jan. 3) games after suffering a patellar dislocation in her left knee early in the second half against Idaho.

JANNA WHITMAN - 30

Has played in 8 games ... career-high 6 points (2-3 FG, 2-2 3pt. FG), 1 rebound and 1 assist in 11 minutes against Air Force on Jan. 22 ... 2 points in 9 minutes at Air Force on Feb. 21 ... 1 assist and no points in 2 minutes against UNLV on Jan. 24 ... 1 point (1-2 FT) in 1 minute against Idaho ... 1 board and 1 steal in 5 minutes against Bradley.

RICE Probable Starters
G - 21  Charonda Wilson 5-4 Jr. Clear Lake, Texas   7.3 ppg, 4.6 apg
G - 25  Marla Brumfield 5-9 So. Houston, Texas  12.8 ppg, 4.9 rpg
F - 10  Gina Cafagna    5-9 Sr. Lewisville, Texas   10.7 ppg, 4.6 rpg
F - 33  Kirra Jordan    6-0 So. Missouri City, Texas    13.5 ppg, 6.4 rpg
C - 42  Angelica Smith  6-0 Jr. Little Rock, Ark.   10.5 ppg, 6.3 rpg
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