Women’s Hoops Team Begins Play Tonight

The Utah women’s basketball team opens its 2001-’02 campaign tonight at the Huntsman Center with an exhibition contest against Slovakian opponent Mirabel Banska Bystrica.

The Utes are coming off the best season in the program’s history, going 28-4 overall, winning the MWC regular season title with a perfect 14 0 mark and advancing to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament for the first time ever before bowing out to eventual national champion Notre Dame.

However, this team will be without a few familiar faces, among them Amy Ewert?last year’s co-MWC Player of the Year whose eligibility expired after the season. Among the other Utes not to return this year are ex-starting power forward Kristina Andersen and top reserve Lori Red Castagnetto.

Overall, though, the core remains intact, with three starters and nine letter winners returning, including All MWC First Team center Lauren Beckman, who begins her senior season just 9 points away from becoming the 17th player in Utah history to score 1,000 career points.

The Utes were picked to finish second (behind Colorado State) in the preseason MWC poll.

After tonight’s matchup, they will play their second and final exhibition game of the preseason Nov. 10 versus a team comprised of players from the National Women’s Basketball League.