Women’s Hoops Team Cruises Past Mirabel

The Utah women’s basketball team didn’t schedule Slovakian export Mirabel Banska Bystrica for its first exhibition game of the year with the intent of facing some top-notch international competition.

Consequently, the Utes weren’t exactly surprised by the ease of their 73-36 annihilation of their overseas opponent at the Huntsman Center.

So?what then was exactly the point of facing a team like Mirabel?

“We were tired of playing each other in practice,” said U coach Elaine Elliott.

Not that Mirabel put up much of a fight.

But after a slew of intra squad scrimmages, the coach and her players were looking to see how they stacked up against somebody?anybody?else.

“I have a lot of things to evaluate,” Elliott said. “I’m jacked to sit down, break down what I saw out there.”

How she can discern anything of significance watching the game film of this dismantling remains to be seen.

Then again, the Utes weren’t firing on all cylinders from the outset.

Though they jumped out to an early 14-4 lead, 8 straight points by Mirabel within the next few minutes got them within 17-15?their closest margin of the game.

And while Utah eventually stretched out a 36-21 halftime lead, the team shot just 35.7 percent in the opening half, based mostly on a rash of errant outside shooting.

“They were playing kind of a laid-back zone, and we talked at halftime about getting the ball inside some more,” said U senior center Lauren Beckman.

The Utes took the lecture to heart, pounding it inside to Beckman and letting her dominate the smaller Mirabel defenders with her size and array of post moves. She just missed a double-double, finishing with 24 points and 9 rebounds.

And though the outside shots never did fall consistently?the Utes shot just 35.8 percent for the game?they did use their physical presence to the tune of a 23-3 free throws attempted advantage.

Meanwhile, between the interior dominance and increased defensive pressure, Utah closed the game on a 23 3 run to provide the final margin.

“I didn’t have any surprises, [though], I would have liked our seniors to be more dominant. Beckman was really the only one doing much,” Elliott said. “I expected what we got, which was a lot of mistakes.”

Erin Gibbons and Lindsay Herbert added 13 and 10 points, respectively, and Katherine McColl had 11 rebounds.

The Utes’ final exhibition game of the year comes Nov. 10 at the Huntsman Center vs. an opponent sponsored by the National Women’s Basketball League.

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