Women’s Hoops Fifth in MWC

While no one was expecting the Utah women’s basketball team to replicate last year’s feat of going 28-4 and reaching the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament, this season’s rather lackluster 7-5 start is not quite what anyone had in mind, either.

True, the Utes did lose two starters and their top reserve from the best team in program history, but they also returned enough talent to garner five first-place votes and finish second to Colorado State in the MWC preseason poll.

However, while the Rams have lived up to their billing, posting a 10-2 record and earning a top-20 ranking, Utah’s sporadic play has the team tied for fifth place in the conference heading into league play next week.

A part of the problem is the disparity in the U’s performance at the Huntsman Center and on the road. While the Utes are a perfect 3-0 at JMHC this year, and have won 12 straight there overall dating back to last year, they are a mediocre 4-5 at road and neutral sites, managing only to break even on a recent six game span away from home.

Dj Vu All Over Again

Though the Utes would have preferred not to head into the conference season on a two game slide, perhaps they can take some solace in the knowledge that they did the exact same thing a year ago.

Immediately before their MWC slate, the 2001 Utes dropped a road contest against a ranked Stanford team and a home matchup against an unheralded Loyola Marymount squad. Then they reeled off 14 straight conference victories to win the league title.

Despite this year’s relatively slow start, all things are currently equal in the conference standings.

Statistically Speaking

Seniors Erin Gibbons (fifth), Lauren Beckman (eighth) and Lindsay Herbert (10th) rank among the MWC’s top 10 in scoring, while Beckman (third) and senior forward Katherine McColl (fifth) are top-five rebounders? Gibbons is attempting to become the 18th player in school history to score 1,000 career points. With 723 points, she’d have to average 18.5 over the team’s last 15 games to make it? Beckman is third in the MWC with four double-doubles this season.

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