U women to host Rams

The U women’s basketball team will try to keep its momentum following a 76-39 thrashing of San Diego State when it hosts the Colorado State Rams on Saturday afternoon at the Huntsman Center.

After losing their first two conference games to New Mexico and BYU, the Utes won their first MWC game in San Diego. The game was highlighted by a second half that saw Utah completely shut down the Aztecs en route to a 32-2 run to open the second half.

“I liked our readiness and willingness to play,” Utah head coach Elaine Elliott said. “We’re doing what we need to do individually-play(ing) hard, giving everything we can; that’s what’s important; that’s what we want to control.”

Senior Kim Smith propelled the Utes with 22 points and nine rebounds, as Utah had eight players participate for 14 minutes or more in the lopsided victory.

Senior guard Julie Larsen provided much of the lift during the Utes’ second-half trouncing of the Aztecs, scoring 11 of her 13 points in the first six minutes of the period, including three shots from behind the arc.

The Utes will bring a 6-1 home record into Saturday’s game, their only home loss having come last Saturday when BYU’s Mallary Gillespie tipped in a last-second shot that gave the Cougars a 61-60 upset win.

Colorado State is coming off a 73-57 home loss to New Mexico. Senior forward Melissa Dennett, a Highland High School graduate, led the Rams with 15 points and seven rebounds in the defeat.

The Rams’ three senior starters, Dennett, Vanessa Espinoza and Lindsay Thomas, have continued to be the core of the team, averaging a combined 39.2 points and 20.1 rebounds per game.

“Their inside game is critical to them,” Elliott said. “Dennett and Thomas are good players inside, great rebounders and good scorers; we have to manage their game play.”

The teams will meet at 3 p.m. at the Huntsman Center.

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