U women take win streak to sin city

The U women’s basketball team will play for its fourth-straight win Saturday, as it takes on UNLV at the Thomas and Mack Center in Las Vegas.

After a disappointing start to conference play, the Utes have been on fire their last three games, with wins over San Diego State, Colorado State and Air Force.

The Utes’ three seniors, Kim Smith, Shona Thorburn and Julie Larsen, have played particularly well over that three-game stretch.

Smith has averaged 20.6 points, 7.6 rebounds and 4.3 assists per game, while shooting 63 percent from the field.

Thorburn has been solid in every category, averaging seven points, 6.6 rebounds and 6.3 assists per game. Larsen has averaged 14.3 points and 3.3 assists, shooting 68 percent from the field and 63 percent from three-point range.

“For the three of us, we’ve won a conference championship every year we’ve been here,” Smith said. “To start 0-2, it was a little bit of a kicker because we didn’t want it to end like this. We’re doing everything we can not to go out like that.”

In conference play, the Utes (12-4, 3-2) have beaten their opponents by a combined 242-138 or a game average of 81-46.

In the most recent 45-point thrashing over Air Force, Smith scored a season-high 27 points in 28 minutes, while Larsen poured in 19 points, shooting a perfect six for six from the field.

“I really like that Julie’s overall game is improving,” Ute head coach Elaine Elliott said. “She is getting to the rim. She can shot-fake you and put it on the floor.”

UNLV (11-4, 3-1) is also coming off an impressive win.

Led by senior Sheena Moore’s 26 points, the Rebels overcame a four-point halftime deficit to knock off Colorado State for the first time in six years at Fort Collins, Colo.

The Utes beat the Rebels in both contests last season-a 63-55 home victory and a 61-55 road win.

Game time is set for 8 p.m.

[email protected]