Women’s hoops heads to Oregon

By By Natalie Dicou

By Natalie Dicou

While most U students will be spending Thanksgiving weekend smiling awkwardly across the table at rarely seen relatives, the U women’s basketball team will be spending its extended holiday playing in a tournament in Oregon.

Lucky, huh?

The Utes, who picked up their first victory of the season over UVSC in a double-overtime thriller Friday, will try to keep up their winning ways as they compete in a four-team tournament Friday and Saturday.

“The one nice thing is you get at least one neutral game,” said U head coach Elaine Elliott, whose team will go up against Pittsburgh on a neutral court Friday.

The ever-improving Utes hope to continue to iron out their early-season kinks, one of which is a lack of intensity that almost cost them the UVSC game.

The Utes, who led by as many as 12 points against UVSC, allowed the hustling Wolverines back into the game when they got a bit too nonchalant with a double-digit lead.

“We gave up that second- and third-shot opportunity, and that was about effort,” said Elliott of her players’ failure to grab rebounds in crunch time.

Among other issues is throwing the ball away. At 20 turnovers a game, Utah is averaging four more per contest than its opponents.

But there is more good news than bad with this team. Freshman Kalee Whipple is off to a great collegiate career as she picked up her first double-double of the year on Friday, scoring 10 points and corralling 12 rebounds.

Sophomore guard Morgan Warburton also had a stellar night as she scored a career-high 25 points, grabbed six boards and dished out five assists.

“Each experience makes (Warburton) stronger and that much more prepared,” Elliott said. “I think she feels she’s getting better every day.”

Utah will first go up against the Big East’s Pittsburgh–you may remember the Panthers’ football team as the lackeys that were destroyed by the Utes in the Fiesta Bowl. Pittsburgh is undefeated at 3-0.

While Utah is a young team, the Panthers are children. Pitt started two freshmen, two sophomores and a junior in its recent win over across-town rival Duquesne. The Utes start one freshman, one sophomore, two juniors and a senior.

Utah will then face either Boise State, Elliott’s alma mater, or Oregon on Saturday.

Utah is going into these games without much information about the teams it is playing. At this point in the season, scouting reports don’t offer much help and some schools won’t help opponents out by giving them game videos, Elliott said.

Utah’s next home game will be on Dec. 1, when they take on Long Beach State at 7 p.m.