Women hoopsters on a roll

By By Natalie Dicou

By Natalie Dicou

The women’s basketball teams of Utah and Colorado State couldn’t be coming from more different worlds.

The Utes are flying high, having just edged out New Mexico, a nationally ranked team, on the road Sunday.

Meanwhile–in the pit of despair–is Colorado State, which got absolutely destroyed by TCU by a whopping 50 points on Saturday.

Losses don’t come much more brutally than that in college basketball. And to make matters worse for the Rams, tonight they meet up with Utah, a team that has come out on top in eight of its last 10 contests–quite a roll considering the Utes started the year at 1-4.

But Utah, which narrowly topped a so-so San Diego State team last Thursday, won’t be able to simply show up, smile at the fans and drive out of Fort Collins victorious.

In Utah’s game versus San Diego State a week ago, the Utes threw the ball away 15 times in the opening half and shot just 26 percent from the field in the first 20 minutes. The Utes were forced to rally from a 13-point halftime deficit to pull out a three-point win against SDSU, which was picked to finish seventh out of nine teams in the MWC in a preseason poll.

“We have a tendency to do things (well in a game) and not show it in the next game,” said Joh-Teena Filipe, who leads the Utes in rebounding and averages 11 points a contest.

Utah has recently undergone an attitude adjustment, according to Filipe.

“Our new goal is to just not get into our own heads,” Filipe said. “Make a mistake–who cares? Shake it off. Just give your teammate a handshake.”

Focusing on emotional responses has already had a positive effect on the team, coach Elaine Elliott said.

The Rams (6-8, 1-1 MWC) were picked to finish ninth in the poll–dead last. With only four players returning from last season’s group that finished at a paltry 2-14 in conference play, CSU isn’t expected to make much of a splash this season.

The Rams did, however, manage to defeat fellow MWC basement-dweller Air Force by nine earlier this week.

One factor contributing to CSU’s woes is the team’s youth.

The Utes are considered a young squad because of their shortage of seniors and because at least three freshmen usually play significant minutes.

As for CSU, seven freshmen joined four upperclassmen this season. With only three non-freshmen in the core of players who see much action, there isn’t always a lot of experience out on the floor for CSU.

The Utes will try for their 10th win of the season and Elliott will go for her 500th victory in a 24-year career at the helm of a team that has, under her stewardship, blossomed into a nationally recognized program.

Tip-off is slated for 7 p.m. in Fort Collins.

Lennie Mahler

Ute head coach Elaine Elliot will get her 500th win if the Utes defeat Colorado State tonight.

Lennie Mahler

Kalee Whipple takes a shot in the Utes’ Jan.1 win against San Diego State. The Utes face off against Colorado State Thursday in Fort Collins.