Utes alone on top, Filipe recovering from ankle injury

By By Natalie Dicou

By Natalie Dicou

Before last Saturday’s big game between Utah and BYU, the rival schools sat atop the MWC standings together, tied at 6-0. But the Utes, who sent the Cougars packing with a double-digit defeat, don’t have to share the top spot any longer.

Now at 7-0 in league play, Utah is at the MWC’s summit and has a chance to go for a clean sweep of the conference on Thursday when it takes on a solid Wyoming team that has picked up impressive victories over New Mexico and TCU, but fell to BYU by three.

As for the Utes, their spirits are sky- high as they approach February–the crucial month in college basketball that sets the stage for “March Madness” and marks the midway point of the conference schedule.

The Utes do have at least one concern on their minds: the health of their top rebounder, Joh-Teena Filipe.

Filipe twisted her ankle with nine minutes to go in the rough-and-tumble BYU game on Saturday. After being iced down and taped up, Filipe hobbled back onto the court in the final moments of the game.

This week, Filipe’s practice has been limited, head coach Elaine Elliott said.

“We hope to have her Thursday,” Elliott said.

Filipe, who scores an average of 10 points and grabs 6.7 rebounds a game, is a vital power forward who plays much bigger than her 6-foot-1 stature.

The Utes will go up against Wyoming (14-5 overall, 5-2 in MWC) on the Cowgirls’ turf–where they have yet to lose this season–on Friday at 7 p.m.

The Utes will then get a brief reprieve from the bitter cold when they travel to sunny San Diego where they’ll take on the Aztecs, who the Utes last edged out by three points at the Huntsman Center on Jan. 4.