The loneliest number

By By Natalie Dicou

By Natalie Dicou

Despite Morgan Warburton’s career-high 26-point effort, the Wyoming Cowgirls-which had previously dropped 30 straight games to Utah-slipped by the Utes by a single point Thursday night in Laramie, ruining the Utes’ perfect league record and extending Wyoming’s home winning streak to nine straight games.

Sophomore guard Warburton single-handedly kept the Utes within striking distance, even as they fell into a 12-point halftime chasm.

The Utes found themselves facing a 7-0 deficit early in the game and never regained the lead, falling to Wyoming by a single gut-wrenching point.

During a valiant second half, Warburton willed her team to within one point when she nailed a three-pointer-her sixth of the night-with 19 seconds remaining in the game.

Warburton had a chance to tie the score on a drive to the hoop with seconds remaining but missed-and the referees, not surprisingly, choked on their whistles. Utah got to the line just six times in the game compared to 24 for Wyoming. Finally, with 13:25 to go in the second half, the Utes’ Brette Ulsaker made Utah’s first debut at the charity stripe.

“We’re used to getting to the free-throw line,” U head coach Elaine Elliott said. “We went to the rim hard and didn’t get the calls we needed to get.”

The game ended in a free-throw competition in which Cowgirl Amy Bolerjack nailed both of her free-throw attempts, icing the game for Wyoming and ending a 30-game Ute winning streak over the Cowgirls in the one-point heartbreaker.

Nothing seemed to be going the Utes’ way in the first half. Their shooting was horrific-they made just six field goals in the opening 20 minutes.

Even when Wyoming’s leading scorer, Hanna Zavecz, was forced to take an early seat after picking up her third foul after five minutes of play, the Utes could not capitalize on the Cowgirls’ misfortune.

Down by 12 at the half, the issue of pride arose in the locker room, Warburton said.

“We let them think they could handle us,” said Warburton, who has, without a doubt, claimed the Utes as her team.

In the second half, Utah was a different team-less lethargic and more determined-but in the end, the Utes couldn’t dig themselves out of the 16-point pit they dug for themselves in the earlygoing.

“We were out-hustled and out-rebounded in the first half,” Elliott lamented after the game.

“We’re not getting things out of our post,” Elliott said, perhaps in an attempt to spur power forward Joh-Teena Filipe into using her 6-foot-1 frame more effectively. The Utes struggled on the offensive boards, giving up unnecessary second-chance shots.

Filipe did, however, sustain an ankle injury in the BYU game Saturday and that may or may not have stilted her performance.

As for Warburton, after shooting 9-of-18 from the field and hitting an amazing 6-of-8 from beyond the three-point arc, she may be headed for another MWC Player of the Week honor.

Utah’s road trip continues as the Utes head to San Diego for a Saturday afternoon game where they’ll try to conquer the Aztecs for the second time this season.

Lennie Mahler