The streak is over

By By Natalie Dicou

By Natalie Dicou

Games-though coaches rarely talk about it-come in different varieties. There are “hope-to-win” games and “should-win” games. On Saturday, the U women’s basketball team (15-9, 8-3) hosted Colorado State (7-16, 2-9) in a “must-win” game, which the Utes pulled off, winning 64-49.

After dropping three straight contests, a fourth straight loss may have had devastating effects on the remainder of Utah’s season-especially if it had come against the sub-par Rams. And to add a bit more pressure, a loss would have put a damper on the historic retiring of Kim Smith’s No. 4 jersey at halftime.

“We knew we were a good team and we could beat people,” U freshman Kalee Whipple said. “We just had to get back into that groove we were in before.”

Whipple, who scored 14 points and pulled down eight rebounds, doesn’t think the Utes have completely found their way back into their “groove” but said, “We’re getting there. Each day we’re getting better.”

CSU managed to play the Utes tough in the first half but fell apart in the second. With two minutes to go in the first half, the Utes and Rams shared a 20-20 tie. But three Ute freshmen found the basket in Utah’s final few possessions, giving the Utes a 26-21 lead at the break.

The Utes opened the second half with a 12-2 run and surged into a comfortable lead. Utah led by 23 at its peak before settling for a 15-point win.

Morgan Warburton, who led all scorers with 16 points, was one of four Utes who scored in double figures. Marie Warner chipped in 12 points off the bench.

CSU’s Sara Hunter and Marilyn Moulton combined to score more than half of their team’s points-contributing 15 and 10, respectively.

Heidi Carlsen, who added 10 points to the Utah cause, said that during the three-game skid, the Utes “weren’t there physically (and) mentally,” and said that the victory over CSU will be a helpful tool in rebuilding team confidence.

“We relied more on each other than on ourselves (in the CSU game compared with recent games),” Carlsen said. When a play broke down or the Utes turned the ball over, individual Utes didn’t blame themselves as much, Carlsen said.

“We came together as a team in this game,” she said.

While “playing as a team” isn’t a stat that can be quantified on the stat sheet, one stat that closely relates to team play is turnovers. Utah’s 12 giveaways equaled its second-lowest turnover count of the season.

Five games are left on Utah’s regular season schedule. Each one is crucial in terms of the Utes’ postseason hopes.

“Every day we have to bring the same mentality to practice,” Carlsen said. “If we do that, I think we’ll be fine when it comes game time.”

Utah will host UNLV on Wednesday. When the Utes and Rebels last clashed on Jan. 13 in Las Vegas, Utah dealt the Rebels a 12-point loss.

Utah will travel to Fort Worth, Texas, to challenge TCU on Saturday. In the teams’ last meeting, Utah stole an 11-point win.

Lennie Mahler

Utah’s Tokumura Hennasea and Marie Warner fight with Colorado State’s Marilyn Moulton as the Utes clench a 64-49 victory in the Huntsman Center on Saturday.