Women’s Hoops: Utes seek redemption against Golden Gophers (12/7)

By By Natalie Dicou

By Natalie Dicou

The U women’s basketball team will try to get its three-game road swing back on track Saturday when it pays a visit to Minnesota for a meeting with the Golden Gophers.

After breezing past Fresno State (0-6) to start the trip, the Utes (5-3) stumbled facing Southern California (4-2). The Women of Troy handed Utah a 17-point loss.

“It’s a tough stretch,” Utah head coach Elaine Elliott said. “Six road games out of seven in a stretch is very difficult, so I’m not displeased (with Utah’s effort against USC).”

Prior to the road trip, Utah played in a three-day, three-game tournament in Oahu, Hawaii, where it went 2-1, the lone loss coming against Marist in overtime.

Riding a four-game winning streak, the Utes met up with USC on Monday. The Women of Troy dominated the Utes on the boards in the first half, 22-11. Many were offensive rebounds that gave the Women of Troy a second chance and put more pressure on the Utes to make shots.

“When you clean up the boards, every shot isn’t do-or-die,” Elliott said, sighing. “That’s kind of what happens (when you don’t rebound). Your kids start feeling that, and it can’t be that way. It can’t be about, ‘Every shot has to go in.’ It’s got to be about being comfortable taking shots and knowing that your bigs are going to get you some boards.”

Lifted by Morgan Warburton’s hot shooting, the Utes made a run that narrowed the gap to six points, but ultimately they couldn’t get over the hump and dropped a 62-45 decision.

Saturday afternoon will give the Utes a chance to redeem themselves against a tough opponent.

Minnesota (8-2), out of the Big Ten, started its 2007-2008 campaign with a string of six wins. The Gophers’ biggest victory came against a ranked Louisville team, beating it by five points to improve their record to 5-0.

Minnesota is tough to beat on its home court. Under head coach Pam Borton, the Gophers are 32-3 when playing against non-conference opponents in Minneapolis.

After they wrap up a three-game road swing against the Gophers, the Utes head home for three games at the Huntsman Center against Utah State, Saint Mary’s College and Weber State before taking eight days off for Christmas.

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