Women’s Hoops: Utah hosts BYU tonight at 8

By By Natalie Dicou

By Natalie Dicou

The BYU women’s basketball team would love nothing more than to put its 80-49 loss to Utah on Jan. 19 behind it. The Cougars will get their chance for revenge and a crack at Utah’s 16-game winning streak tonight when they meet up with their archrivals in the Huntsman Center.

The last time the two teams met, the Cougars left the court humiliated after falling into an early 22-0 hole in front of the largest crowd ever to attend a BYU women’s basketball game.

One month later, the two teams clash again, but the circumstances have changed. Back then, the Utes were 2-0 in conference play — a far cry from the 10-0 position where they now stand — and the Cougars were the defending conference champs. The power has shifted, and the Utes (21-3, 10-0 in MWC) have climbed to No. 19 in the national rankings while BYU (12-10, 6-4 in MWC) is in the midst of a mediocre season.

Anything can happen when these two teams meet, and Utah players know that.

However, the Cougars will need to play a near-perfect game if they want to knock off the Utes. Elaine Elliott’s team has proven that it can win even when it’s not at its best. On Saturday, Utah played an ugly game against San Diego State on the road. They struggled through much of the game and shot below 40 percent from the field for just the second time all season. They also had 13 first-half turnovers.

After the game, Elliott said she was “disturbed” by what she called her team’s “lack of intelligence.” Despite the foggy-brained play, Utah still found a way to pull out a fairly comfortable 63-51 win.

Tipoff is set for 8 p.m.

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Lennie Mahler

No. 18 Utes look to whip up on limping Cougars.