Utah goes 1-2 in Marquette tourney

By Quinn Wilcox, Staff Writer

There was no rest or relaxation for the women’s basketball team during Thanksgiving break.

Utah traveled to Marquette, Wis. during the weekend to take part in the WCBA Classic. The Utes were in round-robin play with three other competitive teams: Gonzaga, 15th ranked Virginia, and tournament host Marquette.

Utah suffered close loses the first two days, losing to Virginia 65-57, and to Gonzaga 60-55.

The final day was more successful for the Utes, as they notched their second win of the season against Marquette, bringing their overall record to 2-4. Utah rallied from a 17-point deficit in the second half to defeat the Golden Eagles 79-76.

In the first day of action, the Utes played the heavily favored Cavaliers. It was Utah’s second game in a row against a top 15 opponent. Earlier in the week the Utes lost to Louisville in a hard-fought contest, 59-48. Friday was more of the same, as Virginia had too much fire power, winning 65-57.

Warburton led the Utes with 18 points. Katie King and Kalee Whipple each chipped in 10. The Cavaliers were led by Whitney Edwards, who had 15 on the night, including going 3-4 from three point range.

The key moment of the game was the beginning of the second half. Virginia went into the break up 28-22, and came out red hot. Virginia went on a 10-0 run, putting Utah in a huge hole at 38-22. The Utes were resilient, cutting the lead to four with 26 seconds left, but Virginia sunk its free throws to put the game out of reach. Turnovers were a problem again for the Utes, with 22 for the game.

The Utes lost 60-55 to Gonzaga in the second day of the tournament. Turnovers continued to haunt the Utes, as they committed 26 to Gonzaga’s 16. Kalee Whipple led all scorers with 16 points. Warburton was second on the team with points scored, at 13.

Utah’s defense helped keep the game close throughout the entire contest. Gonzaga only shot 30 percent as a team, including going 1-13 from the 3. Despite being rewarded the ball many times on careless Ute turnovers, Gonzaga could never pull away.

There were 14 lead changes during the game. The Bulldogs were able to seal the deal with 17 seconds left. Down 58-55, Warburton missed a tying 3-pointer, and Gonzaga’s Tiffanie Shives calmly sunk two free throws to close the deal.

Saturday was the highlight of the weekend. Utah went into halftime down 48-33 to the Golden Eagles of Marquette, but refused to fly back to Salt Lake City 0-3 and rallied in the second half to win 79-76.

“It was just a choice,” Whipple said in a statement. “We got in the locker room and we knew we weren’t playing how we should. It was a choice we made that we weren’t going to just play it out8212;that we wanted to fight and dig it out.”

Whipple had a career game, scoring 30 points to go along with nine boards. The 30-point night tied Whipple’s career high. Warburton was also hot from the field, going 5-7 from the 3 en route to 19 points. Marquette was led by Krystal Ellis with 23 points.

The Utes’ come-from-behind win broke their four-game losing streak.

“We’re in games against extremely good teams and we are far from what I believe will be our best ball,” said head coach Elaine Elliot.

Utah will have the entire week to rest and work on its game. Its next opponent will be NAIA school Westminster College on Dec. 9.

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