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The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

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Women?s basketball: Utes try to win conference outright at TCU

By Quinn Wilcox, Staff Writer

Wednesday’s win over New Mexico guaranteed Utah a share of the Mountain West Conference Championship8212;but why share when you can have the whole thing?

The Utes will attempt to win the MWC title outright this Saturday as they take on the TCU Horned Frogs in Fort Worth, Texas.

If Utah wins, it will be the second straight MWC regular season championship for Elaine Elliott’s bunch, and Utah will get that coveted No. 1 seed in the conference tournament.

A loss would make things a little dicey.

San Diego State would then potentially have the chance to tie Utah in the conference with a 13-3 record, and depending on how the tiebreaker goes, the Aztecs might steal the No. 1 slot in the MWC tournament from the Utes.

Any way you slice it, the 57-54 win over the Lobos was a real testament to how dominant the Utah women’s basketball program has become. That win gave the Utes their seventh conference crown in the Mountain West’s 10 seasons of existence.
“It’s really great to be a part of a program that does that,” said Morgan Warburton. “But I don’t want to share (the conference title) at all. And I don’t think anyone on this team does. We’re all looking forward to Saturday.”

TCU won’t make it easy for Utah to win the conference title outright.

TCU has arguably the best player in the conference not named Warburton in Helena Sverrisdottir. The sophomore from Iceland leads the Horned Frogs in points scored, averaging 15.8 point per game. TCU can also turn to T. K. LaFleur or Emily Carter for points. LaFleur and Carter average 14.7 points per game and 11.6 points per game, respectively. What makes the Frogs so difficult to defend is the trio of Sverrisdottir, LaFleur and Carter shoots at least 37 percent from the 3-point line. In fact, LaFleur connects on more than 40 percent of her attempts.

Utah knows that Sverrisdottir will be the main player to focus on. She lit up Utah in the Huntsman Center the last time the two teams met with 27 points, as well as grabbing nine boards and dishing out four assists.

“They’re going to be gunning for us since it’s their home court,” Warburton said. “And Sverrisdottir is a great player. She really had a good game against us last time out. But I think we’re ready to step it up and prepare differently for them. We just need to have our intensity with us and we can finish on top.”

For Elliott, her main focus will be on getting her team to not ease up after clinching a share of the title. After the New Mexico game, she harped on her team needing to play with the same passion they had on senior day.

“Our team has a lot of pride,” Elliott said. “We want to go down and play well. I want them to have the same passion and love and energy and effort, and if those things are present, then we are going to go for it. The New Mexico game was perhaps the pressure game since we were at home, but road play is tough; especially going against TCU is very tough.”

Utah’s last regular season game will start at 11 a.m. on Saturday.

After the showdown with the Horned Frogs, the Utes will head to Las Vegas and attempt to add a MWC tournament championship to their regular season championship, which starts March 10.

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