Utes earn share of title despite loss to TCU Frogs

By Quinn Wilcox, Staff Writer

Another school record attained by senior Morgan Warburton couldn’t stop TCU in the last game of the regular season.

Utah was plagued by cold-shooting all afternoon, as they only converted on 28.6 percent of their field goal attempts en route to the 53-47 loss. Utah (20-9, 13-3 MWC) will share the regular season title with San Diego State, who beat UNLV Saturday to earn a piece of the Mountain West Conference title.

Warburton broke another school record in her last regular season game, by breaking Shona Thorburn’s record for made free throws. The senior from Helper, Utah went four-for-four from the charity stripe to up her ante of free throws made to 413.

Offensively, not one player shot above 50 percent for the Utes. Leading performers for the game were Helena Sverrisdottir for TCU with 20 points and 10 rebounds, while Halie Sawyer led Utah with 12 points and 10 boards.

Things couldn’t have gotten off to a better start for the Utes. After a couple of slow starts in their last few games, Utah came storming out of the gates in Fort Worth, Texas. Warburton and Kalee Whipple both hit two 3-pointers as they helped propel their team to an early 25-12 lead. TCU would respond to close out the half with a 13-3 run, to get the score at halftime to 28-25.

The second half was a seesaw battle, with neither team being able to get much of a run going until the eight-minute mark in the second. After Whipple broke a 38-38 tie with a lay-up, TCU went on a 11-3 run to give them a 49-43 lead with three minutes and 58 seconds left in regulation-it was a lead they would never relinquish.

Utah had a couple of chances late in the game to tie things up or take the lead, but shots weren’t falling. Utah’s two star players, Whipple and Warburton, went a combined 6-for-24 from the field. Warburton’s last made field goal came near the seventeen mark in the first half. Warburton would finish with 10 points on the game.

TCU’s had a leg up on the Utes in an important area.
TCU shot 17-for-20 from the line, while Utah only got to the charity stripe eight times, as they went 6-for-8 as a team.

TK LaFleur particularly had much success getting to the line, as she went 7-8 from the free throw line.

If there is one positive to take away from this game for the Utes, it would be their dominance on the boards, as they outrebounded the Frogs 51-38. Utah has always been productive on the glass, as they lead the MWC in rebounding margin at plus-7.4. Utah’s two leading rebounders Katie King and Sawyer were back to their old selves, grabbing 12 rebounds and 10 rebounds, respectively.

Utah will still get the No. 1 seed and a bye through to the semi-finals in the conference tournament thanks to its 13-3 record. However, a good tournament performance will be a must for the Utes if they hope to secure a spot in the NCAA Tournament. A low RPI rating of 61 will make it difficult for the Utes to clinch an at-large bid if they fail to win the automatic bid that comes with winning the conference tournament.

The No. 1-seeded Utes will play its first game of the tournament on this Friday, March 13 at noon in Las Vegas, Nev.

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Erik Daenitz

Morgan Warburton broke the school record for made free throws Saturday. Despite Warburton?s record the Utes lost to TCU, 53-47, to close out the season.