Utah looks for win against Utah State to begin regular season

By By , Staff Writer

By Liz Frome, Staff Writer

After an easy 81-40 win in its exhibition game against Chadron State last week, Utah’s women’s basketball team will be looking to get another victory in its first regular season game of the year against Utah State on Friday.

“Utah State’s gonna be good,” said starting forward Kalee Whipple. “They’re gonna be waiting for some revenge.”

The last time the Utes and Aggies met, in 2007, the game ended in a 70-38 win for Utah.
Morgan Warburton, Utah’s senior guard who graduated at the end of last season, had 21 points, six rebounds and two steals in the matchup, and was followed by guard Leilani Mitchell, who recorded 12 points and seven rebounds along with 10 points from forward Katie King.

Since Warburton, Mitchell and King are no longer on the Utes’ roster, the team’s young new athletes will have to step up if Utah wants to claim another win.

The Utes have just two returning players from last season8212;Whipple and fellow forward Halie Sawyer. Head coach Elaine Elliott said she expects the two veterans to lead the team and help the younger athletes develop. The Utes’ roster has six freshmen and two sophomores to go along with the two returning seniors, and Elliott said she expects them to be ready to play at any time.

The team got off to a good start last week as every available athlete on the roster saw playing time, with a few doing big things for the Utes.

Freshman Taryn Wicijowski proved she was ready for her first collegiate challenge against the Eagles, finishing the night with nine rebounds and 13 points.

“It was a good game altogether, I think, for the team,” Whipple said. “We played really well, we watched film, we saw a lot of stuff we need to get better at, but it was good. It was a fun game.”

Sophomore point guard Janita Badon also had a big first night for the Utes, tallying the rebounds to go along with 17 points.

“Janita’s a great leader,” Whipple said. “She stepped up a lot from (only starting four games) last year…to being a team leader and our point guard. I’m really proud of her.”
Badon said she felt comfortable running the offense and was pleased with a lot of what the team did as they looked back at film this week, but said the team will be better this week if they’re able to communicate more on the court.

Whipple voiced the same concern and said the team will be trying to improve that against Utah State and throughout the rest of the Utes’ preseason schedule.

“We need to communicate better,” Whipple said. “We’re doing a lot of good things, we’re just not communicating it all the time. It’s always a step up when you start official play and when games count. I think everything needs to be stepped up.”

The Utes will look to extend their 27-0 series record against Utah State in Logan at 7 p.m. The game will be aired on CW30 Saturday at 12:30 p.m.

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