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The Daily Utah Chronicle

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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Utah crushes Weber

By Liz Frome

After spending the past two weekends in California, the Utes were finally back home in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, and they looked comfortable as they claimed a solid 56-41 over Weber State. The Utes came out of the locker room and took a large 16-2 lead over the Wildcats early in the first half, never looking back through the duration of the game.

Leading the attack against Weber in the first half were senior forwards Kalee Whipple and Halie Sawyer and freshman center Taryn Wicijowski. Wicijowski racked up a double-double before heading into the break with 10 points and 10 rebounds, leading the Utes in both categories after the first half.

“I think these past couple games, I’ve become more comfortable with the offense, what are good looks for me and what aren’t,” Wicijowski said.

The freshman starter shot 8 of 10 from the field, ending the night with 16 points and 14 rebounds. The double-double was the second of Wicijowski’s career, complementing her 13-point, 10-board performance in the Utes’ win over Minnesota in their first home game of the season Nov. 17.

In all but one of Utah’s games so far, Wicijowski has tallied double-digit scoring, with the exception coming in the Utes’ loss to UCLA, when she was held to five points.

Head coach Elaine Elliott said that with as few seniors as the Utes have on their roster this season, Wicijowski’s scoring is critical to win games.

“Taryn is obviously really good,” Elliott said. “We have to get her the ball.”

The Utes’ accumulated their largest lead of the game when they went up 24 on the Wildcats seven minutes into the second half.

Faced with its biggest deficit of the night, Weber started pressing with under 13 minutes left but couldn’t put enough pressure on the Utes to climb back into the game.

The Wildcats fought their way back to within 14 with just more than five minutes left, but Utah’s consistent scoring and rebounding gave them a strong finish to close out the game for their third win of the season, bringing their preseason record to an even 3-3.

Whipple said Utah’s ability to outrebound the Wildcats 51-29 on the night was a major component in the team’s win and something that has to continue for the Utes to have a successful season.

“If you want to win games, you have to rebound well,” Whipple said. “(You have to) play defense and rebound.”

Freshman guard Iwalani Rodrigues earned her first career start and ended the night with four points, two of which came off a last-second shot to put the Utes back up 15 at halftime after Weber’s Sarah Conner hit a 3-pointer just seconds before.

Elliott said the decision to start Rodrigues was made to see what guard Sasha McKinnon, the usual starter at guard, could provide the Utes with coming off the bench.

“I felt like if we got the pressure off (McKinnon) a little bit, just brought her off the bench, she could bring a defensive adjustment,” Elliott said.

Besides Utah’s regular starters, Rodrigues and sophomore center Mandy Munns were the only two athletes who put points on the board for the Utes. Whipple matched Wicijowski with 16 points, followed by sophomore point guard Janita Badon, who ended with 11.

Stringing two wins together, the Utes will try to continue their recent success as they take on Idaho State tonight at 7 p.m. in the Huntsman Center.

[email protected]

Tyler Cobb

Taryn Wicijowski had a double-double with 16 points and 14 rebounds during Tuesday?s matchup against Weber State. The Utes won 56-41 and will host Idaho State tonight at 7 p.m. in the Huntsman Center.

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