Kalee Whipple scored 12 points in the first half Wednesday.
Feb. 28, 2007
PROVO, Utah - Extended scoreless stretches at the beginning and end of the game doomed the University of Utah women's basketball team Wednesday night at the Marriott Center. The Utes dropped a 59-55 decision to BYU in a battle for first place in the Mountain West Conference.
Utah (17-11, 10-5 MWC) missed its first seven shot attempts, while BYU (21-7, 12-3) jumped out to a quick, 10-0 lead. Kalee Whipple (Fr., Hiko, Nev.) came off the Ute bench to spark a Utah comeback, however. Whipple scored all 12 of her points in the first half. Her jumper with 10:11 left in the first half gave Utah its first lead of the game, 18-17.
Utah had two leads of three points in the first half. A triple from Whipple with 3:37 left until halftime put the Utes on top 25-22. But the Cougars ended the first half with an 8-3 spurt and took a 30-28 advantage into the halftime locker room.
BYU pushed its lead to five early in the second half. But the Cougars were unable to pull away. A Morgan Warburton (Soph., Helper, Utah) three-point play pulled Utah back even, 35-35. The Utes trailed by two midway through the second half. But Heidi Carlsen (Sr., St. George, Utah) single-handedly put Utah on top by three. She hit a jumper in the lane and followed that with a three-pointer on Utah's next offensive possession, giving her team a 47-44 lead.
Back-to-back three-pointers from BYU's Shawnee Slade and Mallary Gillespie regained the lead for the Cougars. BYU would never trail again. Utah trailed by two, 57-55, when Carlsen converted one of two at the free-throw line. The Utes got four consecutive stops at the defensive end of the floor, but failed to take advantage.
The Cougars put the final nail in the coffin when Slade hit a jumper with 17 seconds left in the game and the shot clock about to expire. Her bucket gave BYU its 59-55 lead and the eventual four-point win. Utah did not score for the final 3:45 of the contest and didn't have a field goal for the final 5:36.
Gillespie scored 15 points for BYU to lead all scorers. Dani Wright had a double-double with 11 points and 12 rebounds for the Cougars, while Lauren Riley chipped in 10 points. Utah was led by Whipple and Warburton, who scored 12 apiece. Marie Warner (Jr., Hamilton, Ont.) tacked on 10 off the bench.
Utah is in action Saturday, wrapping up the regular season at home against the Wyoming Cowgirls. Three Utah seniors - Carlsen, Shauna Murphy and Camie Oakey - will be honored before their final home game. Tipoff for the Ute-Cowgirl clash is slated for 3 p.m. at the Huntsman Center.