Morgan Warburton scored 21 points in her final regular season home game for Utah.
March 4, 2009
SALT LAKE CITY - The Utah women's basketball team clinched a share of the Mountain West Conference regular-season title with a 57-54 victory over New Mexico on Wednesday, March 4.
It is the Utes (20-8, 13-2 MWC) seventh regular-season championship in the 10 years of the conference. Utah also earns its 20th victory. It is the 19th time in head coach Elaine Elliott's career that she has reached 20 wins.
New Mexico (19-9, 8-7 MWC) got off to a strong start and took as much as a six-point lead early in the game. However, the Utes continued to battle. Down 28-23 with 5:05 remaining, Utah closed out the half on an 11-2 run to take a 34-30 lead going into the locker room. Morgan Warburton had 11 points of the half - including seven in the final drive of the half.
Although the Utes jumped out to as much as a 10-point lead in the second half, both teams tightened up defensively and had long stretches with no field goals. Frantic back-and-forth scoring in the final five minutes of the half kept New Mexico close down the stretch, although the Utes held a slight overall advantage.
With a minute remaining, UNM's Amanda Best cut the score to a point, 55-54, with a layup. Utah's Janita Badon had a shot blocked on the other end of the floor, and the Lobos called a timeout when they got the ball back. Amy Beggin missed her three-point basket with 11 seconds remaining, and Badon got the rebound and was immediately fouled. She hit both of her free throws with nine seconds on the clock to put the Utah advantage back up to three, 57-54. Beggin, who was heavily guarded in the final seconds, hurled a desperation three-pointer at the buzzer that was wide of its mark.
Warburton was also strong in the final five minutes, scoring seven points of Utah's final 11 points in the game. Kalee Whipple also scored two points in the final minutes.
Utah plays its final regular season game on Saturday, March 7, against TCU at noon (CT).