SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah women’s basketball team returns to Salt Lake City for its Pac-12 home opener Friday, welcoming No. 4-ranked Stanford into the Huntsman Center.
The Utes, who are 7-6 overall, closed nonconference play on a five-game winning streak before dropping their first two Pac-12 games in Southern California last weekend. Utah fell to UCLA, 55-38, last Friday and then to USC, 55-47, on Sunday.
Meanwhile, Stanford (13-1) is in the midst of a 12-game winning streak, giving up its only loss to top-ranked Connecticut at the beginning of the season. The Cardinal defeated Oregon (96-66) and Oregon State (89-67) in its first venture into 2014 conference play.
In spite of the losses, the Utes were stellar in multiple facets of last weekend’s games. They outrebounded the Southern California teams, 96-70, and held them to just 16.7 percent (3 for 18) from behind the 3-point line.Comment on this story
Utah has been led all season by the play of senior forward Michelle Plouffe and freshman forward Emily Potter. Both have been honored by the Pac-12 — the former as a player of the week and the latter as a freshman of the week — and both are leading the team in scoring (17.9 and 11.5 points per game, respectively) and rebounding (10.7 and 6.4 rpg, respectively).
Stanford also boasts a return star in 6-foot-4 senior Chiney Ogwumike. A two-time All-American and member of USA Basketball, Ogwumike tops the Cardinal with 26.6 points and 11.6 rebounds per game. She has already been named the Pac-12 Player of the Week five times in nine weeks this season.
Stanford Cardinal at Utah Utes
Huntsman Center, Salt Lake City
Friday, 6 p.m.
TV: Pac-12 Networks
Radio: 700 AM
Sarah Thomas earned a degree in Mathematics from the University of Utah and is currently pursuing an MBA at Westminster College. She has been covering sports for the Deseret News since 2008.