No. 6-ranked Arizona returns as the favorite in the women's softball Utah/Utah State Invitational this week at the Cottonwood Complex. The seven-team, round-robin event opens Thursday morning and continues through Saturday afternoon.

Arizona (35-16) is led by pitcher Ginnie Scheller, with an 11-2 record and 0.57 ERA and is the tourney's defending champion. Utah (19-21) features pitcher Paula Potter, the High Country Athletic Conference player of the week, who is 10-5 with a 1.92 ERA. Potter won three games last weekend. Outfielder Chriss Freeman is the leading hitter at .333. Utah State (24-21) has pitcher Terri Rice, 15-10 with a 2.30 ERA.Another tournament favorite is No. 20 Colorado State, with shortstop Teri Klement, batting .447. Other teams in the field are Ohio State (8-24), Nevada-Reno (9-16) and SUSC (7-15). Last April, Arizona became the first out-of-state winner in the five-year tournament history. Texas A&M was second, followed Utah and Utah State.

In Thursday games involving the host teams, Utah plays Nevada-Reno at 11 a.m. and faces SUSC at 1 p.m. and Utah State plays UNR at 1 p.m. and Arizona at 3 p.m. The complete round-robin schedule is on the Scoreboard. Saturday's play starts at 10 a.m., with the seven teams seeded into a final-day tournament format with the championship game at 4 p.m.