Of the many things her team has accomplished this season a national ranking, a team-record 19-game winning streak and a 13-0 start in Mountain West Conference play Elaine Elliott is most eager to discuss Utah's league championship.
The Utes (24-3) enter today's televised showdown with preseason MWC favorite Wyoming (23-4) needing just one win in their final three games to claim an outright conference title. They've already secured at least a share of it.
"We don't want to share that thing," said Elliott, who has led Utah to 15 regular-season crowns in her 25 seasons as head coach. "We're up three (games) with three to play, and that's good odds. That's good odds to clinch it outright."
And that, she added, is the Utes' primary motivation right now.
"League championships are big. People just don't get how hard that is to do," said Elliott. "We've really set a standard that we're extremely proud of. So to add another one, we're really proud of that."
Winning the title outright, though, isn't the only thing on the line this afternoon in the Huntsman Center. Elliott points out it's a good opportunity for both nationally ranked teams to improve their impending NCAA tournament seeds.
"It's another Top 25 win for whoever gets that one, and that's big in the whole scheme of determining seeds and placement in nationals," she explained. "So that's extremely important."
There's also a revenge factor in the mix.
Utah defeated Wyoming 60-59 in Laramie on Jan. 30 winning on a late 3-pointer by Morgan Warburton.
"I'm pretty sure they're going to want to come in here and do the same to us," said Kalee Whipple, who had 19 points and 10 rebounds in the Utes' 68-53 win over TCU on Wednesday. "We'll just do what we can and keep playing our game."During Utah's win streak, the Utes have outscored opponents by an average of 19 points while shooting 48.4 percent from the field, 43.7 percent from 3-point range and 77 percent from the free throw line.
No. 24 Wyoming (23-4, 11-3) at No. 15 Utah (24-3, 13-0)
Today, 3 p.m.
TV: The mtn.
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