LAS VEGAS — It's probably the first time ever that the Utah women's basketball team made the lead story on ESPN's SportsCenter.

Too bad for them, though, it was because the Utes lost to an 0-16 Mountain West team in the first round of the conference tournament after going unbeaten at 16-0 in conference play.

The Utes tried to rationalize the loss without making excuses afterward.

"We're in a tough spot," said coach Elaine Elliott. "We're in a no-win spot."

The Utes knew they were in the NCAA Tournament with their sparkling 27-3 overall record coming into the tournament. And despite the loss, they should still get a very good seed, perhaps as high as No. 4, when the seedings are announced on Monday.

Without being asked, Elliott brought up the old idea of the blessing of breaking her team's 22-game winning streak before the NCAA Tournament to ease some of the pressure.

"Would it have been harder to keep winning going into the NCAAs?" Elliott asked. "We just want to try and put this where it best helps us and move on and use whatever happens to our benefit."

SHOWING SUPPORT: The Utah men's team made a special trip up to the Thomas & Mack Center on Wednesday afternoon to cheer on the U. women's team.

Coach Jim Boylen said he wanted to support the women and he, along with his coaches, joined the Ute men's players, who were all dressed in their black warmups, behind the south basket, near the Utah bench.

Alas, the men didn't bring much luck to the women, who lost for the first time in nearly three months.

OTHER SIDE OF TOWN: Seven of the nine schools in the tournament, as well as most of the media and conference officials, are staying at the South Point Hotel, approximately 10 miles south of the Thomas & Mack Center.

One school that isn't is BYU, which is staying at the luxurious J.W. Marriott Resort on the northwest side of town.

According to BYU athletic director Tom Holmoe, the hotel gives the school such a good rate, it's hard to pass up.

TECHNICALLY SPEAKING: CSU coach Tim Miles earned a technical in the Rams' win over Wyoming and told reporters it apparently doesn't take much to get in trouble with refs.

"Well-deserved, it was well-deserved. Anything you say you get in trouble."

On the call, Miles asked a ref if he saw a player stumble. "He said he didn't see it. And I said, 'You didn't see this?' And I stumbled and fell and showed my athleticism there."

BYU FUTILITY: Cougar women's coach Jeff Judkins looked at the stat sheet following BYU's loss to UNM and saw three Lobos scoring in double figures. "I had one on my team (Mallary Carling with 14). Last year and the year before that we had three, 27 of 30 games last year and we had three people in double figures. This year I can count on one hand when we had three players score double figures. We have to do a better job of balance."


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