The Lady Utes head to Nebraska on Thursday for their first road game of the season. The Utes will take on the Creighton Bluejays and No. 16 Nebraska Cornhuskers as they try to build on their season opening win at home against San Jose State.
The Utes pulled out a tough one last Friday at the Huntsman center, overcoming San Jose State 100-87 in overtime. Senior forward Taryn Wicijowski, rebounded nicely from her exhibition game injury scare, scoring 36 points to go along with 19 rebounds. It was Wicijowski’s career high for points and also moved her to 10th all time for Utah women’s basketball in career points scored with 1,494. The future of the program was also on display as freshman center Joeseta Fatuesi just missed a double double in her first game with 14 points and 9 rebounds, snagging Pac-12 freshman of the week honors.
On Thursday, the Utes head to Omaha to take on the Creighton Blue Jays. Creighton is coached by Jim Flanery and is entering their second season in the newly aligned Big East. Creighton was a perennial power in the old Missouri Valley Conference and proved to be a quality Big East member last year finishing with a 12-6 conference record. The Bluejays are coming off a 20-win season in which they were bounced in the second round of the NIT by South Dakota State. They are led by junior guard Marissa Janning and sophomore forward Brianna Rollerson. The Bluejays dropped their season opener at home Saturday to Witchita State 65-56 before avenging their NIT loss on Tuesday against South Dakota State, edging them 88-81.
On Sunday, Utah takes on the No. 16-ranked Nebraska Cornhuskers in Lincoln. The Cornhuskers are coming of a 26-7 season in which they earned a fourth seed in the NCAA tournament. The Huskers were upset in the second round of the tournament in a close defeat to BYU 80-76. This season, the Huskers are led in scoring by junior guard Rachel Theriot, averaging 17.3 points per game. Senior forward Emily Cady provides the inside presence averaging 9 points and 7.5 rebounds per game.The Huskers have rolled in their first two games of the year beating Pepperdine 100-65 and Alcorn State 83-49.
This weekend's trip to Nebraska should prove tough for a young Utes squad still trying to find themselves. The veterans will need to lead the charge as it will be the first road experience for the talented freshman. Look for the team to rely on Wicijowski and sophomore forward Malia Nawahine for scoring and junior point guard Danielle Rodriguez to distribute the ball. The Thursday game against Creighton is the more winnable of the two games, and a win at Nebraska would be a considerable upset. The road trip should provide a good gauge of what to expect from the Utes this season. Coming back to Salt Lake with a split and a 2-1 record should be considered a success.