Tonight: Ute women face elite challenge
Published: January 12, 2012 08:01AM
Updated: January 12, 2012 08:01AM
Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune Lady Ute, Iwalani Rodrigues grabs a pass, asHaley Hall, (33) defends for the Cougars, in basketball action, BYU vs Utah, in Provo, Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Brief and to the point, Utah women’s basketball coach Anthony Levrets didn’t embark on a long diatribe when talking about Stanford.

The Cardinal are ranked fourth in the country. They have one of the best players in the nation in Nnemkadi Ogwumike, a power forward capable of taking over games by herself. And, of course, there is the pedigree of Final Fours.

Yes, Thursday night should be a big challenge for the Utes.

“They’re a good team,” Levrets said, before a long pause.

“Seriously, they are clearly the best program in the west, and have been for a long time. They do a great job of recruiting and getting great players who epitomize the meaning of being a student-athlete.”

Utah is 8-6 on the season, a good team, but a team which has problems scoring at times. However, just like last season, the Ute’s have been able to defend and do it well. Defeating Washington 49-36 is proof of that.

Janita Badon leads the Pac-12 in assists and is a nightly threat to garner a triple-double. Utah’s been injury-plagued this season, with the latest being Diana Rolniak’s sprained ankle that could keep her out for up to three weeks.

“We’re going to have to take care of the ball, score inside and defend them,” Levrets said. “I think we can take care of the ball. I think we can score and defend. The question is whether or not we can rebound. We have to be able to get tough rebounds.”