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Utah hopes to cap improbable run in WNIT with title

Published April 4, 2013 10:08 pm

WNIT • Utah to play on the road for the fifth time in six tournament games.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

They can hardly feel the fatigue.

At this point, the season has become a dream ride for the Utah women. A previously mediocre year has morphed into something to be cherished.

A season that seemed destined to end without fanfare has become the talk of the state.

They are Utah's last team standing, and a team with the chance to land some bragging rights for the Pac-12. While California prepares for the Final Four in New Orleans on Saturday, the Utes will attempt to claim the WNIT title with a win over Drexel in Philadelphia.

"This is a resilient bunch and a group that will never quit," Utah coach Anthony Levrets said. "This is something that these girls will have the opportunity to remember for the rest of their lives. I couldn't be more proud of the girls. They have overcome so much adversity to get this far."

In getting this far, the Utes defeated Kansas State in overtime on Wednesday. They overcame Wildcat runs. They defended and got stops when they needed to. They held KSU star Brittany Chambers to a miserable shooting night. They received great performances from Michelle Plouffe and Taryn Wicijowski.

And then they got on a plane and flew to Chicago. The schedule has been hectic. This will be the fifth road game in six tournament appearances for Utah. Levrets says that the legs are weary, and that the explosion on the court isn't what it once was three weeks ago.

But these Utes are running on adrenaline right now. They have made it clear that the goal is to get to the NCAA Tournament and win championships. But the opportunity to play for a national title on Saturday afternoon will be an honor for Utah all the same.

"At first, this felt like just a few extra games," Levrets said. "Then after the second or third game it felt like a real tournament. We got into it and now we would like nothing more than the opportunity to win it. It's going to be tough because Drexel is a very good team. We have to play very well to have a chance." —

Utah at Drexel

P ChampionshipAt Philadelphia

When • Saturday, 1 p.m.

Radio • 700 AM (coverage beings at 12:45 p.m.)