Utah Tech women’s basketball came up short in conference home opener

The Utah Tech women’s basketball team on offense going in for a basket. The Trailblazers won in a close game against California Baptist University 72-69 Dec 6. Cora Mark | Sun News Daily

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The Utah Tech University women’s basketball team is 1-1 in Western Athletic Conference play after losing at home to California Baptist University Dec. 6 with a score of 78-69.

Fresh off a victory from the previous game, Utah Tech opted for a strategic rest day to preserve their bodies and fine-tune their offensive plays. The emphasis in practice during the week centered around improved ball movement and reading the opposing defense. However, the game against CBU proved to be a challenge.

Utah Tech has a historical series record of 4-16 against CBU, with a home record of 2-7. Notably, two closely contested matches occurred last year. The most recent one culminated in an 81-72 defeat in the quarterfinal round of the 2023 WAC Tournament held in Las Vegas.

Heading into the fourth quarter, the Trailblazers were trailing by 11. Macie Warren, a redshirt sophomore history major from Lehi, said the team maintained a steadfast mindset. She said given their style of play, the game was far from over.

“We tell ourselves it’s two, five-minute games,” Warren said. “That is what we stuck to in that fourth quarter was taking it five minutes at a time, chipping away at the lead they had.” 

Warren scored a season-high against CBU with 26 points, just three points shy of her career-high of 29 points. With 11 of her points accounted for in the fourth quarter, Utah Tech tried inching its way to victory.

Assistant coach Matt Thune expressed pride in the team’s performance despite the loss. He said the players want to win every time they step out on the court. 

“We’re happy with the effort we gave tonight,” Thune said. “We had it within two points where we were at the line having a chance to tie it but just didn’t go our way.”

With pride in the players’ dedication, the focus now shifts to addressing areas for improvement in practice, Thune said. As they prepare for the next set of games, the team aims to channel their energy and determination into securing a victory.

A notable highlight of the game was a player’s achievement in entering the record books. Breaunna Gillen, a fifth-year senior exercise science major from West Jordan, became the all-time scoring leader for Utah Tech women’s basketball. Gillen said it was an honor to have accomplished this feat.

“There’s a lot of great basketball players in the record book, and I’m just happy to be one of the ones in there as well,” Gillen said.