WAC tournament loss ends the Trailblazers’ season

The Utah Tech University women’s basketball team ended their season in the Western Athletic Conference tournament with a defeat to the University of Texas at Arlington March 13, ending with a score of 72-57. With the closure of the 2023-24 season, there is high anticipation for what the Trailblazers will bring next season. | Photo courtesy of UTSA

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The Utah Tech University women’s basketball team wrapped up the final chapter of their journey this season with a loss in the quarterfinals of the Western Athletic Conference Tournament.

The Trailblazers had an 18-14 record this season, and they were able to make it to their second consecutive WAC conference tournament. 

The team set themselves up with a first-round bye in the tournament because they defeated Stephen F. Austin State University on Senior Night March 9 for the final conference game of the regular season.

Alyson Deaver, a sophomore population health major from Sumner, Washington, said: “My favorite moment [of the season] was probably beating SFA. It was our final conference game and I was stoked to be able to get the bye in the tournament.”

After the Trailblazers’ bye, they faced off against The University of Texas at Arlington March 14 in the quarterfinal round of the tournament. 

Utah Tech lost the game 57-72 against UTA. They beat UTA both times they played them during the regular season, but they were ultimately unable to win their face-off against the team in the WAC tournament. 

“I think our kids gave everything they could,” said associate head coach Matt Thune. “They gave a really strong effort.”

Thune cited injuries as one of the biggest reasons the team was unable to make a run at the WAC championship. 

“We definitely lost a lot to injury this year,” said Calyn Dallas, a freshman exercise science major from Lubbock, Texas. “I am not sure that I have been a part of a team that has had this many injuries. We lost a lot of key players at different times.”

Maddie Warren went down in the first quarter of the UTA game. Dallas said the team looked lost in the first quarter without her, and it forced the team to readjust their game plan and strategy. 

The Trailblazers were outscored 6-20 in the first quarter of the game. In the final three quarters of the game, UTA only outscored Utah Tech by one point, but the slow start majorly impacted the outcome of the game.

“I think the kids can be proud of what they did and what they were a part of [this season],” Thune said.

Looking forward to next year, the team is going to look different than they did this year due to Breaunna Gillen and Maggie McCord graduating. They also do not know what the future holds for four players who will be working back from injuries this year. 

Deaver said she is sure that by getting some transfers into the mix, the team will be able to remain successful next year.

Thune said being through the transition to the Division I level should give the team added motivation this upcoming season, but the goals the team has are the same. The expectations the team has for themselves is to do well in the WAC and build off two consecutive winning seasons and two consecutive WAC conference tournament appearances.