New Conference Provides New Challenges for the Lady Ute’s

Story by Rachel Thomas

After winning the Mountain West Conference Tournament last year, the University of Utah’s women’s basketball team faces new challenges and obstacles upon entering the Pac-12.
Utah finished their last season with an 18-17 record, but came back from the losses to win the Mountain West Conference Tournament in Las Vegas, Nevada. After finishing last season with such a large win, the Pac-12 coaches picked the women’s basketball team to finish sixth out of 12 teams, according to the Deseret News.
Utah’s depth chart is growing because of new recruits wanting to be a part of the PAC-12. Four of the team’s starters have scored over 30 points in a single game during their careers, according to the Deseret News.  One of those starters is Janita Badon. Badon enters the 2011 season as a fourth-year starter at point guard, and was chosen as last year’s Mountain West Conference Tournament’s MVP.
The team has yet to play any in-conference home games, but Badon said, “Going off of playing the PAC-12 teams last year, they’re really strong and tall! I think the way they defend will be very different from the Mountain West Conference. The Pac-12 teams play zone defense rather than man.”
According to Badon, the workouts have also changed. The team has begun focusing more on strengthening their legs and becoming stronger, both physically and mentally.
Badon said, “I most enjoy being a part of the Pac-12 because we’re now a part of a well-known conference, not just athletically, but academically as well. One major conflict is the fact we are the “newbies,” but at the same time it can also be a positive, because we have the opportunity to do something really special in the Pac-12.”
Not only have the teams changed, but the marketing aspects of the games have changed as well. New promotions have been created to build hype for the team.
Courtney Gramse, who is the Spirit Coordinator and works directly with the marketing directors said, “To build excitement the marketing team have started a Facebook and Twitter pages that have a lot of updates on them so that the fans know things first hand. They do a lot more promotions involving giveaways which gives people more incentive to come.”
The public is welcome to all of the games. To get more families and children to attend the games, the marketing department has created a “kid zone,” which according to Gramse is full of interactive activities and games.
The crowds at the University of Utah’s women’s games aren’t as large as other sports, but the band provides entertainment and music for all other attendees.
Ryan Kelleher, a student at the University of Utah that has attended every home game over the past 3 years, said, “It’s still too early to tell any major differences yet because we haven’t had any Pac-12 home games, but the coaches have gotten a little more intense and have started pushing the girls a little harder to prepare them for the new teams. I think the crowd will grow being in a power house conference rather than being in a moderate conference. Crowds will grow not only in women’s basketball, but in all sports at Utah.”
For further information on the University of Utah’s women’s basketball team visit,

Cyprus Basketball’s Future Looks Promising

Story by Marquis Newman

Cyprus Basketball’s Future Looks Promising

The 2011-2012 Cyprus boys basketball team has had a slow start to the season starting 0-3, but their future potential looks promising. This is due to a strong group of upcoming sophomores and the leadership of a talented junior, Connor Squire.

The Cyprus Pirates have struggled early in the season, losing to Jordan, West, and long time region rival Granger. This slow start hasn’t come as a shock due to the fact that the Pirates have no starters returning from last season. “It’s going to take a while for these kids to get the feel,” said head coach Robb Collins while discussing his team’s slow start.

Collins believes that his team will be ready to compete when it becomes time to start region play.

“We’re becoming more aware and getting a better understanding of my philosophy as a coach… we’ve got our work cut out for us, but if we focus on team chemistry and work together we can still be successful and go to the state tournament,” said Collins.

Part of Cyprus’s struggles this season is that they do not yet have a third scoring threat. Squire, point guard for the team, is averaging 16.67 points per game and senior forward Austin Henriod contributes by scoring 8.33 points per game, but after those two players Cyprus doesn’t have anybody else averaging more than 6 points. Defenses are able to game plan around stopping Henriod and Squire, and the rest of the team is not taking advantage of their opportunities.

Squire has played very well in the pirates’ first three games. Squire is the tenth leading scorer in 4A and has made 7 threes over that three game span. Squire said he believes “we can be a good team…if we play physical this year we can make [the state tournament].”

Squire has found that leading a team isn’t easy, especially as a junior. “The seniors sometimes don’t respect what I have to say… It’s a struggle to become a leader, all you can do is lead by example and not become frustrated when people screw up,” said Squire.

Squire has worked hard over the summer to make himself a better player, and it is obvious by his play on the court. “I realized what I needed to do to make myself better and I tried not to take any days off,” said Squire.

The coaching staff feels very optimistic about the future of this team with the emergence of what Collins calls “a very talented and athletic sophomore class.”

Point guard Josh Jackson and forward Parker Loutensock lead the sophomore group, both have played extensive varsity minutes this season.  Collins said that both sophomores are “recognizing that they can be big contributors to our team and are working very hard to get better in practice.”

“I think with the upcoming sophomores Cyprus has potential to be a good program,” said Tre Smith, the Cyprus Sophomore coach, former Cyprus player and former University of Utah basketball player.

Smith believes that if the sophomore group prioritizes school and basketball they will be pretty good. “We made the state tournament in 2010 with a really good group of kids and I see the same potential with our younger kids…I’m very excited to see what the future holds,” said Smith.