Lynne Roberts, Utah Women’s Basketball Prepare For New Season
SALT LAKE CITY- Utah women’s basketball head coach Lynne Roberts is off and running ahead of what many hope will be another successful season for the Utes. Coming off a 21-win season, an incredible run in the Pac-12 Tournament that saw the Utes all the way to the championship game, and their first invite to the NCAA Tournament in 11 years, expectations are starting to crank up.
The ladies kicked-off preparations for their 2022-2023 campaign Wednesday morning with their first official practice. Roberts and star guard Kennady McQueen were on-hand to give some insight into how things are going.
— Utah Women’s Basketball (@UTAHWBB) September 28, 2022
Day One In The Books For The Utes
The first day of practices can be hard to gauge, but Roberts felt good about the effort and work put in by her crew. Roberts noted they have a little more of a veteran group and so that always helps move things along a little faster than your average year.
“Day one was good,” Roberts said. “We had a good fall with these guys and we’ve been able to progress a little faster than normal. I think with the loss of our point guard last year in Dru Gylten, I wanted to get us playing a little sooner than normal so we can learn how to play together. We’ve added some new pieces that we need to learn to play together and we can teach and clean things up along the way. We are ahead of schedule in a lot of things than we normally are at this point, which is fun. The players like that.”
While Roberts is happy with how quickly things seem to be moving for the team, she is also aware that it’s a long season and there is a lot to clean up before games start being played. One aspect making that part of the job easier is having a team Roberts says she can push and challenge. They want to learn and are willing to do what it takes.
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“We also have a lot to clean up, that’s obvious,” Roberts said. “We have a long ways to go, it’s a long season, but I love how hard this team works and they are fun to be around. They are fun to coach and very coachable. You can get on them and challenge them, teach and they are very receptive.”
McQueen echoed much of what her coach said about day one. The team has learned a lot of news things and have continued to get better at them quickly every time they do them.
“I think it went excellent,” McQueen said. “We’ve had a great couple of months training with each other so it didn’t really feel like a day one. We have new uniforms on, so it made it more official, but we are doing the same things and getting better every time.”
Improving Utah’s Defense
One area Roberts really wants to see improved this season is defense. According to her, that’s the one area that killed the Utes last season- especially against teams like Stanford and Texas to end the year.
“This is a new team, but we need to be confident,” Roberts said. “This is a new season, but we have a lot of returners and some really great new players. We just have to maintain our culture in terms of how hard we play and the connectiveness we play with. The goal is to go further than we did last year, do better than we did last year- the expectations have risen and so we have to get better defensively. That’s going to be a big focus for us this year.”
On the other side of the ball Roberts doesn’t see a big need for change. What they did last season worked really well, but getting a stop or two more defensively would be a big help.
“Offensively we will still be ‘run-n-gun’ and try to score as many points as we can,” Roberts said. “Shoot a lot of threes. The offense isn’t going to change, but defensively I think that is the main focus of improvement.”
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