UTAH UTES

Lynne Roberts On First Home Game Of 2023: We Need This Place To Be Rocking

Jan 15, 2023, 7:00 AM | Updated: Jan 19, 2023, 10:51 am

SALT LAKE CITY – Utah women’s basketball hasn’t played a home game at the Huntsman Center since December 22, 2022. Head coach Lynne Roberts wants fans to know they are back and have an incredible team they want to share with fans.

The No. 10 Utes will be taking the court in Salt Lake City on Sunday, January 15 with a 12:00 pm MT tipoff against No. 14 Arizona in a top-15 showdown. Unfortunately, their triumphant return home was delayed a few days due to Arizona State having to forfeit their game against Utah earlier in the week.

Utah has been chomping at the bit, however, to get back out there and dust off a hard loss on the road to Colorado from the prior week, while also hopefully, getting to show off their talent in front of a big Huntsman crowd.

“I can’t stress enough how much it means and how our players feed off of it,” Roberts said after their last home game against Southern Utah. “It makes for that home court advantage and for our program to achieve the level that I think we can here in Salt Lake City. The fan and community support is just- it’s a critical element.”

Utah Changing Perceptions About Women’s Sports

If you’ve been paying attention, Roberts has been working hard for her team making the rounds and sharing their passion for their sport with whoever will listen. Frankly, she has a great argument and sales pitch.

The Utes as mentioned before are currently ranked No. 10 in the country by the AP Top 25. They sit at 14-1 on the 2022-2023 season and are ranked third in a stacked Pac-12 Conference for women’s hoops.

 

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On top of that, Utah ranks fourth in the country in offense and has one of the most exciting players in the game in Alissa Pili.

“A lot of people have the perception of women’s basketball and it’s changed so much,” Roberts said of what her team has put together. ‘It’s evolved. We’re fast. We’re athletic. Our kids share the ball which is awesome. It’s not a one or two-headed monster. It’s everybody sharing the ball. We pressure on defense. We have a chance to do something that has never been done, but we need people’s help. We need this place to be rocking and I think the coolest thing about our team is that they all love being here.”

Utes Are Building Something Special

The Utes a slowly building a bigger, and stronger platform year by year, but with last season’s success flowing into this year at a rapid pace, Roberts and her crew are looking for more. That is why they announced their community outreach program, “Beyond the Paint,” that they will officially debut against the Wildcats.

“They are proud to be Utes,” Roberts said. “They want to be here. They love playing for this school and this program and I think it matters. I think it shows. This is their team; this is the community’s team because they love this place.”

Roberts is hopeful the efforts she and the team are making to be bigger players in the Salt Lake Community, paired with the team delivering a fun product that is getting results will elevate the crowds they attract moving forward.

“I think we are putting a good product out there that people are wanting to watch which matters,” Roberts said. “I don’t want to go watch a bad basketball game either. We have a good team and a fun style of play and if we can continue to grow these crowds, then I think that is the next step for us to become one of the nation’s best. We appreciate those who have faithfully been coming, those that are new. We just want to keep building it.”

Michelle Bodkin is the Utah Utes Insider for KSLsports.com and host of both the Crimson Corner Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and The Saturday Show (Saturday from 10 a.m.–12 p.m.) on The KSL Sports Zone. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram: @BodkinKSLsports

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Lynne Roberts On First Home Game Of 2023: We Need This Place To Be Rocking