Utah Utes Women’s Basketball Looking To Bounce Back In Arizona

Jan 4, 2024, 4:10 PM

SALT LAKE CITY – Utah men’s basketball isn’t the only team on the road this week in Arizona. The Utah women’s basketball team will also be in the desert and hoping to bounce back.

The Utes opened conference play last weekend against ranked Colorado on the road but came up short in their efforts. Not helping the matter, star Alissa Pili exited the game with cramps leaving Utah without three of their best players.

Still, head coach Lynne Roberts is hoping to see a little more fire and urgency from her team this week against the Arizona schools. Something she thinks Utah has lacked a little to start the year.

Utah Women’s Basketball Sees Opportunity For Growth In Arizona

There is no denying the Utes haven’t had the smoothest sailing early in the 2023-24 season.

Issy Palmer has been out of the lineup with an undisclosed medical issue since playing Baylor. She is expected to return at some point, though that return date is a little up in the air.

Gianna Kneepkens was ruled out for the season after a freak injury against BYU.

Despite one being temporary, both losses have put added pressure on the team due to the large roles both players fill. That sometimes takes some time to refigure even when you don’t want it to.

“I have to figure out- that’s on me offensively how to get the right people taking the right shots,” Roberts said. “That’s going to take some games and some time, but we are getting there.”

One thing Roberts noted was an increased need for urgency from her team. Last Saturday Utah was in a good spot down the stretch against the Buffs, but the game slipped away from them in the final minutes of the game. Roberts is hoping everyone comes out a little more fired up this week.

“I think the loss at Colorado got in people’s heads,” Roberts said. “We’ve got a lot- even though we are returning everybody, it doesn’t feel like it’s the same team. We’re down two starters and missing 31 points a game from Issy and G. We’ve got to play with some urgency. Our margin for error has gotten smaller. Me, just reminding them whether it’s friendly or not- get your butts moving. Like, you either want to win and cut down a net, or you don’t. Tell me now if you don’t because I’ll try to chill out. Probably not though.”

The Utes will take on Arizona State first, Friday night with a 7:00 pm MT tip. They will then look to Arizona on Sunday, January 7 at 12:00 pm MT.

Both games can be viewed on the Pac-12 Networks.

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 XInstagram, and Threads: @BodkinKSLsports

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Utah Utes Women’s Basketball Looking To Bounce Back In Arizona