Utah Women’s Basketball Keeping Perspective After Big Weekend Wins

Jan 25, 2024, 11:58 AM

SALT LAKE CITY – Utah women’s basketball had a historically great weekend against the SoCal schools, but now it’s back to reality as they prepare to hit the road.

It’s hard to not be excited about taking down the No. 6 team and No. 2 team on your home court just a few days apart. Pac-12 women’s basketball is hard though and often unforgiving if you think you’ve made it after a couple of historic wins, however.

Utah’s next task is to face an Oregon Ducks team a little down on their luck, and an Oregon State team that is exuding confidence after coming in at No. 25 in the latest AP Top 25. Both have the ability to be dangerous. Especially on the road.

Utah Women’s Basketball Cannot Let Their Guard Down

While it felt like the Utah women got over a bit of a hump last weekend, head coach Lynne Roberts knows those performances have be repeated for the remainder of Pac-12 play if the Utes are to get where they want to go.

“I think we are coming off of one of the best weekends ever,” Roberts said. “We cannot let our guard down- that’s just what I told the team. Oregon is not having a typical year for Oregon, but they are still good. They still have McDonald’s All-Americans on their team. They’ve just lost some of their depth with injuries. We’ve got to be ready to go. It’s hard going on the road. Oregon State is playing really well right now. We’re not relaxing and it’s my job to make sure our team doesn’t do that.”

Finding That Utah Chip And Swagger

One thing that felt abundantly clear after Utah’s games with USC and UCLA this past week is that the Utes found their chippiness and swagger again that made them so deadly just a year ago.

It was also very clear the Trojans and Bruins went into their games with the Utes thinking they would outsize them and out-physical them. Instead, it seemed like those efforts woke something up in Utah and they fought right back.

“I think we are playing with a little chip on our shoulder,” Roberts said. “When they are getting pushed and shoved- it’s not like they are looking at the ref- they push and shove back. This is big girl basketball and if that’s the way it’s going to be played, we’ve got to muscle up and find a way to play that way. There is definitely a different edge which is great.”

The Utes know they are going into most of their matches a little undersized, but for Roberts it doesn’t matter. From her viewpoint, Utah is just as much of a mismatch for teams with more height as those teams are for the Utes and that is the kind of confidence Roberts regularly tries to instill into her team.

“It’s mentality and think too- we tell teams they have to stop us,” Roberts said. “So, for as much of a mismatch as Laurent Betts is for us, it’s a mismatch for them. I try to instill a lot of confidence in our scoring ability because we pose a lot of problems for a traditional big to guard on the perimeter, defend the three-point line, move in space. That’s hard. There are two sides to that coin and instilling that confidence of yeah- it’s going to be challenging on defense, but running down their throats is going to be hard on them too.”

No. 16 Utah will start their road trip against the Oregon Ducks on Friday, January 26 at 8:00 pm MT. They’ll then face No. 25 Oregon State on Sunday, January 28 at 1:00 pm MT. Both games will air 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 Women’s Basketball Keeping Perspective After Big Weekend Wins