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All Eyes On ‘Revenge’ Game For Utah Women’s Basketball

Feb 8, 2024, 10:50 AM

SALT LAKE CITY – No. 20 Utah women’s basketball has a massive game on Friday night against the No. 17 Oregon State Beavers.

Just two weeks prior, the Beavs did something very few teams have been able to do against the Utes- outshoot them and blow them out, 91-66.

Utah will now turn around and host OSU at the Huntsman Center, hoping for a better result and a little revenge.

Lynne Roberts On Utah Prep For Oregon State

Utah head coach Lynne Roberts was very candid about how big the impending game with Oregon State is for her team, but also trusts they know what they need to do to walk away with the win Friday night.

“They are remarkably steady,” Roberts said. “I have never seen them come in frozen because of a big game. They’ve always done a good job of being ready to go. My concern is making sure they are locked in on the game plan and they have the practice, the reps, and then the confidence to execute it.”

While there are thoughts of revenge on the brain, Roberts and the Utes also have a massive amount of respect for the Beavers and what they are capable of doing on any given night.

“Oregon State is hard to beat,” Roberts said. “They are very well-coached. They run their stuff better than anybody. If you are a little bit loose on your gameplan, then they are going to beat you.”

How The Wheels Fell Off For The Utes In Round One Against The Beavs

This part of the story is going to feel very familiar to Ute fans who are likely used to their teams being injured, sick, or both in the 2023-24 competitive season.

“We didn’t play great at Oregon- we were a little flat,” Roberts said. “We were all really sick. We all got back from that trip- our team doctor got everybody on Tamiflu and antibiotics for about half of us. I thought that trip we were tired. We played USC- emotional win. UCLA- huge win. That was Monday then we went on the road, then everyone gets sick. We squeeze one out at Oregon because that happens, you don’t play well but win. Watching film from that, we were tired.”

As you can well imagine, that whole scenario set up a very advantageous situation for Oregon State that they were very ready to exploit, and boy did they.

“Oregon State was ready to beat us,” Roberts said. “That’s a tough place to win, Gill Coliseum. The played the best I’ve seen- in terms of shooting- they were 13-19 from the three? That’s a great job by them. That’s not what they are usually shooting. Some of that was our lack of defensive intensity and some of it was that it was just their day.”

Roberts admitted the result was surprising, but when she stepped back and looked at the entire picture of what led up to that result, it was easy to not push the “panic button”.

“We just need to reset, get healthy, and get back to kicking butt,” Roberts said.”

More Adversity For The Utah Women

As mentioned above, there has been nothing terribly easy about the 2023-24 competition season for Utah’s big four (football, men’s/women’s basketball, and gymnastics) and yet they have all figured it out as it’s come and have done relatively well.

The Utah women will have to do it again this weekend, as Dasia Young continues to recover from an injury. While it’s never ideal to be missing good players, thankfully Maty Wilke has been ready for the moment and doing a good job filling that role.

“I think she’s done a great job,” Roberts said. “That’s a great luxury to have depth and someone like Maty that you can start. It’s been such an interesting season. We have yet to be at full strength and it’s just been one thing after the other whether it’s illness, injury, concussions, head stuff- like whatever it is- it’s almost at this point like, ‘oh, ok- Dasia’s out, ok.’ I’m so used to it and I think our kids are too.”

If that last part sounds familiar, it’s because Utah men’s basketball head coach Craig Smith said something eerily similar about his team earlier this week.

Roberts finished by saying as annoying as it is to feel like you’re getting piled on by things outside your control, it is part of the game, and something you have to work through.

“It’s part of it,” Roberts said. “You know, next man up, adapt and no one is feeling sorry for us, so we can’t feel sorry for us either.”

Yeah, that last part sounded an awful lot like Utah football head coach Kyle Whittingham and we’re here for 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 XInstagram, and Threads: @BodkinKSLsports

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All Eyes On ‘Revenge’ Game For Utah Women’s Basketball