Utah Women’s Basketball Rallying Together After Tough Oregon State Loss

Feb 9, 2024, 11:25 PM | Updated: Feb 10, 2024, 2:30 pm

SALT LAKE CITY – Utah women’s basketball head coach Lynne Roberts didn’t dance around the fact her team underperformed, 58-44 against Oregon State in Friday night’s loss.

Like any good coach, Roberts shouldered the blame for the Utes’ shortcomings in an important game, noting that if everyone struggled, it means the concepts weren’t taught well enough.

There really wasn’t much Utah did well against the Beavers. The Utes didn’t defend well, but more shockingly, they didn’t shoot well only going 16-57 from the field and 6-33 from the three.

Utah Stands By Each Other

Roberts started her press conference addressing the elephant in the room- an unusually poor performance by her team.

“I did not anticipate that,” Roberts said. “I thought we had a good week of prep. I thought we were ready to roll, but clearly, we weren’t, and you know what? That’s on me. If we weren’t ready to go and it was across the board, that has got to be on me.”

Alissa Pili, Utah’s undisputed star and leader wasn’t about to let her coach go out like that.

“I know coach is taking the blame for the outcome, but there is only so much she can do,” Pili said. “I feel like we had a good week, they prepared us well and we thought we knew what we were doing for the gameplan. There were just times we didn’t execute.”

Pili went on further to shoulder her share of the blame for the Utes’ performance, showcasing why she is Utah’s ultimate leader in an emotional response.

“Personally, I failed as a leader,” Pili said. “I let the frustration get to me and I wasn’t out there leading my team when they needed it the most. That’s on me as a leader.”

Roberts was touched by Pili’s ownership, noting how lucky she is to coach the players on her team because they all exhibit those same qualities. Roberts also made sure Pili knows that no one expects her to have to have career nights every night.

“I am lucky with the kind of kids that we have,” Roberts said. “I think we all know we have each other’s back. I do worry about Alissa a little bit that she feels the pressure of our success on her shoulders. It’s not that way. She’s capable, but she doesn’t need to feel like she has to score 30 for us to win. All the outside noise, all of the attention- that’s a lot. I love this group.”

No One Feels Sorry For The Utes And They Don’t Have Time For Pity

Roberts and Pili were very clearly already ready to get back at it and make the necessary corrections to get back on track against Oregon on Sunday. According to Roberts there is no better way to get over a bad loss than turning around and preparing for another game.

“I’m glad we have a quick turnaround,” Roberts said. “I don’t want to sit on this. I want to wake up tomorrow and be fired up, ready to go for Oregon. There is no time for us to feel sorry for ourselves. This is the Pac-12, and no one feels sorry for us either. People are looking at that score and going, ‘wow, didn’t see that coming,’ but no one is going to be like, ‘dang, poor Utah’. So, we can’t either. There is a lot of season left and we are still in the driver’s seat to control what our seed will be, where we will finish. We have Oregon and then our next three opponents are top 10. We don’t have time to be in our feelings, like, let’s go.”

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 Rallying Together After Tough Oregon State Loss