Utah Women’s Basketball Focused On Themselves Ahead Of Gonzaga Matchup

Mar 25, 2024, 10:19 AM

SPOKANE, WA – Utah women’s basketball has the potential to make the Sweet 16 for a second straight year, but first they have to get past the Gonzaga Bulldogs Monday night.

In order to do that, the team says they need to just focus on themselves and play their brand of basketball.

Naturally, there are some nerves with so much on the line, but mostly excitement for a team that has had to face a lot of adversity to get to this point.

Lynne Roberts Says Prepping For Gonzaga Is Like Looking In A Mirror

Head coach Lynne Roberts talked to the media Sunday afternoon before the Zags and Utes square off Monday night at McCarthey Athletic Center. Roberts noted some eerie similarities between the two teams that has made the prep work for the game rather interesting.


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“They are similar in that they have a post player that is really hard to defend one-on-one,” Roberts said. “She’s really good. It’s like us with Pili, right? It’s a risk to go one-on-one with Pili. Then, they have great shooters as well, and move the ball and run their stuff well. It’s like, if we hop off, we might give up threes, if we stay at the three-point line we might give up- you know? It is a little bit of looking in the mirror in that way as far as game planning. Trying to figure out what we could be most effective in defensively that might give them the most trouble.”

Utah Knows What They Need To Do To Try And Advance

For senior leader Alissa Pili, their second-round matchup with the Bulldogs will come down to the Utes keeping their composure and playing to their strengths.

“Just stay poised and true to who we are,” Pili said. “Hone in on what we are good at and focus on us- being the best versions of ourselves. I think if we do that then we are pretty hard to stop.”

Junior Kennady McQueen agreed with Pili, noting both sides will be trying their best to take away each other’s strengths which will likely make for a great game.

“I think what is comforting for us is nothing changes,” McQueen said. “We’ve just got to show up and play Utah basketball. Whether we are at home or on the road- our game stays the same. They are a great team. We’ve followed them this season. They are a great team- we’re just trying to take away what they are good at, and they are going to scout us and do the same. It’s going to be a great basketball game.”


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As for playing in a packed arena? Junior Jenna Johnson says Utah is used to that from playing in the Pac-12, so to them, it’s another element that makes the game exciting rather than intimidating.

“I’m excited,” Johnson said. “We’ve been playing in packed gyms all year in the Pac-12. There are sellouts every single weekend it seems like, so I think we are ready for that. Gonzaga is a great team- they have a very veteran lineup and play together so it is going to be a good matchup.”

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 Focused On Themselves Ahead Of Gonzaga Matchup