After facing two teams from the state of Texas, the University of Utah women’s basketball team will next face two west coast opponents at home. They will play St. Mary’s on Saturday, Dec. 2 before hosting Pepperdine the following week to wrap up a five game home stand. Head coach Lynne Roberts knows her team needs to capitalize on its home court by clinching victories.
“From a program standpoint, there are obviously benefits to playing at home, I’m not going to lie about that,” Roberts said. “But for me, I didn’t know we were in the middle of a five game home stand. I have no idea, so I kind of just go one at a time and next we have Saint Mary’s … so that’s 100 percent of my focus, is focused on that game.”
There has been a lot of talk about the new additions and freshmen class this season, but returning players have also caught Roberts’ attention as she has seen improvements from them. Among those Utes are juniors Daneesha Provo and Erika Bean.
“First person that comes to mind is Daneesha Provo,” Robert said. “Before our last game, she was our second leading scorer, now she’s our third leading scorer. Defensively, she’s just everywhere. She has done a really good job.”
Roberts said that as the point guard, the offense runs through Bean, and she has provided a boost on that side of the ball with her assists.
“I think Erika Bean has improved,” Roberts said. “Statistically, you might not notice it, but her approach, her demeanor, her mentality, her competitiveness, leadership, all those things that don’t show up in a stat sheet have really improved. I’m really proud. She’s probably the one that [I] get on the most because as your point guard, that’s who you need to, and she [has] answered the bell. She [has] done a really nice job.”
Roberts has seen the offense improve as returning players have stepped up and with the new members who were added to the roster this year. She still sees room for the team to grow, especially the offense, despite it putting up four 80 plus point games so far this season.
“I think we’re much improved offensively from the last year,” Roberts said. “I mean just statistically alone our numbers are much better … but it’s a work in progress. We’re certainly not Pac-12 ready and you know we’re in November form still, so much to improve on.”
While the defense has been carrying the team, the offense has made strides. Roberts likes the way her team is attacking the paint, relying on their strengths and using a more up-tempo offense.