It was a quick turnaround for the University of Utah women’s basketball team (12-5 overall, 3-3 Pac-12) who hosted USC on Sunday. After a narrow loss on Friday against UCLA, the Utes found themselves with another chance to make a statement at home against a Pac-12 opponent. Instead, the Utes struggled to piece things together and they fell, 58-47.
“I thought they played harder than we did,” said head coach Lynne Roberts. “They just wanted to beat us more than evidently we wanted to beat them, which I don’t quite get. But you have to give them credit. I thought they outplayed us today. In every way, they were the better team. So we have to regroup from the missed opportunity.”
The game started with both teams trading baskets, scoring early and often. But the Utes had trouble keeping control of the ball and that allowed the Trojans to make up for some of Utah’s careless possessions.
“You have to give them credit. They came in, we’ve been averaging 80 points, and they held us to 47,” Roberts said. “It’s kind of embarrassing. It’s an embarrassing showing.”
The Utes came up big after halftime, not allowing the Trojans to score in the first three minutes. However, Utah’s offense remained inconsistent and turnover prone, always staying a few steps behind USC. Even when the defense came up clutch and got key stops, the offense failed to put a string of offensive possessions together to cut down its deficit.
Megan Huff continues to be key on the offensive side for the Utes, despite turning the ball over three times. She led the way with 10 points on 5-of-13 shooting from the field.
The Utah defense had trouble stopping Aliyah Mazyck, who had a game-high 20 points. Sadie Edwards and Kristen Simon also stepped up dropping 16 and 14 points respectively. USC only played six players during the whole game, compared to 10 for the Utes.
It appeared as though the Utes lacked the same energy that USC was putting forth. Although Utah outrebounded USC 41-31, too many poor decisions played a role in the end result. Although Utah was coming of little rest from the UCLA to USC game, Roberts will not allow her team to use that as an excuse for the lack of its intensity.
“USC had to play on Friday too and travel and fly,” Roberts said. “So that’s an excuse that I won’t buy into. I mean sure, I’m sure that game took a lot out of us on Friday, but we’re always going to play Friday, Sunday. We can’t even think that that’s an excuse to not give it our best on Sunday. I won’t give them that one.”
Although Utah failed to win a game at home this weekend after its first road sweep under Roberts the week prior, she believes the team can turn it around and that it has the personnel to get it done.
“We have a good group,” Roberts said. “These guys want to do well. They want to win games. No one’s happy we lost, no one’s okay with losing. So what do we take from this weekend? I hope we’re ticked off. I hope we’re ticked off. We have some seniors that are great seniors. They have been great to this program. This is their year. They got to get their team going. As coaches, there’s not much you can do once the ball gets thrown in the air in terms of mentality. That’s on the players.”