In a rare occurrence, the University of Utah women’s basketball team will face the same squad twice in the span of four days. The Utes will host the Colorado Buffaloes at the Huntsman Center on Thursday, Feb. 1 before traveling to Boulder for a game on Sunday, Feb. 4. Head coach Lynne Roberts said it’s not something she prefers, but it’s something the entire Pac-12 conference has to go through.
“It is unique. The one thing that is different is that these games are really going to matter, they count and are very important in terms of standings,” Roberts said. “Luckily right now, we are at full strength, but last year when we went to Colorado, we didn’t have Ta [Tanaeya] Boclair, she had a sprained ankle. We lose that game, and then we came back here and beat them. So it just adds a weird little nuance to it that coaches don’t love, but everybody deals with it and it is even.”
How to Approach Weekend Contests
Roberts will stick to a game plan for when Colorado visits the Huntsman Center, but things won’t stay the same as the two teams figure each other out.
“I think you prepare for two games, but you kind of recalibrate after that first one and see how things went,” Roberts said. “No doubt there will be adjustments made by both staffs after Thursday night, just in terms of seeing what they are going to do. It is kind of like chess in that way … you can’t really predict what your adjustments are going to be until you see both coaches, and teams show their cards a little bit.”
Dip in Momentum
The momentum Utah gathered from its road sweep a week ago against Arizona State and Arizona quickly disappeared this past weekend. Two games versus ranked opponents in Oregon State and Oregon challenged the Utes. Against the Beavers, the Utes lost by a score that Roberts doesn’t believe reflected Utah’s play on the court, but then the team came out flat against Oregon. Roberts believes consistency is the one thing holding Utah back the most.
“I think the biggest thing that we need to be is more consistent, especially when you are playing such quality opponents,” Roberts said. “We had some moments of great and some moments of not so great. Against Oregon State, we were up five pretty late in the third quarter, and then we went on a little bit of a dip offensively, and that affected our defense, where they went on an 11-0 run to take a six-point lead.”