The University of Utah Lady Utes cheer on the sidlines at the Brigham Young University game at the Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City, UT on Saturaday, Dec. 8, 2018 (Photo by Cassandra Palor | Daily Utah Chronicle)

 

The Utah Women’s Basketball Team has undergone a few unexpected changes. After taking their first loss of the season against Arizona State University they lost senior wing Daneesha Provo for the rest of the year due to an ACL injury that occurred during the game.

DANEESHA PROVO (23) as The University of Utah Lady Utes take on Brigham Young University at the Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City, UT on Saturaday, Dec. 8, 2018 (Photo by Cassandra Palor | Daily Utah Chronicle)

“We are coming off of an interesting weekend,” said head coach Lynne Roberts. “We got a split at home. We lost literally at the buzzer against Arizona State on Friday night. It was a tough, physical and hard fought game. I thought we played pretty dang well and Arizona State is good. They are ranked in the top-20. We were up six with a minute to go and to their credit, they came back and kind of stole it. They hit an unbelievable shot at the buzzer, just banked it in. Losing stinks, no matter which way you do it. I hate losing, but losing that way is the hardest. And then we find out on Saturday morning that Daneesha Provo, our second-leading scorer, captain of the team, tore her ACL in the third quarter. When I saw it happen I kind of had a hunch of what it was. It was tough to try and bounce back from that loss. It felt like it kind of slipped through our hands, and then to realize that Daneesha is out for the year was tough.”

Coach Roberts has been motivating the girls to look forward and to learn to adapt to the change of losing one of their seniors this year. Utah responded well on Sunday, Jan. 6th taking a well-deserved win against Arizona.

“Losing Daneesha was hard, but also the way we lost was really hard, it was just a gut punch,” Roberts said. “It took a lot to just kind of dig down and recover from both of those things. But like I talked to our team about yesterday is that this is our group. Daneesha is not going to limp in here and play in two weeks. So hopefully, Sunday gave us some confidence in our ability and hopefully we won’t be as emotionally down and that hard to kind of muster the fortitude that we needed to on Sunday because this is our group.”

NIYAH BECKER (3) shoots and makes it as The University of Utah Lady Utes take on Brigham Young University at the Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City, UT on Saturaday, Dec. 8, 2018 (Photo by Cassandra Palor | Daily Utah Chronicle)

The Utes are looking forward this weekend as they travel to Washington for games against Washington State and Washington. Utah starts off the weekend against the Washington State Cougars on Friday, Jan. 11 with tip-off at 8 pm M.T.

Washington State is currently 6-8 overall and 1-2 in conference play. Leading the Cougars in scoring is Borislava Hristova who is averaging 22.5 points a game and is ranked second in the Pac-12, and seventh nationally. Washington also has ranked third in the league, Maria Kostourkova, who is leading the Cougars in rebounding at 8.9 per game.

The Washington Huskies are currently 7-8 overall and 0-3 in conference play, having lost the last 5 games played. The Huskies have Amber Melgoza to lean on, and the junior guard is one of the 20 players from across the country who was named on the Ann Meyers Drysdale Watch List. Melgoza is also a recognized player in the Pac-12 for her high scoring.

Utah is currently 13-1 overall and 2-1 in conference play. Under head coach Lynne Roberts, the Utes are 22-20 on the road.

The Utes have had multiple players step up so far this season. Megan Huff, Dre’Una Edwards and Dru Gylten all had double-doubles during the game against Arizona, and in light of the loss of Provo, they’ll be asked to provide the scoring yet again.

Both games this weekend will be aired on the Pac-12 Networks. Tyson Ewing will also be on the radio on ESPN 700.

l.gastelum@dailyutahchronicle.com

@LeilaniGastelum

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