DRE'UNA EDWARDS (44) takes the ball to the hoop 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 University of Utah women’s basketball team completed their season during the first round at the Pac-12 tournament against Washington. This 54-64 upset took the Utes out of the tournament prematurely. Utah finished their season 20-10 overall and 9-9 in Pac-12 play.

“I thought Washington played a heck of a game and came in loose and full of fire and shot the ball well,” said head coach Lynne Roberts to Utah Athletics. “They defended us well and so I congratulate them on advancing, it is a great win for them and a tough loss for us.”

During preseason, the Utes started stronger than ever. Going undefeated in all of their 12 preseason games, the Utes beat each of their opponents by more than 10 points each game. The Utes felt ready as they came into Pac-12 play.

Utah started Pac-12 play with a win against the Colorado Buffaloes 76-61. It wasn’t until their second regular season game and their 14th of the season that the Utes had their first loss to the Arizona State Sun Devils. It was a heartbreaker of 65-63. This game was significant because it was the game when senior wing Daneesah Provo was taken out for the rest of the season due to a torn ACL injury.

After the Arizona State game, the Utes kept looking forward. They held their heads up high after the loss of one of their seniors. Utah went on to have six more wins before they had another loss in the season. After their upset win against Stanford, the Utes struggled coming back from their second loss of the season against Oregon. Utah had six straight losses in a row, matching their number of wins at the start of the season.

After their six losses, Utah only had two more wins in the season and ended their season during the first round of the Pac-12 Tournament against Washington. The Utes had players stepping up on the court from all around, with many of them ending the season recognized for their achievements.

Senior Megan Huff was named a first-team All-Pac-12 selection for her second season in a row. Huff has led the Utes this season all around on the court. Huff had 17 double-doubles this season. She is only the third Ute to receive this honor.

Freshman Dre’Una Edwards was named Pac-12 Freshman of the year after she had earned six Pac-12 Freshman of the Week awards. She was recognized for averaging 11.6 points and 6.7 rebounds per game. Edwards holds a 54-percent field goal percentage this season.

The two Utah players this season who were named on the 2019 Pac-12 All-Academic teams were redshirt freshman Dru Gylten and senior Erika Bean. Gylten earned a spot on the All-Academic Second team and Bean earned All-Academic Honorable Mention.

The Utes had an exciting year full of many beaten records, and that has definitely showcased how much the Utes have grown since they first started in the Pac-12. The Utes are still a young team with goals and passion for the game. They are looking forward and hoping to come back even stronger next year.

“I just told the team that this year will take a lot of mental discipline to not look back at the what-ifs,” Roberts said to Utah Athletics. “We had some painful close losses and had multiple injuries to impact players and it is really hard to not just focus on that. But I told the team I wanted to focus on what we did do. When we came into this year, we said we wanted to do things that Utah basketball had never done in the Pac-12, and we did that. I am incredibly proud of our team and their resiliency throughout this year and they have been an absolute joy to coach.”

l.gastelum@dailyutahchronicle.com

@LeilaniGastelum

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