DRU GYLTEN (10) dribbles down the court 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)

 

After being redshirted in 2017-18 due to a torn ACL, Dru Gylten has now been able to take her rightful place on the University of Utah women’s basketball team this 2018-19 season. Gylten has executed excellence so far this season. During the Utes game against Southern California, Gylten led Utah with 24 points with seven-of-nine shooting and went eight for eight from the free throw line.

“She has incredible playmaking ability,” said head coach Lynne Roberts. “She can score, she can shoot, she can make plays for herself, but her vision and playmaking ability for other people is the best I have ever seen from a freshman. That’s why you see that she leads our team in assists. She just brings a real smart basketball IQ to the team.”

Her success on the court has not gone unrecognized. Gylten has been nationally acknowledged for her basketball game multiple times and has received the honor of Pac-12 Freshman of the Week twice so far this season. The hard work and motivation that Gylten put in while returning from an injury has driven her to success.

When Gylten was injured during her senior year semi-finals, she knew it was a long road ahead of her. But she didn’t let herself become discouraged — she took this experience in a positive way instead of a negative. She tried to do her best to continue to be that valuable player Utah had signed to.

“Going through an injury, especially a knee injury — it’s a lot of rehab a lot of understanding your body and how it works,” Gylten said. “Sitting out definitely gave me the opportunity to step back for a couple of months and really listen to my body and see what it needed. As far as the basketball game goes, sitting out helped me see what coaches expected of players by seeing how they coached and how they reacted to different situations and what they expected from a point guard in general. Sitting out made me just step back and observe and prepare mentally for what I needed to do this year.”

Being able to mentally prepare for the game allowed Gylten to grow as a player in different ways. Despite this growth, it was not easy for Gylten to sit out for the entire 2017-18 season. Coming back to play this year has been something she has been looking forward to and it has been everything she had hoped for so far.

“I definitely learned from sitting out last year,” Gylten said. “But I’d pick playing over anything all day. Our team is just amazing, we have great connection and everyone just loves each other and I think that shows when we play. There’s nothing like playing a basketball game with people you enjoy and coaches you enjoy and a great conference.”

This year has been one Gylten and her teammates will always remember. As they finish off the season in the next few weeks, Gylten has high goals for herself and her teammates.

“[Goals for myself would be] to continue sharing the ball, [and] continue being a point guard,” Gylten said. “As far as a team, we want to rise in the Pac-12 standards, make it to the NCAA tournament — I think that’s all in the back of our minds, it’s something we really want to do. Especially just have fun the last couple of weeks. I enjoy this team so much and we all get along so well and it has gone by really fast, so [we’ll] just cherish every moment that we have and give it everything we can because it’s almost over.”

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@LeilaniGastelum

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