Women’s Basketball Falls to Cincinnati Schools in Season Opener


Utah Head Coach Lynne Roberts holds her head after Utah Utes center Megan Huff (5) fouls out as The University of Utah Lady Utes take on the University of Oregon Ducks at the Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City, UT on Sunday, Jan. 28, 2018 (Photo by Adam Fondren | Daily Utah Chronicle)

By Adam Cochran, Sports Writer

The University of Utah Women’s Basketball team dropped their first two games of the 2019-2020 season in Cincinnati. On Tuesday, Nov. 5, the Utes fell to Cincinnati in a hard-fought game, 68-62. Two days later, they lost to Xavier 70-63, in a game decided in the final minute.

Turnovers were the major topic of the week for the Utes, who racked up 38 between the two games. Despite all the turnovers, the Utes found a way to keep both games competitive with gritty defensive efforts. In the second quarter of both games, the Utes held the opponents to 7 points.

The young players led the Utes in scoring for the week. Freshman Brynna Maxwell led the Utes averaging 13 points per game, netting 3 three-pointers in each game. Sophomore Niyah Becker and freshman Lola Pendande both averaged 9.5 points per game for the week. Sophomore Andrea Torres logged 7 points per contest and freshman Kemery Martín added 5 points per game.


What Happened Against Cincinnati

The game against Cincinnati was a seesaw affair, with neither team leading by more than 6 points until late in the third quarter. The Bearcats went up by 11 with little time remaining in the third quarter, but Becker hit a timely three-pointer at the buzzer to cut the lead to 8, making the score heading into the final quarter 50-42.

The fourth quarter saw a similar back-and-forth flow as the rest of the game. The Utes trailed by 7 heading into the eventful final minute of play. Maxwell hit a three-pointer to cut the lead to 4. After 2 made free throws for Cincinnati, Maxwell sank another three-pointer to make it a one-possession game with 24 seconds to play. That’s as close as the Utes would get as the Bearcats made their free throws down the stretch to put away a Utah team that would not quit.

“You have to give Cincinnati credit because they are a good team and they are experienced,” head coach Lynne Roberts said to Utah Athletics. “We are on the road and it is the first time that most of these guys have put on a Utah uniform. Not trying to give them an excuse, but it showed. We never really got into a rhythm.”

“We will watch the film and get better. They are going to have a great year and this isn’t a bad loss. We hate losing, but we just have to move on,” Roberts said to Utah Athletics.

Becker led the Utes with 13 points. Pendande added 12 points, while Maxwell finished with 11 points. Dru Gylten led the Utes with 6 assists. Maurane Corbin added a team-leading 6 rebounds.


The Lowdown on the Xavier Game

The Utes got off to a slow start at Xavier. The first half started with Utah not being able to hang onto the ball. Even with the 12 first-half turnovers, the Utes took a 1-point lead into the halftime break. The close game continued into the third quarter and the Utes took a 2-point lead into the final period.

Utah began the fourth quarter with 6 quick fouls in the first three minutes. This put Xavier to the free-throw line, allowing the Musketeers to retake the lead. From this point, it was a back-and-forth affair. Xavier held a 5-point lead with less than a minute to play.

For the second time in as many games, the Utes cut the lead to one possession with less than a minute remaining in the fourth quarter when Torres hit a three-pointer to cut the Musketeer lead to 2 points. Also reminiscent of Utah’s first game, Xavier, who had struggled from the free-throw line all night, knocked down 5 out of 6 free throws to close out the game, putting the pesky Utes to bed.

“Congratulations to Xavier,” Roberts said to Utah Athletics. “I thought they played really well and extremely hard. I’m disappointed in the outcome — we aren’t used to this, but it’s a marathon of a season and we have to keep coaching and teaching and bringing this young, new group together. We’ll keep chopping wood and we will get there.”

Maxwell led the Utes with 15 points and 6 rebounds. Torres added 12 points and tied for the team lead with 6 rebounds. Gylten led the Utes in assists with 4 and pulled down 5 rebounds.


Next up for the Utes

Next for the Utes, they will host South Dakota at the Jon M. Huntsman Center on Saturday, Nov. 16, at 12 p.m. This will be the Utes’ annual Ute Proud game. The game will also be available for live stream at pac-12.com.


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