Utah Women’s Basketball Returns Home for Two Matchups Against Top 10 Teams

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University of Utah Utes Women’s Basketball Team Guard Dru Gylten (10) battles to score during an NCAA Basketball match vs. the Eastern Washington Eagles at the Jon M. Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City, Utah on Monday, Nov. 18, 2019. (Photo by Abu Asib | The Daily Utah Chronicle)

By Ethan Pearce, Sports Writer

 

The University of Utah women’s basketball team (10-9, 3-5 Pac-12) returns home this weekend after a three-game road trip. They are coming off a loss against Stanford in Northern California. Stanford, ranked in the Top 10 nationally, is a very good team, so it’s no surprise the Utes didn’t have enough to pull it off. The tough stretch of games is not over yet, though, as they will face two more Top 10 teams this weekend.

On Thursday, they will face No. 3 Oregon (17-2, 7-1 Pac-12) in the Jon M. Huntsman Center. Oregon is a great team with one of the top college basketball players in the nation in Sabrina Ionescu. She leads the team in scoring with 17.7 points per game, while Ruthy Hebard and Satou Sabally both average over 16. Oregon relies on those three to carry the scoring load, but they are balanced all around, with amazing players at every position. They have only lost two games so far this season and are the highest-ranked team in the Pac-12.

This will definitely be a tall task for the Utes on Thursday, but they are up to the challenge. They hung with No. 6 Stanford in the first half during their matchup on Sunday, and if they can channel some of that magic again, the Utes can be in this game. They lost to Oregon earlier this season 51-88. Utah has lost their last eight games against Oregon and are 7-12 against them all time. The last win was in 2015. The Red Out game is scheduled for 8 p.m. on Thursday.

After that, the No. 10 Oregon State Beavers (16-4, 4-4 Pac-12) will come to town on Saturday. The Beavers are 16-4 on the year, but have lost their last three games. This streak is somewhat understandable considering they played Oregon twice and Stanford once, but the Beavers are definitely reeling. They will surely be motivated to right the ship and prove that they belong in the top ten.

Oregon State has a game on Thursday at Colorado before heading to the Huntsman on Saturday. Led by Destiny Slocum, averaging 15 points per game, they will be a tough out. The Utes lost to Oregon State earlier this year 48-77. They have also lost the last 11 matchups against the Beavers and are 5-13 against them all time. The last win was in 2013. The game is scheduled for Saturday, which is National Girls and Women in Sports Day, at 12 p.m.

The Utes have their hands full this weekend. Against some very good teams, they will need the support of the fans at home to play well and attempt to pull off some upsets. If they play to their strengths and control the pace of the game, keep it from getting out of hand early, and stay within striking distance at the end, they have a chance against both of these teams.

 

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