Women’s Basketball Opens Season Against High-Powered Oregon



University of Utah Utes Women’s Basketball Team Wing Niyah Becker (14) dribbles with the ball 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 Carlos Padilla


The University of Utah Women’s basketball team dropped its season opener to the very high-powered Oregon Ducks.

It was a rough start for the Utes, as Oregon came out of the tunnel on a mission. The Ducks held Utah to a mere four points in the first quarter while putting up 20 of their own. From the eye test, it appears the Ducks have not missed a beat since last season.

Utah, on the other hand, looked like a very young and somewhat skittish team. Oregon appeared to dominate the floor, finding many easy baskets and creating multiple second-chance opportunities.

While the Utes did not shoot particularly well, their offense struggles ebbed slightly as the game progressed. The Utes were able to finish the game with a respectable 43 points.

Niyah Becker led the Utes in scoring, finding all 11 of her points in the second half. Kennady McQueen came in second, scoring eight points. Andrea Torres and Brynna Maxwell also found six points apiece.

When asked about the game, head coach Lynne Roberts told Utah Athletics, “Oregon is a really good team, and they were clearly ahead of us in all aspects of execution today. We looked rusty and a little nervous, which is to be expected. That doesn’t excuse our lack of defensive intensity and fight, however.” Roberts also said, “There is a lot to improve upon, but we will get there. I believe in our players, our system, and our culture. And again, hats off to Oregon; they have a great team.”

While their first outing was a harsh one, it is not time to hit the panic button on the season.

As Coach Roberts eluded to, the team looked nervous and rusty. When your first game of the season is against Oregon on their tree-covered court, nerves will undoubtedly play a factor.

With a game now under their belt, the Utes will have film and game-time adjustments to analyze, as well as the crucial adjustment to game tempo play.

In some regards, it is almost encouraging to play a team of such high caliber early in the season. The young Utes team now tipped off against champion-caliber talent and knows what must be improved upon as the season continues.

Utah’s stay in Oregon will continue until Tuesday, where they will take on the Oregon State Beavers of Corvallis. While Oregon may be the powerhouse of the two, Oregon State will prove another early challenge for the Utes.

The Beavers are currently 2-0, scraping an 89-80 victory over San Francisco. Utah will need to keep an eye on freshman Sasha Goforth of Oregon State. The young guard put on a scoring display against San Francisco, ending the game with 24 points.

Every sports season comes with bumps and bruises along the way. The Utes happened to hit one of these bumps against Oregon. However, as the old saying goes, the most significant improvement occurs between weeks one and two of any sports season.

With their hard knocks taken, Ute fans can expect their team to come out more prepared and determined against Oregon State. Tip-off will at 7 p.m. MST.


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