Utah Women’s Basketball Presses on After a Tough Loss to Oregon


Head Coach Lynne Roberts fist bumps her bench before the game between the Lady Utes and the Colorado Buffalos at the Huntsman Center in Salt Lake, UT on Thursday, Feb. 1, 2018(Photo by Adam Fondren | Daily Utah Chronicle)

By Eric Jensen, Sports Writer


Lynne Roberts is proud of her team. The sixth-year University of Utah head coach for women’s basketball ranks Tuesday’s win as one of the best she has had at Utah. Roberts said she was proud of her team’s effort, especially after coming off a tough loss to Oregon on Sunday — in which the Utes lost by over 30 points. Roberts and Utah now look forward to hosting a 1-0 Montana State team on Friday, but not before celebrating the win.

“I told our team we were going to be flying a little bit higher,” Roberts said at her Wednesday press conference after Utah beat Oregon State, the No. 15 ranked team in the country on Tuesday night.

“Really, really proud of our team and our whole program. What we have been through the last couple of weeks has been really, really hard. With the cards we were dealt and having no practice time before we hit the road, five players on our team had never put on a Utah uniform before the Oregon game. Sunday was hard, it was humbling, everything happened so fast, we were rusty, I was rusty,” Roberts said.

That rust was not apparent against Oregon State. Roberts said she knew that wasn’t going to be something that carried over after a 42 point loss to Oregon.

“We just tried to simplify things as a coaching staff, I have to be honest with you, we talked in the locker room after the Oregon game and I could tell from their faces that they were going to be ok. There was nothing other than resolve,” Roberts said.

“Getting our tails kicked at Oregon did not change our potential,” Roberts said.

Roberts sees this potential personified through her players. In particular, Roberts said Brynna Maxwell is a joy to have on the team. “She made big shots, I just kept calling her number, and she kept answering and it’s so fun to have a player like that as a coach,” Roberts said.

Kemery Martin also had a big night for the Utes putting up 15 points, and Roberts reflected on her young sophomore’s early performance.

“We’ve known how special Kemery is, a more typical freshman season kind of the ups and downs and the inconsistencies, and that is more normal. So I think she may have been a little unfairly compared to Brynna in terms of Brynna having such a spectacular year and Kemery having a more typical one, like where is Kemery? Well, she’s having a more typical freshman year, but she had a fantastic off-season and she’s playing with the swagger that we recruited her for. She is a special player, and she is just getting going,” Roberts said.

Off the stat sheet, the player that most impressed Roberts? Niyah Becker.

“A difference-maker was Niyah Becker, finished with six or seven boards. She looked a little nervous offensively, but these are her first starts and she’s shown us in practice we can expect some big games from her,” Roberts said.

Roberts noted that her team played great transition defense and has been really good at rebounding early in the season.

As for Montana State, the Utes certainly aren’t looking past their next opponent.

“Really looking forward to playing Friday,” Roberts said. “Montana State is very good too. Really well coached, always play well in the Big Sky and they shoot the three like crazy.”

The importance of not having a letdown game is clear to Roberts and her staff.

“You can’t have a hangover, you have to be ready to compete, we will have them ready. We are scouting today,” Roberts said.

Roberts talked about the importance of consistency as Utah hopes to be 2-1 as they await the release of the Associated Press Top 25 on Monday. The Utes certainly have a chance to be ranked.

“Great teams are consistent, great players are consistent,” Roberts said.

Utah plays Montana State Friday at 5 p.m. MST. You can listen on ESPN 700 or watch via live stream on here.


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