Women’s Basketball Heads to Golden State for Two Game Stand

University+of+Utah+women%27s+basketball+player%2C+Donna+Ntambue+%28%230%29%2C+drives+to+the+rim+in+the+game+against+the+University+of+Arizona+in+the+Jon+M.+Huntsman+center+in+Salt+Lake+City+on+Dec.+20%2C+2020.+%28Photo+by+Jack+Gambassi+%7C+The+Daily+Utah+Chronicle%29

University of Utah women’s basketball player, Donna Ntambue (#0), drives to the rim in the game against the University of Arizona in the Jon M. Huntsman center in Salt Lake City on Dec. 20, 2020. (Photo by Jack Gambassi | The Daily Utah Chronicle)

By Carlos Padilla, Sports Writer

 

After a well-fought victory over the Washington Huskies, the University of Utah women’s basketball team will head to the sunshine state to face the Trojans of USC and the Bruins of UCLA.

Starting on Friday, the Utes will first play USC. The 3-5 Trojans will be eager to get on the hardwood, as their last game against Oregon State was postponed. While the Utes and Trojans share an identical record, it would be a mistake to underestimate the level of talent on the opposing bench. USC has proven to be a strong opponent for Utah, beating the Utes in a heartbreaker last season by a score of 69-66.

This game will be a matchup of young teams. Utah’s roster boasts only two upperclassmen, and USC finds itself in a similar boat. With one graduate transfer and one junior, both teams are looking to elevate their young players. Utah fans should see this game as an opportunity to see how their players genuinely stack up against opponents of similar experience.

The first of Utah’s California two-game stand gives the Utes an opportunity to pick up a much needed Pac-12 win. With only two conference victories up to this point, any success will go along way as the Utes begin to fix their eyes on tournament season.
Utah will also be able to get a glimpse of their opponents of the future, as many of the players on USC will be tipping off against the Utes for the next few seasons.

After a quick Saturday off, Utah will face the much more daunting No. 9 UCLA Bruins.

Sitting at a record of 6-2, 4-2 in conference, UCLA will be yet another high powered Pac-12 opponent for Utah. UCLA has been especially hot as of late, knocking off the elite Oregon team that Utah faced as their season opener.

With the ability to entirely run teams out of the gym, UCLA will prove to be one of the more experienced opponents on Utah’s roster. In order to stay on the court with USC and UCLA, Utah must bring the same level of intensity that was shown in the game against Washington. Utah cannot shy away from physical play and must find their way to the free-throw stripe.

Utah will also be relying on their upperclassmen — Andrea Torres and Dru Glyten — to see them through this road trip, especially against UCLA. As a very young team, Utah may be clawing and fighting for every point. Torres and Glyten will need to show their younger teammates how to grit through challenging games, especially in opponent arenas.

Utah will also be looking for shooters such as Brynna Maxwell and Glyten to have a hot hand while also relying on Torres and Lola Pendande to snag boards and dominate the paint.

With the largest homestand of Utah’s season now behind them, the Utes will become road warriors, starting with their two-game trip to California. This trip offers the Utes the unique opportunity to pick up potentially two conference wins, with one potential major upset.

It is worthy of mention that Utah has knocked off a top 25 opponent every season since head coach Lynne Roberts assumed the mantel. If trends continue, Utah could be the team to upset one of the hottest teams in the Pac-12 while also positioning themselves favorably as the season progresses.

 

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