Women’s Basketball Takes on Wildcats and Sun Devils

University+of+Utah+women%27s+basketball+player%2C+Dru+Gylten+%28%2310%29%2C+runs+alongside+an+opponent+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, Dru Gylten (#10), runs alongside an opponent 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

 

Following a postponement of their matchup against the California Golden Bears, the University of Utah women’s basketball team will hit the road as they face Pac 12 opponents, Arizona and Arizona State.

Up first, Utah will face the Wildcats on Jan. 22. Arizona sits at an impressive record of 10-2 (8-2 Pac-12). This will be a revenge match for the Utes, as they fell to Arizona before the Christmas break. Arizona won by a margin of 17, one of the largest spreads of the season.

Arizona has not cooled off, winning four of their last six games, five of those games being in-conference. With a talented roster of seasoned players, Arizona will force the Utes to play hard defense and force the much younger Utah team to adapt accordingly.

After finishing with the Wildcats, Utah will have a one day reprieve until they take on the Sun Devils of Arizona State.

While not as hard-hitting as Arizona, Arizona State still boasts a 7-3 record. However, the Sun Devils barely hold a .500 record (3-3) within the Pac-12.

While a more experienced team than Utah, the Utes will have an opportunity to compete with Arizona State, as long as Utah comes out fired up and ready to get physical. However, the Sun Devils are able to bury teams if given the opportunity.

In order to have a chance this weekend, Utah needs to address one of the biggest issues that have plagued them all season, turnovers. As seen from the previous games, Utah has the talent, yet they tend to shoot themselves in the foot.

Weak passes and going deep in the shot clock cause the Utes to either create fast breaks for the other team or take shots that might as well be turnovers.

Secondly, Utah needs to fight in the paint. With centers such as Lola Pendande and Peyton McFarland, the Utes need to be able to create second or third chance points, as well as limit the possessions of their opponents.

Based on when the Utes were last seen in action, the big scorers of the team (Dru Glyten, Niyah Becker, and Brynna Maxwell) must be able to hit their shots or create shots for their teammates.

Against Stanford, only two Utes players were able to reach double digits. This lack of offensive firepower led to the 28-point defeat. Utah’s offensive leaders must come to play in order for Utah to stand a chance.

The Utes also need to be mobile. As seen at the game against Stanford, Utah’s head coach Lynne Roberts was frustrated with the stagnation of her team’s offense. Utah will need to keep the ball moving and allow shots to be created.

While Utah has been stuck in a rut, they can ill afford to give up. With few games left in the regular season, Utah will need to pick up every Pac-12 victory they can.

The Utes’ weekend trip to Arizona promises to be difficult, yet full of opportunity. The Utes will face two opponents that will test them, yet are not impossible to defeat. As long as Utah plays with intensity and is able to hit their shots, they have a fighting chance to pick up a win or two.

 

[email protected]

@CPadilla67