Utah Women’s Basketball Prepares To Take On Washington Schools

University+of+Utah+womens+basketball+player%2C+Brynna+Maxwell+%28%2311%29%2C+holds+the+ball+on+offense+in+the+game+against+Arizona+State+University+in+the+Jon+M.+Huntsman+center+in+Salt+Lake+City+on+Dec.+18%2C+2020.+%28Photo+by+Jack+Gambassi+%7C+The+Daily+Utah+Chronicle%29

University of Utah women’s basketball player, Brynna Maxwell (#11), holds the ball on offense in the game against Arizona State University in the Jon M. Huntsman center in Salt Lake City on Dec. 18, 2020. (Photo by Jack Gambassi | The Daily Utah Chronicle)

By Eric Jensen, Sports Writer

 

The University of Utah women’s basketball team keeps giving up leads. In fact, in three of their last five games, the Utes have given up a lead of five or more points at some point during the game, which is an issue.

The issue could be solved by limiting turnovers, but the Utes really haven’t done that well this year. After a good game against Cal, turnovers have once again come back to haunt the Utes. Over the past three games, the Utes have turned over the ball 47 times. That averages out to about 15 turnovers per game.

While turnovers are common in basketball, according to head coach Lynne Roberts, these types of turnovers are self-inflicted and leave the team hobbled every time they step on the floor.

“It’s been a constant thing and we talk about it. But yeah, it’s been an ongoing thing and until we fix that, you know, for us to beat Oregon or Oregon State or USC, I don’t see how we are going to beat those teams with that happening,” Roberts said.

She’s right. They keep losing and nothing is changing. That’s leading to frustration, from heads on hands on the sideline to bad body language from the coaching staff and players to halftime leads that turn into blow-out losses.

The Utes have three games left, but it feels like the season has been over for a month now. Nothing has changed. A month ago this same article was written begging for the turnovers to go down hoping for better shooting and neither of those things has happened so this is where we are. The Utes are 5-13 and drifting aimlessly into the off-season.

It isn’t a lack of effort. The Utes still play extremely good defense, run to the ball and fight for rebounds. The Utes have averaged 37 rebounds over their past three games. Those are really good numbers from this team.

So what needs to change? That is not really for me to say as a beat writer. You can read between the lines though, because if there has not been change and improvement up to this point of the season, why would it make them better next year?

This Week’s Matchups

The Utes will take on Washington and Washington State this weekend.

Washington is another struggling team, 5-11 on the year. The last time these two teams met up, it wasn’t a close one as the Utes blew the Huskies out 84-63. Brynna Maxwell led the team with 24 points.

Maxwell has been a bright spot for the Utes this season. She’s back up to around what her scoring average was last year around 13 (currently sitting at 12.8). Maxwell has improved individually. She finds a way to fight through contact and score more readily now at this point of the season.

Individual improvement is not an issue for the Utes, arguments could be made that across the board every individual player has improved. Yet at the same time, the team as a whole has somehow seemed to regress.

The test comes Sunday against Washington State, a team that the Utes lost to the first time around 79-74. Washington State has exceeded expectations this year and has turned into a .500 team, though the last three games have not gone well as they host the Utes coming off a three-game skid.

Both games can be heard on the radio on ESPN 700 and both can be watched via live stream of the Huskies and Cougars. The Utes and Huskies will face off at 8 p.m. MST on Friday, Feb. 19. Utah and Wazzu will play 1 p.m. MST on Sunday, Feb. 21. The Utes have one game remaining after their trip to the Pacific Northwest this weekend.

 

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@Eric18utah