This Too Shall Pass: Utah Women’s Basketball Closes Toughest Season to Date


Head Coach Lynne Roberts closes her eyes as the Lady Utes loose to 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


The University of Utah women’s basketball season is coming to an end, and it’s hard to find answers for head coach Lynne Roberts.

According to her, it’s been one of the most challenging seasons she has ever faced. COVID-19 has made the road to the end of this season even more difficult.

“It’s been hard I’m not going to lie,” Roberts said. “It has been in my 21 years of coaching, the hardest in terms of just fatigue and it’s just draining. I’ve got to be honest with you I have a lot of friends that coach at this level and it doesn’t matter if your third in the country or five hundred it’s just been really hard.”

As the coach of the program Roberts says it’s been hard to stay “up” through a global pandemic, political unrest, social justice issues, and a season that has not been kind to the Utes in terms of on-court results.

Who would blame her? This has been one of the toughest stretches in American history and that applies to everyone, and athletes and coaches are not exempt from daily hardship. Roberts certainly isn’t using it as an excuse, but this has been the toughest year of her entire coaching career.

You can see it. This season has been hard on Roberts. But she realizes the responsibility she has though and she is part of the reason the season had to go on.

“We did the season because it was what we needed to do,” Roberts said.

The university and coaching staff had a responsibility to give the student-athletes, which are to be commended, a year like any other in which they could compete in their craft and try to get better. In ways they have gotten better, individual players have improved throughout the season and the roster looks promising and deep for 2021-22. The team just hasn’t found ways to get results.

“It didn’t go as planned, it felt like we could never get the plane off the ground for whatever reason,” Roberts said.

That’s the truth, the team never really got going, there was always a few major chinks in the armor and the team never found a way to mend them. That doesn’t mean there aren’t hopeful times ahead but it’s hard to remain positive as a coach, as a player, and as a fan when the season never really takes off.

No one likes losing and Roberts is no different.

No one fights like her though.

“We are going to finish strong, we are going to compete and keep our culture,” Roberts said.

Staying consistent is important to Roberts. The key to success and to learning what lessons need to be taken away from this nightmare season, requires answers she says she doesn’t have yet. But it also needs a steady hand and consistency. How do you stay consistent over the period of the past two months though, in which the Utes have lost six out of seven games?

“It’s hard. It is hard, I have always been pretty consistent. I’m competitive as heck but I have always stayed pretty mellow. I think my temperament is kind of that way,” Roberts said. “I’ve done this long enough as well to know the sun is going to come up tomorrow and everything is going to be ok. Win or lose you have to be able to move on.”

Roberts referenced the old saying this too shall pass, but in the world of coaching that seems to be a dangerous motto to live by. Though the lines between coaching and living become blurred at the collegiate level, these coaches pour everything into their programs, their personalities, their moods, and their beliefs to make these teams they run.

While this to shall pass may not sound good to Utah fans who are upset with such a disappointing season, it’s a necessary motto to keep the program from chaos. Roberts hasn’t lost the team, that’s not what’s happening here, they play hard, the body language is good, and when they lose they look dejected.

That’s healthy, the team is not content with losing, and Roberts will not allow that. The goal remains to win, it always will be. The bigger goal, according to Roberts, remains to provide opportunities as well.

“We do this to get women educated, to get women empowered, to help create good people and I just have to focus on that,” Roberts said.

That is the most important thing to Roberts, to provide student-athletes with opportunities and to help them become well-rounded people. That’s something she’s doing a really good job of throughout the most challenging season in her tenure at the university.

While no one knows what the future holds, the horizon is still in sight, the goal is clear: win and if that doesn’t come to fruition, in the words of wise grandmothers across the nation: this too shall pass.


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