Utah Women’s Basketball 2021 Offseason Round Up


Jack Gambassi

University of Utah women’s basketball player, Dru Gylten (10), talks to teammates Andrea Torres (3), Kemery Martin (15), and Brynna Maxwell (11), 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 season came to an end all the way back in March as they fell to Washington State in the first round of the Pac-12 tournament. The season was by and large a disappointment as the Utes struggled throughout the year, surrendering leads and giving up turnovers as well as failing to consistently shoot the basketball.

The 2021 season looks very promising though, as the Utes have added two new freshman players thus far and strengthened the coaching staff. Not to mention the fact that they will return with most of their starters from last year. This is in fact the team that beat the ranked Oregon State earlier this year in Corvallis.

Promise abounds for the Utes in 2021. Here is what you need to know about the offseason thus far for the Utah women’s basketball team.

Two New Players

The Utes added two transfers to their roster in Maka Jackson (Texas Tech) and Dasia Young (University of Tennessee at Martin) to the program.

Jackson clocks in as a 5-foot-9 guard who started 17 times last year and was the second leading scorer on the Texas Tech squad. Though Jackson’s numbers are low compared to typical Pac-12 scorers at only 6.4 points per game, head coach Lynne Roberts is excited to add Jackson to the team.

“I am really excited about Maka joining our program,” Roberts said. “She fills an immediate need on our roster with her tremendous athleticism, the ability to defend the perimeter, and a proven competitor who plays with enthusiasm and passion. It has been fun to get to know her through the recruiting process. She will fit right in with our team’s culture and mindset.”

Young is a 5-foot-11 forward who averaged an impressive 12 points per game last season. This would have put her in the top five of scoring Utes last season. Young adds depth to an already loaded front court with senior Andrea Torres and sophomore Peyton McFarland.

Young will likely replace the departed Lola Pendande, who transferred to Miami this spring.

“I am really excited about Dasia joining our program,” Roberts said. “She brings athleticism, aggressiveness and a toughness that we really need and have missed having the last couple of seasons. She’s a winner, a competitor and is a really great addition to our returning talented group.”

Lola Pendande Departs

After dealing with injuries last year, Lola Pendande ended her time with the Utes and transferred to Miami. The truth is, Pendande was simply outplayed in the paint by freshman sensation McFarland.

McFarland largely stole the starting job by mid-January before missing time later in the season due to an injury. Expect McFarland to play a big role in the Utes’ starting lineup next year.

Utes Add Coaching Help

Jerise Freeman joins the Utes staff as a recruiting coordinator and assistant coach. Freeman played under Coach Roberts at Pacific in the mid 2000s. Freeman adds youth to the recruiting staff, and provides an excellent selling point on Coach Roberts. If players see that former athletes who have played under Coach Roberts can get a start in coaching themselves with her staff once their playing career is over, that adds another valuable chip to Utah’s recruiting playbook.

“She has a wealth of experience coaching at every collegiate level and has grown so much in the profession,” said Roberts in a Utah press release. “She has proven herself to be an incredible recruiter, coach and impactor of young people at now the highest level in college basketball. I’m so happy to have her join our Utah family — she makes our program better.”

A Way-Too-Early Utes Projected Starting Lineup

Point Guard: Dru Gylten

Shooting Guard: Brynna Maxwell

Small Forward: Kemery Martín

Power Forward: Andrea Torres

Center: Peyton McFarland

Sixth Woman: Kennady McQueen

As of right now, McQueen should split minutes with Gylten, who suffered a pretty serious ankle injury down the stretch for the Utes. We will know more when Coach Roberts begins her availability in October, but until then this is the best prediction for what the starting lineup will be whenever game one rolls around.


[email protected]