Utah Women’s Basketball Dismantle Westminster in Exhibition Opener


Langley Hayman

(Photo by Langley Hayman | The Daily Utah Chronicle)

By Brian Preece, Sports Writer


In their first action this season against someone not wearing University of Utah colors, the Utah women’s basketball team looked promising in a 93-48, 45 point victory against the Division II Westminster Griffins in the Jon M. Huntsman Center on Friday night.

Last season, a disappointing 5-16 record led head coach Lynne Roberts to a reevaluation of how to get the best out of the women’s basketball program. What did she settle on as keys for improvement?

“Focusing on improving rebounding and limiting turnovers,” Coach Roberts said at Pac-12 media day. 

Taking the coaching staff’s emphasis to heart, the Utes out-rebounded Westminster 37-27 and dominated nearly all facets of play, but there are still areas they can improve. 

We didn’t shoot well in the first half but came out in the second half, and we shot it pretty well,” Roberts said. “We did a nice job with 17 steals. We’ve got to get better at not fouling and pressuring without fouling. But for the first game out, it was just fun to get out there. I love this group.”

Utah outscored the Griffins in all four periods and never trailed in the game.

Led by Kennady McQueen’s 20 points, the Utes finished with four double digit scorers, and all 12 active players were able to get on the scoreboard. Utah knocked down 14 three-pointers, connecting at a 40% clip. Six Utes hit from beyond the arc, with McQueen’s four triples leading the way. Freshman Gianna Kneepkens hit three 3s and tallied 13 points in as many minutes in her first game as a Ute.

After shooting 45% in the opening half, Utah turned up the intensity and scored 54 points in the second half, shooting 50% in the third quarter and a cool 56% in the final stanza. The perimeter attack was strong, opening up the interior where the Utes finished with 38 points in the paint, giving Utah a balanced offensive attack. 

On the defensive end, Utah forced 24 Griffin turnovers, converting those into 25 points on the other end. Limiting Westminster to 35% from the field, the Utes defense showed an ability to pressure the ball and take away the Griffins’ primary offensive options. Sarah McGinley paced Westminster in scoring with 15, one of only of their two players to reach double figures on the night.

Postgame, Roberts talked about the chance to get minutes for everybody in the exhibition matchup.

“It was a typical exhibition game, but it was nice to get out there,” Roberts said. “It was so awesome to have fans back. It’s fun to get out there and play everybody equal minutes, and everybody got to play quite a bit, which is what you want.”

Coming Up

The Utes welcome in the Bison from Lipscomb State to begin regular season play on Wednesday, Nov. 10. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. MST. This game will be streamed here and can also be found on ESPN 700.

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