Utah Women’s Basketball Handle Bison in Record-Setting Performance


Rachel Rydalch

Celebration on the bench by the University of Utah’s women’s basketball team as their teammate scored a three-pointer at the Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City, Nov. 10, 2021. (Photo by Rachel Rydalch | The Daily Utah Chronicle)

By Brian Preece, Sports Writer


It’s been 252 days since the University of Utah women’s basketball team completed a disappointing 2020-21 season with a 57-48 loss to Washington State in the first round of the Pac-12 tournament: 252 days for head coach Lynne Roberts to prepare her team for the rigors of another season. 

Roberts used the offseason to take a long, hard look at the program and devise a style of play that matched the personnel at her disposal and put them in the best position to succeed. After months of hard work behind the scenes, they now have a chance to get back on the floor as the regular season began in earnest last night with the Lipscomb Bison, from the ASUN conference, traveling west for the first ever matchup between the two programs.

Championships are never won in November, but they can be lost; which is exactly why it’s so critical for the Utes to start the season off fast with their 11-game non-conference schedule. 

The Pac-12 is a relentless conference where the Utes will face some of the nation’s best, night in and night out. Building confidence and chemistry now will benefit them once conference play begins on New Year’s Eve.

Lipscomb Bison: 56, Utah Utes: 105

The Utes hit a school-record 19 threes on their way to the third most points in a single game in program history, the most since 1984. Even more impressive than their shooting was a dynamic defensive performance, especially on the perimeter as Utah forced 16 Bison turnovers, including 10 steals.

Coming off of a 23-point loss to that team down south, the Bison started hot; hitting five of their first ten shots and forcing four Ute turnovers in the process of taking a 12-8 lead. From there, Utah leaned on their defense by forcing three turnovers and perimeter shooting by hitting four triples in the opening quarter.

In the second, an extended and suffocating perimeter defense stymied Lipscomb after a 17-point first quarter. Limiting the Bison to a single field goal allowed Utah to build a 51-19 advantage at halftime. Utah outscored Lipscomb 31-2 in the second. 

Inês Vieira came off the bench to lead the effort, finishing the quarter a perfect 3-3 from the field including two threes.

“[Vieira] was a little jumpy in that first quarter, but she’s a difference-maker,” Roberts said.

The Utes kept the pressure on in the second half as they built a 47-point lead by the end of the third quarter. 

After an 11-point first half, Brynna Maxwell stayed hot as she connected on 3-4 shots, scoring eight points in just four minutes. Isabel Palmer added six points of her own, including 1-2 from deep. 

“We just want to take what the defense gives you,” Maxwell said. “Lipscomb was sagging in and the three point shot was there. It’s really fun to be part of a program where everyone is genuinely excited for everyone else to do well. I think that’s going to carry over on the court as well.”

Fifth-year senior Dru Gylten had an excellent all-around performance, finishing with eight points, six assists as she tied her career high with nine rebounds, leading the team. 

“We made some changes in how guards rebound this year,” Gylten said. “If I’m able to rebound and run, it saves time. I think it’s just more effective.”

Gylten also passed Monica Starrett for 9th on the Utes’ all-time assists list and sits just four behind 8th place Reggie White.

“It was a great game for us,” Roberts said. “In the second quarter you saw our depth and the ability to shoot the three. I’m proud of our team. Just an overall great game and good start to the year.”

Coming Up

The Utes face the Xavier Musketeers in a Saturday afternoon matinee on Nov. 13 with tipoff scheduled for 12 p.m. This is the second of four consecutive home games to begin the season for Utah. The game can be streamed here and can also be found on ESPN 700.

Social Media

Follow the Utes all season long on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.


[email protected]