Utah Women’s Basketball Races Past Gaels


Rachel Rydalch

The Utes with their offense in motion against Lipscomb University at the Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City, Nov. 10, 2021. (Photo by Rachel Rydalch | The Daily Utah Chronicle)

By Brian Preece, Sports Writer


Off to a 2-0 start and firing on all cylinders, the University of Utah women’s basketball team is re-writing the record books individually and as a team. 

You’d have to go back more than four decades, to the 1978-79 season, to find the last time the Utes topped 100 points in consecutive games. The 105 and 106-point outings also settle in as the third and fourth highest scoring single games in program history.

Individually, Dru Gylten began the season as the 10th leading assist-getter and has already advanced to 8th place, passing Monica Starrett and Reggie Wright. Gylten’s 414 career assists place her just two assists behind Gina Butters and she needs 26 more assists to move into the top five all-time. Gylten also leads the Pac-12 with 6.5 assists per game this season.

Benefitting from the Utes’ wide-open offense, Brynna Maxwell has also started the season on a tear as she leads the Utes in scoring, averaging 22.5 points per game, placing her third in the conference. Maxwell has hit five 3-pointers in each of the Utes’ first two games.

With the return of two injured players, Kemery Martín and Payton McFarland, who were expected to be relied upon heavily, the Utes looked to keep the momentum rolling against the Saint Mary’s Gaels on Tuesday night.

Saint Mary’s Gaels: 50, Utah Utes: 92

There would be no third consecutive 100-point performance from the Utes but that didn’t stop them from notching their third 40+ point win in as many games. Not scoring 100 didn’t dampen the enthusiasm of head coach Lynne Roberts after another win.

“I think this has been a really fun team to watch. I’m very pleased with our efforts,” said Roberts. “We did great in the assist to turnover ratio again, which I’m very proud of. Our goal coming in was ten turnovers; we had eleven. We had 25 assists on 36 made baskets, which is an insane ratio for us. Overall this was just a really good win.”

Utah started fast, building a 9-2 advantage after Maxwell knocked down a three. The Utes continued to build their lead on the back of stifling full-court defensive pressure from Inês Vieira and Kennady McQueen. Saint Mary’s went through a drought, not hitting a field goal for over eight minutes between the first and second quarters. By the time the Gaels hit another shot, Utah had built a 29-8 advantage.

After knocking down 33 combined 3-pointers in their first two games, the Utes came back down to earth tonight, making only nine triples against the Gaels. Roberts attributed that to the Saint Mary’s defense.

“We didn’t shoot it well from three, as Saint Mary’s defended the three-point line well, but we still hit nine of them tonight,” Roberts said. 

Freshman Jenna Johnson had another career night, leading the Utes with 22 points, and was able to score from all over the floor. Using her back to the basket post-game combined with an ability to put the ball on the floor and shoot from distance, Johnson is establishing herself as a threat for this Utah team.

By the Numbers

With three assists, Dru Gylten advanced to 7th on the Utes all-time leaderboard and now sits 35 assists from the top-five. 

Jenna Johnson scored a career-high 22 points on 9-of-13 shooting. She collected five rebounds in the victory. She has now scored 20 plus points in back-to-back games.

As a team, the Utes outscored Saint Mary’s 15-0 in transition for the first half and finished the game with a 19-5 advantage in fast break points.

Coming Up

The Utes host the Cincinnati Bearcats in the second matchup ever between the two programs on Friday, Nov. 19 with tip-off scheduled for 7:00 p.m. This is the final game of a four-game homestand to begin the season for Utah before they head to Hawaii for three games in the Rainbow Wahine Showdown. The game can be streamed here and can also be found on ESPN700.

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


[email protected]