Utah Women’s Hoops Off to Hot Start


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 Eric Jensen, Sports Writer


The second week of University of Utah women’s basketball is underway. After wins over Lipscomb and Xavier last week, the Utes this week take on Saint Mary’s and Cincinnati.

Impressively, the Utes earned 105 points against Lipscomb and an even more impressive 106 against Xavier, in both of last week’s matchups. In fact, the Utes set a new school record with 19 threes in their win over Lipscomb. The Utes then put up 14 three pointers the following game against Xavier.

To say the Utes are shooting the ball extremely well right now would be an understatement. On the year, the Utes are shooting 51% — a thirteen percent improvement from last year’s team. If those kind of numbers continue the Utes should remain competitive in most of their Pac-12 games this year.

The defense hasn’t taken as much of a stride yet, but the Utes are giving up just 63 points per game at this point. However, Saint Mary’s is currently averaging just over 62 points per game right now, so the Utes have a chance to improve drastically against an opponent that struggles to get buckets.

Saint Mary’s is shooting just 41 percent from the field and 33 percent from three. The Gaels are struggling to score right now and against a Ute defense that has started out stout especially on the perimeter that could be a real problem for Saint Mary’s. The Utes have allowed just 26 percent from three through two games this year. Head coach Lynne Roberts stressed that in the off season.

Roberts was effusive in the praise of her team after the win against Xavier.

“We only had four turnovers in the last five minutes of the game, and when we were taking care of the ball, we ended up shooting it well,” Roberts said. “I was pleased with the intensity and hustle. I loved seeing Kennady dive for the ball at the end of the second half when we were up big. I thought Jenna was fantastic today — 9-of-13 shooting and seven rebounds, certainly a breakout game for her. We need to work on our fouls, but other than that, I’m really happy with our effort.” 

The Utes’ ability to limit turnovers early has helped to provide two blowout wins. Too often last year, the story was blown leads because of huge turnover numbers, but that is not the case this year as the Utes are averaging just 11 turnovers per game over two games. That boils down to about 4 per quarter, and if those numbers stay that way the Utes should remain competitive in every game they play.

The Utes currently have three players averaging 15 or more points per game. Those are the numbers of a contending Pac-12 team. Kennady McQueen has made a notable jump in her sophomore season for the Utes, averaging 15.5 points per game.

If her scoring can remain consistent alongside Brynna Maxwell, who is averaging 22.5 ppg, the Utes have real promise to make the NCAA tournament. Two games in is not the time to make declarative statements, but the Utes have shown real positives over the start of the season.


[email protected]