SALT LAKE CITY — The Lynne Roberts era opened on a positive note for the Utes.
Malia Nawahine scored a team-high 18 points and Emily Potter added 17 more, as the Utah women's basketball team topped South Dakota 66-59 at the Huntsman Center in Roberts’ debut as the teams coach.
“I was really proud of their toughness,” Roberts said, following the win. “I thought the first half was pretty blah — for lack of a better word. It’s early in the season and it’s the first game and thats OK. But we kind of challenged them at halftime.”
The Utes (1-0) trailed 26-24 at the half and 50-46 with 6:38 left in the game when Utah used an 11-0 run in three minutes to rally past the Coyotes.
“In the fourth quarter, we kind of just wore them down,” Roberts added.
Utah outshot South Dakota 43-31 percent from the floor in the win and outrebounded the Coyotes by a slim 40-39 margin.
Tanaeya Boclair and Danielle Rodriguez added 13 and 10 points, respectively, for the Utes. The Utah also outscored the Coyotes 24-10 in the paint.
“Getting (our forwards) touches in the paint was a big thing and just playing around them,” Boclair said.
Utah returns to action Tuesday against Lamar.