Purdue is really good, and I have a lot of respect for them. They made it to the second round of the NCAA Tournament last year. —Lynne Roberts
SALT LAKE CITY — Last year, the Utah women’s basketball team went undefeated in the pre-season, but that may not have been the best preparation for the reality of Pac-12 play.
“We tried to increase our schedule this year,” said Utah head coach Lynne Roberts. “I don’t know if we had prepared our team for how big and physical and good the Pac-12 is, so we have tried to schedule up a little bit this preseason.”
Inviting Purdue to the Huntsman Center Monday night is part of that effort.
“Purdue is really good, and I have a lot of respect for them,” Roberts said. “They made it to the second round of the NCAA Tournament last year. They are very well-coached; they have a ton of tradition; they are just a good program.”
The Boilermakers return three starters from the NCAA Tournament team, including sophomore guard Dominique Oden, who averaged 10.8 points last season. They’re 3-0 this season, and sophomore forward Ae’Rianna Harris is coming off a team-leading double-double of 18 points and 14 rebounds. Roberts likened Purdue to Alabama, a team the Utes lost to in a 65-60 heartbreaker last Monday in Tuscaloosa.
“They are very talented,” Roberts said. “Similar to the Alabama game, it is a great opportunity, and it is one that will get us ready for Pac-12 play.”
The Utes are coming off a dominating 85-58 win over Weber State. Utah had five players in double figures in the win over the Wildcats, led by Megan Huff’s 20 points.
The Utes hope to have a great home crowd to greet the Boilermakers, and there are some fun activities going on in conjunction with the game, which starts at 7 p.m. The game will be broadcast life on the Pac-12 Network.
Monday night will be “Star Wars Night.” Mini lightsabers and Utah women’s basketball Star Wars posers will be given out at the door with a chance to win tickets to opening night of “The Last Jedi” due out in mid-December.