SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah women’s basketball team plays in one of the toughest conferences in the nation, which means it plays ranked teams in the Pac-12 on a regular basis.
The Utes are coming off a big road win over No. 22-ranked Arizona State last week after losing to No. 14 UCLA the week before. So what’s staring the Utes in the face right now? Two more games against ranked opponents this week at the Huntsman Center.
The Utes will take on No. 17-ranked Oregon State Friday night (6 p.m.), and will follow that up against No. 7 Oregon on Sunday (noon).
Third-year coach Lynne Roberts was thrilled with her team’s resolve in coming back to defeat the Sun Devils in a tough environment last Friday, 58-56. The Utes outscored ASU 26-13 in the fourth quarter and came up with seven offensive rebounds in the final period, five by senior forward Megan Huff.
“We had a great fourth quarter, but I’m most proud of our team for not buckling,” said Roberts. “It shows the maturity and growth of our program. It was a gut check.”
Now the Utes, who are 14-5 overall and 5-3 in the Pac-12, want to keep the momentum going against two of the league’s better teams. Roberts says wins over ranked teams help establish her program.
“I don’t think we are respected much, which is fine; we’ll earn it,” she said. “It’s eyebrow-rising, in the basketball community like, ‘Oh wow, Utah beat them.’ The more we can do that, the more we’re going to earn that respect because now no one expects us to beat a ranked opponent. Our goal is to beat those ranked opponents, not just to beat them, but to become one. We’ve just got to keep earning that respect.”Comment on this story
UTE NOTES: The Utes' Tori Williams, a 5-foot-9 guard from Boise, won the Freshman of the Week award after scoring 25 points in the two victories in Arizona last week. She leads Pac-12 freshmen in 3-pointers with 37. ... The Utes are led by Huff at 13.7 points per game, followed by Daneesha Provo at 13.3 ppg and Emily Potter at 11.8 ppg. Huff averages 8.3 rebounds per game, while Potter averages 7.0 rpg. ... The Utes will play back-to-back games against Colorado next week, Thursday in Salt Lake and Sunday in Boulder. ... The Pac-12 tournament starts March 1 at Seattle’s Key Arena.