Coming off of a disappointing weekend that saw the Utes lose their first home games of the season, head coach Lynne Roberts says not to put too much stock into a bad weekend.
“We are coming off a rough week at home, we got beat by No.19 Arizona State on Friday and Arizona on Sunday,” Roberts said. “It’s a long season though, sometimes you will just have a weekend where you don’t play very well. This was our weekend, and we didn’t play very well at all. The bottom of the wet paper bag fell out on us last weekend in our play, but it didn’t fall out in terms of our players or our program. Nothing has changed other than we got a wakeup call.”
Despite the rough stretch against the two teams down south, Utah remains one of the better defensive teams in the Pac-12 and in the nation.
Currently, the Utes sit fourth in the conference in points allowed per game, giving up just 59.7 points per game. The Utes also lead the conference in opponent field goal percentage and opponent three point percentage.
At her Sunday post game press conference, Roberts said that the team was lacking attention to detail and that the team plans to work on that in the future.
“In this conference, the margin of error is so small — one player forgetting who she’s guarding can be three points and that can be the difference between winning and losing a game,” Roberts said. “We have a lot of those mental lapses where you’re going to attack and you’re supposed to be in a press, and three of the five players are in it and the other two take a minute to remember. That’s what I mean by focus.”
Still, a bad weekend doesn’t and shouldn’t, define the program or the team, Roberts said.
Senior Paige Crozon had high praise for her team’s effort and consistency so far this season.
“It’s easy to look back at this last weekend and have it dictate the whole season for us, but I’d say we’re a solid B+ team,” Crozon said. “We’ve shown a lot of improvement from last year, but there’s definitely things that we can always improve and get better at.”
Roberts tends to agree with Crozon, however, as far as grades go for their latest performance, Roberts didn’t hesitate to give her complete honesty.
“Last weekend, I would give us a D, but before that I would give us a B on the season,” Roberts said. “Overall, I don’t think one weekend can cloud a season, and we can’t let it.”
During Roberts’ tenure at the helm, the Utes have slowly, but surely, have begun to establish themselves as a team that plays physical every game, and as a team that plays tough defense. The Utes also lead the Pac-12 in blocks per game and are tied for first place in defensive rebounds.
“We’re still in the phase of building the culture here,” Roberts said. “I want to be hard to play. Win or lose, I want the other team to walk away exhausted and say that Utah is really tough. I want the other teams to think we’re tough to beat, that it’s physically and mentally tough to play at Utah. I want our culture to be that no one person is bigger than the team and everyone has value.”