Following Colorado loss, Utah’s Lynne Roberts desires extra ‘urgency’ and ‘edgy’ play

Following Colorado loss, Utah’s Lynne Roberts desires extra ‘urgency’ and ‘edgy’ play

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SALT LAKE CITY — Colorado was the kind of loss that left a foul style.

Every loss has its personal sting, however there was one thing totally different about Utah’s loss to Colorado Saturday afternoon. Possibly it was the profession efficiency of Buffaloes guard Jaylyn Sherrod, or the a number of careless turnovers that accounted for Colorado’s 16 steals and 23 factors on the opposite finish of the ground.

Or possibly it was the 19-point swing within the final 5 minutes of regulation the place Utah’s 8-point lead was an 11-point deficit.

Regardless of the motive, Colorado earned the win as the higher crew that day to start out convention play, and Utah did every thing to make it even simpler for the Buffaloes to make it a chance.

“I feel everybody was actually upset; not as a result of Colorado did not beat us, not as a result of they are not an ideal crew, however as a result of, once more, we let it slip by means of our palms a little bit bit. … That’ll tick you off,” Utah head coach Lynne Roberts mentioned. “We have to get it collectively to the place we’re successful these video games.”

The loss pressured Utah to take a very good take a look at itself.

Exterior of Alissa Pili’s constant play, Utah has, at occasions, appeared like a shell of itself since Gianna Kneepkens suffered a season-ending damage. There have been no straightforward solutions to switch certainly one of Utah’s finest scorers, particularly one who creates her personal shot the way in which Kneepkens does for the Utes.

For a crew that’s given the inexperienced gentle from behind the 3-point line — and makes a nation-leading 12.7 3-pointers on common per recreation — Utah’s guard line has appeared timid and hesitant to shoot except there is a wide-open look; and even then, generally these seems to be are handed as much as discover Pili within the publish.

Pili continues to ship, however the reigning Pac-12 Participant of the 12 months cannot do all of it; it takes all 5 gamers on the court docket contributing to the trouble, Roberts mentioned.

“You have to be night time in and night time out, not icing on the cake, however you have to be a part of the cake,” Roberts mentioned. “Alissa cannot rating 35 each recreation. That needs to be icing on the cake. … We’re nonetheless a piece in progress, however I nonetheless assume we’re adequate to beat anyone. We simply need to settle in. We’d like a giant win, and I feel that’ll propel us.”

Roberts and her crew are looking for a snug medium in life after Kneepkens this season, and a few of that takes time, the pinnacle coach admits. Some guards have been used to being a distributor or being the open look shooter on an additional go for a 3-point shot. Now, that position could have modified to being a catch-and-shoot scorer.

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Utah ahead Alissa Pili (35) is guarded by South Carolina ahead Ashlyn Watkins (2) within the first half of an NCAA school basketball recreation, Sunday, Dec. 10, 2023, in Uncasville, Conn. (Picture: Jessica Hill, Related Press)

It is simply being extra snug with taking contested photographs and never counting on Pili to hold the crew to victory — although she’s greater than able to doing that.

“Alissa’s an ideal scorer and everybody is aware of that, now everybody wants to come back prepared to attain and be a shooter,” Kennady McQueen mentioned. “So everybody simply be a risk, I feel that is what it will come all the way down to.

“If we take a look, we will not simply assume one thing else is gonna develop,” McQueen added. “We have now to take our first good luck that we get. This weekend, I simply assume all people must work one by means of 5, shoot their shot, and do not simply let it come. When you have a glance, take it.”

Simpler mentioned than carried out, however Utah has no selection however to maintain making an attempt new issues as every member of the crew will get extra snug of their new position. And a whole lot of that’s simply the crew reminding itself what’s at stake every day.

Previous to the beginning of the season, Utah noticed the Elite Eight as a sensible objective — if no more. With or with out Kneepkens, although, that wasn’t simply going to be handed to the Utes as a result of the crew talked about it and put it into the universe. Now, greater than ever, the work put into the sport will outline Utah’s trajectory.

“It is simply displaying up every single day and simply doing it,” ahead Jenna Johnson mentioned. “I imply, we are able to discuss it and say we wish to make the Candy 16 like everybody within the nation does or, like, we wish to go additional, we wish to win a nationwide championship, all these totally different targets. Nevertheless it comes all the way down to coming in every single day and having that focus.”

The targets are what they’re, however Roberts desires her crew to be “mentally more durable” and discover a sense of urgency inside themselves.

“Nobody’s panicking or down or depressed, however there must be some urgency with how we’re pursuing this proper now,” Roberts mentioned.

“Our margin of error has reduced in size,” she added. “So me simply reminding them, whether or not it is pleasant or not, to get your butts shifting — like both you wish to win, lower down a internet, or you do not. Inform me now when you do not, as a result of I am going to attempt to sit back. In all probability not, although.”

With groups determining methods to scout Utah higher, particularly in Pac-12 play, Roberts additionally desires a crew with an edge that is keen to not again down in opposition to opponents.

“We’re assured, we’re optimistic. I simply wish to see us play with a little bit extra edge, in a way — a little bit extra,” she mentioned. “We have some very nice children, however I would like them to play rather less good — compete rather less good. Be good off the court docket, however let’s get a little bit edgy.”

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Josh is the Sports activities Director for and beat author masking College of Utah athletics — primarily soccer, males’s and ladies’s basketball and gymnastics. He’s additionally an Related Press High 25 voter for faculty soccer.

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Written by bourbiza mohamed

Bourbiza Mohamed is a freelance journalist and political science analyst holding a Master's degree in Political Science. Armed with a sharp pen and a discerning eye, Bourbiza Mohamed contributes to various renowned sites, delivering incisive insights on current political and social issues. His experience translates into thought-provoking articles that spur dialogue and reflection.

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