October 10, 2023 

Locked On Women’s Basketball: Utah and Lynne Roberts are ready to capture Pac-12, NCAA glory

With all of their starters returning, the Utes are on a mission in 2023–24

This week on Locked On Women’s Basketball, host Howard Megdal takes a closer look at one of the Pac-12’s strongest contenders: the Utah Utes. Head coach Lynne Roberts joins Howard to reflect on the team’s best season since 2018 and look ahead to the upcoming season. First, they spoke about last year’s difficult loss to eventual champion LSU in the Sweet Sixteen:

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“There are games, throughout your career as a player and coach, that just kind of stick with you. I think that’s the game against LSU,” Lynne Roberts said. “I think that was such a great game played by both teams, and the players left it all out there. And sometimes those are the games that are the most fun to win and the hardest to lose … that was probably one of the toughest locker rooms after the game that I’ve ever been in.”

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Roberts spoke about how her team, which returns all of its starters from last season, has learned to use that loss, as well as fresh energy from newcomers, to fuel their comeback. Megdal also noted that each of Utah’s top seven players by minutes played will return in 2023–24.

The conversation then turned to how the Utes are evolving their game for the upcoming season. Megdal pointed to last season’s quick, efficient offense: winning games by an average of 16.8 points and going 35% from three as a team while having on of the most effective interior offenses in the country.

As for where Utah is looking to improve, Roberts doubled down on gaining experience, limiting turnovers and improving their rebounding. “I’m never satisfied,” she said. “We can be better, if we were fifth, what do we have to do to be first?”

“You have to be excellent at the little things all the time,” Roberts continued. “If basketball is a game of chances, [with] the way that we can score the ball, if we have more chances than you, whether that’s taking care of the ball [or] rebounding, we’re going to beat you.”

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Howard and Lynne then spoke about how Utes star forward Alissa Pili is continuing to evolve her game as she enters her senior season at Utah.

“There’s no one in the country like her,” Roberts said. “Now that I know a little bit more of what she’s capable of, and I think she’s proven herself, I can run some stuff that plays to her unique ability. You know, as a coach, it’s kind of like [being] a racecar driver and having this fancy race car, like you want to see what it can really do. Right?”

The two also covered Lynne’s “secret sauce” for creative playmaking, how Utah works on “unselfish” basketball, updates on Gianna Kneepkens and Jenna Johnson, and the process of adding newcomer Matyson Wilke out of Wisconsin.

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Written by The Next

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