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Utah Women’s Basketball Preparing To Close Out Pac-12 Regular Season

Feb 28, 2024, 9:52 AM

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SALT LAKE CITY – The Pac-12 regular season comes to a close for Utah women’s basketball this weekend against the Washington schools.

The Utes have two double-headers with Utah men’s basketball starting on Thursday, February 29 and wrapping up on Saturday, March 2. Then all eyes look toward Las Vegas for the Pac-12 Tournament.

Head coach Lynne Roberts was on hand to talk about ending the season on a high note and having to say good-bye to an incredible trio of seniors.

Utah Women’s Basketball Keeping A Tough Season In Perspective

Roberts started off by noting the confusing national narrative about the Utes despite the fact they are still very much in a great spot and have done something no one else has- beat four Top 10 teams.

Of course, the journey has been much different than last season, but Roberts is still every bit as fired up about what Utah can do in postseason play.

“I am proud of our team,” Roberts said. “It’s interesting the narrative around our program right now nationally. It’s like- what is wrong with them? But we’ve won nine of our last 12. Like, we’ve beaten four Top 10 teams. Yeah, we’ve lost some that were heartbreakers, and we completely laid an egg at UCLA, but I’m fired up for March with this group. I really am. It’s been an inconsistent season just because we’ve been inconsistent with our roster. People coming in and out with injuries, but man, they have hung in there and have just kept fighting.”

Injuries aside, Roberts dived into some of the other details and aspects of why this season has been in many ways, tougher than the year before.

“I mean, every year is different, “Roberts said. “Last year I felt like we were kind of surprising people, so we had that ‘underdog’ mentality, and you can get some momentum with that. This year is just different. We’ve had a target on our back the whole year, which is an adjustment, but we’ve also had injuries, concussions- all the things all year long. It’s been hard to get some momentum with that too, but I am just as confident as I was last year going into the tournament. I think this group has a lot of experience so there aren’t going to be nerves going into the tournament. Playing in this league prepares you for it.”

Saying Good-Bye To An Impactful Group Of Seniors

This weekend could possibly be Ute fans’ last chance to say good-bye to a very impactful group of seniors for Utah women’s basketball. (The Utah women are currently straddling a four-seed or five-seed placement in the NCAA Tournament that could be the difference between hosting or going away for the first two games.)

Issy Palmer, Dasia Young, and Alissa Pili have been a major part of Utah women’s basketball’s recent resurgence and Roberts says she isn’t ready to think about the team moving forward without them.

“I’m not ready for them to be done,” Roberts said. “I think if you look at what they’ve done since they’ve been here- the players that I coached before was all kind of the building blocks of getting to where we are now and then these guys kind of pushed it over the edge. Kind of watershed players that helped.”

“Issy has struggled staying healthy her whole time here, but she has been a big part of it,” Roberts continued of her incredible seniors. “It’s a bummer she can’t finish it out right now. Dasia- just her growth as a player, as a person and just what a critical piece of our team she is, it’s rewarding. Then, what can you say about Alissa Pili that hasn’t already been said? I think just her commitment to our program and to becoming the best version of herself- as a coach, that’s the good stuff. That’s why you do what we do. I’m not ready for them to be done yet. I know on Saturday we will be celebrating them, but I’m not ready to talk about it.”

Michelle Bodkin is the Utah Utes Insider for KSLsports.com and host of both the Crimson Corner Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and The Saturday Show (Saturday from 10 a.m.–12 p.m.) on The KSL Sports Zone. Follow her on XInstagram, and Threads: @BodkinKSLsports

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Utah Women’s Basketball Preparing To Close Out Pac-12 Regular Season