2018 Pac-12 Women's Basketball Media Day: Utah looking for 1st NCAA berth as Pac-12 school
SAN FRANCISCO – Utah has been a solid addition to the Pac-12 since joining the league for the 2011-12 campaign. The Utes have become postseason regulars, having made the WNIT in five of the last seven seasons. They’ve shown they can hang in league play, getting a big win at Arizona State last season and proving to be a tough out for most.
That said, there’s still one big thing the Utes haven’t put a checkmark next to since joining the Pac-12 – making the NCAA Tournament. They’ve been close, perhaps even just a win or two away from making the Big Dance last season, but have come up just short each time they’ve been in consideration.
Take the last weekend of the 2017-18 regular season, where Utah went on the road and lost in overtime to the LA schools, falling to the Trojans by one on a game-winning 3-pointer by USC's Kristen Simon in the waning moments and losing by seven to UCLA in 45 minutes. It sent the Utes to another 8-10 Pac-12 record, the fourth time in seven years in the Pac-12 finishing with that mark and leaving the Utes still looking for their first .500 or better Pac-12 season.
So, will this be the year the Utes finally break through and make the field of 64, which would most likely mean nabbing at least nine or 10 league wins? While Utah loses a major piece with all-time leading shot blocker Emily Potter graduating, the Utes do bring back three starters, including their two leading scorers from last season in Megan Huff and Daneesha Provo. Head coach Lynne Roberts hauled in a nice recruiting class, bringing three four-star recruits into the mix.
However, Roberts doesn’t want to get caught up in all the tournament talk. As any good coach, Roberts is more process-oriented than results-oriented.
“I don’t really want to be a transactional coach – did we win? Did we not? Did we make it? Did we not?” Roberts said at 2018 Pac-12 Women’s Basketball Media Day. “It’s a process, and you have to take a step back and look at what we have done and not what we haven’t… I can definitely sense that we’re headed in the right direction.”
That said, Roberts wants to be dancing coming March, and she isn't shy about it.
“I want to make sure we keep our perspective that it’s not outcome-based, but I want to make the tournament, badly,” Roberts said.