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Women's basketball: Utah uses dominant second half to stay unbeaten against UVU

Utah women’s basketball coach Lynne Roberts
FILE: Utah women's basketball coach Lynne Roberts
Associated Press

SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah women’s basketball remained undefeated after a dominant second-half performance helped them earn a victory over Utah Valley University Saturday night.

But the perfect record doesn’t mean the Utes are playing perfect basketball.

“It’s been fun,” said senior forward Megan Huff after leading the young team to an 85-47 win over the Wolverines. “I love playing with these girls. And I feel like everyone is just really clicking, really getting along. We just have to work on the little things because we’re having great wins and stuff, but there’s still things we need to focus on and get better at.”

Sometimes winning can obscure a team’s flaws.

But even as they celebrate their 6-0 record, they are very aware of the ways they need to improve. The Utes led 23-16 at the end of the first quarter, but Utah struggled with the half-court game in the second quarter, allowing UVU to get within eight points.

The second half, however, was all Utah, thanks to an impressive transition game and 20-point performances from Huff and senior Sarah Porter, who transferred to Utah from UC Santa Barbara as a graduate student.

“I think as we are winning, we still know we need to get better at things,” Huff said. “It’s not like (coaches) are just going to be like, ‘Oh, great win!’ They’re obviously telling us to do more things and get better. “

The Wolverines (4-2) outrebounded Utah 35-33, but Utah’s assists accounted for much of the second-half dominance as the Utes dished 24 dimes to UVU’s four.

"I'm not worried about the rebounding," said Utah head coach Lynne Roberts, joking that there might be repercussions at practice next week for the less-than-impressive effort. "It's just a decision how good you want to be."

The inexperience showed most in the impatience in shot selection and the way the offense struggled in the half-court setting.

“I think when we are in the transition game and our defense gets our offense going, we are pretty good,” Roberts said. “We are pretty fast, and we have five players on the floor at any time that can score, and that is fun. I think our half-court execution needs to get better, though. I think we need to work the shot clock a little better. We need to learn to settle down.”

The Wolverines were led by sophomore Sophia Jacobsson and freshman Eve Braslis, who scored 11 and eight points respectively. Junior Jordan Holland led the team in rebounds with eight.

Daneesha Provo had another solid outing with 15 points and four steals.

Roberts ticked off a list of things the Utes needed to work on but said they haven’t had much time to practice as they’ve played six games in three weeks, so most of their practices have been about preparing for specific opponents. This month, they play at home, and that should mean more focus on fundamentals.

Their next game is against rival BYU on Saturday, Dec. 8, at the Huntsman Center. Anyone wearing red earns free admission to the game.

Both Roberts and Huff said watching so many new contributors step into the spot light has been exciting.

“It’s really fun, and it’s still early, that’s the thing,” Huff said of watching some of the team’s younger players step into the spotlight. “We have a lot of season to go and a lot of players who are still getting into the flow of things, and I think it’s really fun to see things develop.”