First, there were eight, then there were seven. Injuries have plagued the University of Utah women’s basketball team this season. Because of that, head coach Lynne Roberts has decided to turn down an invitation for the Utes to play in the WNIT.
The Utes lost their number two scorer Daneesha Provo to a knee injury and then forward Dre’Una Edwards, the Pac-12 Freshman of the Year also suffered a knee injury. The team was also low in numbers due to preseason injuries, redshirt players and a midseason transfer.
“We are worn down, and you can just see it,” said Roberts. “As a program, we have always strived to play in the postseason and we have a lot of respect for the WNIT, but this season has turned into a numbers game and although I am a competitor and we want to play as much as we can, we also want to protect our student-athletes.”
Utah will end the 2018-19 season with a 20-10 record, the team’s most wins in a season in over five years and a first 20-win season under the direction of coach Roberts.
The Utes also came away from this season with nine conference wins to tie for sixth place, its most wins in the Pac-12 since joining the league and its highest finish.
Utah did walk away from the season with a number of awards, including nine Pac-12 Freshman of the Week honors, Pac-12 Freshman of the Year awards for Edwards, Dru Gylten, and Andrea Torres, which earned them spots on the all-freshman team.
Megan Huff earned first-team All-Conference for the second straight year with Kiana Moore also earning a place on the all-defensive honorable mention team. Utah’s five spots on this year’s all-conference team are the most the Utes have claimed since joining the Pac-12.
“When we came into the season, we said we wanted to do things that Utah basketball hadn’t done in the Pac-12, and we did. We won more games than we’ve ever won in the conference, we were ranked as high as No. 14 at one point, we beat Stanford for the first time in program history, we have a player in Megan Huff who was first-team all-conference who will get drafted, we have the Pac-12 Freshman of the Year, we have three players on the all-freshman team and we played with seven people,” said Roberts.
“I am incredibly proud of our team and their resiliency throughout the year. They have been an absolute joy to coach. This group has been one of the most fun, most rewarding groups I have ever coached. We are laying the foundation and our seniors took this program to another level. I don’t think we are going anywhere. We finished sixth which is the highest we have ever finished in the Pac-12 and we intend to keep climbing. So, it is closure on this season, but the program is headed in the right direction. I am really proud of our team.”