Women's basketball: Cold-shooting Utah loses to No. 23 Colorado
The picture of Anthony Levrets placing his hand on his temple and rubbing vigorously tells the tale of a coach who is running out of ways to answer the same question.
In reality, Levrets isn't sure how to cure Utah's now gigantic issue of missing open shots. And on a late Sunday afternoon, moments after the Utes suffered a 56-43 loss to No. 23 Colorado before 809 at the Huntsman Center, the frustration was evident with the coach and his players. Levrets knows Utah is doing everything but making open shots.
Unfortunately, making shots is the ultimate goal in basketball.
"Somehow, we've got to figure this out," Levrets said. "I'm frustrated for and with my team. They are working so hard, and this is the most fun team I've ever been around. But it's just not happening for us."
The anatomy of Utah's fourth consecutive Pac-12 Conference loss is scary. The Utes made just three of their 22 3-point attempts. They shot 26.3 percent from the field, including 5-for-25 in the second half. They had more turnovers than assists, and were outrebounded 41-32 by the Buffaloes.
Colorado, for its part, wasn't much better, the product of Utah's stingy defense. The Buffaloes were 3-for-11 from beyond the arc, and struggled with the Utes for a half. But when one team isn't making any shots, the other team can pull away by making a few shots.
And that's just what Colorado did.
"They opened up a lead in the second half, and that really hurt us," Utah guard Rachel Messer said. "They did a good job down the stretch and they made the plays that were needed. You have to give them some credit, but we have to find a way to get some offense."
Utah's lack of offense has been a trend over the last few weeks. In the past days of practice, Levrets had his team playing shooting games. The object was to make shooting the basketball actually fun.
"We were knocking them down in practice regularly," Levrets said. "We're making them there, but they just aren't translating to the game."
Only two Utah players Taryn Wicijowski and Michelle Plouffe made more than one field goal Sunday. The perimeter players struggled to create offense as well. Because of this, Colorado played its sagging man defense, designed to double the post, without consequence.
Indeed, Wicijowski sported a big bruise on her right arm, a product of combat in the paint. She scored a game-high 16 points and delivered the line of the day when asked how she was feeling.
"I'm ready to see a sports psychologist," Wicijowski said.
Her coach and her teammates may not be far behind.
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Colorado 56, Utah 43
R Utah scores 20 points in the second half.
• The Utes shoot 3-for-22 from 3-point range.
• Utah falls to 0-4 in the Pac-12 Conference.