Life will become considerably more difficult for the Utah women's basketball team by the end of December, and coach Lynne Roberts knows it.
She's the one who recently mentioned how five Pac-12 schools are among the first 17 teams in the AP Top 25. Yet that's not keeping her from enjoying the Utes' nine straight victories to start the season, including Saturday afternoon's 77-56 defeat of Weber State at the Huntsman Center.
Thoughts of the challenging conference schedule might be ruling Roberts' mind “if I didn’t enjoy this group so much,” she said. “It’s a really fun group. … I do think this group has potential to do something in the Pac-12 too. I think we can win some games we haven’t won in the past.”
Utah has done nothing but win in November and December, although not always in dominant fashion from start to finish. Maybe that’s OK, enabling Roberts to keep driving her team to improve.
• Senior forward Megan Huff scores 23 points, playing three quarters of Utah’s 77-56 win over Weber State in women’s basketball.
• The Utes (9-0) have won every game by 10-plus points.
• Freshman forward Dre’Una Edwards posts her fourth double-double of the season as of midway through the third quarter, finishing with 19 points and 12 rebounds.
The Utes followed their usual script Saturday, allowing WSU to hang around through halftime before asserting themselves with a 20-2 run in the third quarter. That burst to a 63-41 lead ended the day for senior forward Megan Huff, who already had scored 23 points. All of freshman forward Dre'Una Edwards' 19 points and 12 rebounds also came in the first three quarters.
Senior guards J'aiamoni Welch-Coleman and Emily Drake scored 21 and 20 points for Weber State (3-5) in the Huntsman Center return of first-year coach Velaida Harris, a former Ute assistant.
Edwards' biggest contribution may have come in the second quarter. Utah trailed 20-14 before she made an impact with her rebounding and defense, turning two steals into layups. “Everybody's energy wasn't there the first half like it should have been, so I feel like someone on the team had to be the person to make it happen,” Edwards said.
Utah's push to a 35-29 lead allowed Roberts to alter part of her halftime speech, but not all of it. She was displeased with an “uninspired” effort, but acknowledged, “We're not graded on a 20-minute game, we're graded on a 40-minute game. … and players responded.”
The Utes will conclude their nonconference schedule Thursday and Friday in Las Vegas, meeting Florida and then UNLV or Hawaii. Utah’s Pac-12 opener is Dec. 30 at Colorado.