Utah women defeat Colorado, 78-59, but lose another player to injury

Megan Huff, Utah Women's Basketball August 27, 2016 in Salt lake City, UT. (Photo / Steve C. Wilson / University of Utah)

After another victory, Utah women’s basketball coach Lynne Roberts scanned the box score Friday night and praised nearly all of her players.

“Everybody did their job,” Roberts said, summarizing the Utes’ 78-59 win over Colorado at the Huntsman Center.

The fact she could individually cite everyone who was available at the end of the game was equally encouraging and discouraging. Freshman forward Dre’Una Edwards went to the locker room early in the third quarter with a dislocated right shoulder, after battling for a rebound. Her shoulder was popped back into place, so she returned to the bench with an icepack, then had her arm in a sling. Roberts was awaiting further information, as she spoke in the postgame interview.

The Utes (16-1, 5-1 Pac-12) already were down to eight active players, following senior Daneesha Provo’s season-ending knee injury two weeks ago. If Edwards is sidelined, “We’ll roll with it. We’ll be all right,” Roberts said. “If it’s eight [players], it’s a talented eight. If it’s seven, it’s a talented seven.”

The Utes were good enough to overwhelm Colorado (10-7, 0-6) for the second time in three weeks. The Buffaloes were missing top scorer Kennedy Leonard, due to injury. Alexis Robinson scored 24 points, but that total came via 9-of-28 shooting against Utah’s solid defense. At the other end, the Utes rediscovered their shooting ability.

Utah went 12 of 22 from 3-point range, after shooting 1 of 17 in last Sunday’s win at Washington. The Utes were a combined 25 of 48 in two games vs. Colorado, with freshman forward Andrea Torres thriving each time. Torres’ 14 points Friday gave her 32 against the Buffs; she has totaled 53 points against Utah’s 15 other opponents.

Torres will become more vital if Edwards’ injury is significant.

Luckily, Utah is a well-balanced team that defends without fouling, enabling Roberts to manage her rotation.

Senior forward Megan Huff led Utah with 17 points, overcoming a defensive strategy that Roberts described as “holding, grabbing, pulling, tugging, shoving.”

Kiana Moore (15) and Erika Bean (11) also scored in double figures, and Dru Gylten posted eight points, eight assists and seven rebounds.

Edwards is a four-time Pac-12 freshman of the week. The Utes were “just kind of taken aback” when she exited, Bean said. The Utes, unfortunately, are accustomed to this stuff.

“One falls, and the next [woman] stands up,” Bean said.

“To be great,” Roberts said, “you’ve got to have that mentality.”

The timing is rough, though. After next Friday’s game vs. California, one of the Pac-12’s top-tier programs, the Utes’ opponents are No. 6 Stanford, No. 5 Oregon and No. 10 Oregon State.

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