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Steve Mims | The Register-Guard | October 24, 2018

Utah women's basketball looks for NCAA Tournament berth

Utes in search of NCAA playoff berth.

Utah has reached the WNIT in all three years under Lynne Roberts.

"I can sense our team is headed in the right direction," Roberts said during Pac-12 women's basketball media day. "Last year, we lost on a buzzer-beater at USC on the last weekend of the season and then in overtime at UCLA. We win those games and we are in the NCAA Tournament. There were a couple others that we didn't win. We have to win two or three of those games. It's on us."

Utah has finished with a winning overall record each year under Roberts, but has been under .500 in conference play each season, including an 8-10 mark last year.

The Utes return their top two scorers, including 6-foot-3 senior forward Megan Huff, who averaged 14.7 points and 7.8 rebounds per game. Senior guard Daneesha Provo averaged 12.3 points while shooting 40.4 percent on three-pointers.

Senior point guard Erika Bean had more assists (163) than points (162).

"I think our program is beginning to develop a lot and have a lot of players coming in that work hard and like to get the extra work in," Huff said. "That is a big thing with developing players."

In her first head coaching job, Roberts led Chico State to the Division II semifinals in her fourth season. Roberts moved on to spend nine years at Pacific where she won at least 20 games in two of her final three seasons before being hired by Utah.

"This is starting to feel comfortable," she said. "It takes three full seasons getting into your fourth where you really feel like the culture is sticking and that is where I feel our program is at. We have great returners and some talented newcomers so we are still pushing the boulder up a hill, but I'm excited about where we are at."

Utah added graduate transfer Sarah Porter, a guard who led UC Santa Barbara with nine points per game last season. Roberts signed four freshmen to go with two redshirt freshmen who sat out last year.

"We've made the postseason three years here and it's a process," Roberts said. "You have to take a step back and look at what we have done versus what we haven't. I want to make the NCAA Tournament, let's not be shy about saying that, but I don't want that to be our focus. I think it's a process and we're doing it." 

MORE: California women's basketball envisions a deep 2019 NCAA tournament run

This article is written by Steve Mims from The Register-Guard, Eugene, Ore. and was legally licensed via the Tribune Content Agency through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.