Utah is entering their ninth season under head coach Lynne Roberts. After a rough 2020-21 season, where the Utes went 5-16, Utah has been on a decidedly upward trend. Last season they were 27-5 (15-3, Pac-12) and advanced to the NCAA Sweet Sixteen.
Roberts picked up Pac-12 Coach of the Year last season, for good reason. Utah struggled through the 2020-21 Covid season, going 5-16, and then solidly bounced back with a 21-win season in 21-22, and 27 wins last season.
As a team, the Utes shot 48.4% from the field, including 35.2% on threes, and just under 78% from the line. Their assist to turnover average per game was 18.3 to 14.4. These numbers are similar to Oregon’s last season.
Three of the Utes - all starters - averaged double-digit PPG, with Alissa Pill at 20.7, Gianna Kneepkens at 15.3, and Jenna Johnson at 11.9. Pill and Kneepkens also shot over 42% from beyond the arc over the course of the season.
The Utes return nine players from last season’s squad, including all of their starters: 6-2 F Alissa Pill, 6-0 G Gianna Kneepkens, 6-2 F Jenna Johnson, 5-10 G Kennedy McQueen, and 5-9 G Issy Palmer.
Also returning are 5-11 G Lani White, 5-9 G Iñes Vieira, 6-8 C Néné Sow, and 5-11 F Daisa Young.
Utah did not need much in the way of new faces, but they do bring in two freshmen.
Daniela Falcón Hernandez is a 6-2 F from Las Palmas Gran Canaria, Spain.
Also joining the team is 6-1 F Reese Ross.
Transferring from BYU is 6-2 So. F Alyssa Blanck. Blanck did not play last year.
Joining the Utes from Wisconsin is 5-10 So. G Matyson Wilke. Wilke started in all 29 games for the Badgers last season, averaging 33.9 MPG. She shot nearly 43% from the field, including 35% from distance. Wilke is going to come in and will be an immediate impact player.
Transferring from Boston University is 6-2 So. F Samantha Crispe. She played in all of Boston’s games last season, shooting 43.8% from the field and 88.6% from the line, averaging 19.2 minutes per game.
Last season, Utah tied with Stanford at the top of the Pac-12 rankings. They were knocked out in the second round (first game they played), falling victim to WSU’s improbable tournament run. Still, they picked up a #2 seed in the NCAA tournament, falling to #3 (and eventual champion) LSU in the Sweet Sixteen.
Utah returns all of their major players from last season, and have added another in Mady Wilke. There is nothing to suggest any kind of drop-off, and in the coming season the Utes will again be vying for first place in the Pac-12.