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When the University of Utah joined the Pac-12, consistent success in women's basketball seemed like one of its most difficult tasks.

After all, the Utes' new league has been a long-time leader in the sport, its history filled with legendary teams, players and coaches.

Utah's ability to compete in the Pac-12 never seemed more dubious than in 2015, when it ended a two-season stretch with a total of nine conference wins.

Hello, Lynne Roberts.

The former head coach at Chico State and Pacific, Roberts jumped at the opportunity when athletic director Chris Hill offered her the job.

"Utah women's basketball has had tremendous success — storied success," Roberts said. "They had a rough couple years, but that's part of sports. Every team goes through it. It doesn't matter if you are the Lakers or the Patriots. [Even] if you're a dynasty, there's always going to be a little blip. And I don't think that was reflective of this place."

Roberts has put Utah on the right track. In her first year, the Utes finished 18-15, including eight Pac 12 wins, regular-season sweeps of Cal, Washington State and Colorado and two victories in the Women's NIT.

"Our players were hungry to succeed," Roberts said. "I give them all the credit. They bought in. They gave me everything they had. It was a pretty smooth first year."

It doesn't always happen.

"Sometimes players can resist change; they are reluctant to do it," Roberts said. "We didn't recruit them and they didn't come to Utah to play for us. The potential is there for some tough dynamics. But we didn't have any of that."

Another factor in Utah's about-face?

"Our players worked harder than they've ever worked before," Roberts said, "and they reaped the benefits from it."

This season, the Utes hope to take another step forward. Four of their top five scorers return, led by 6-foot-6 sophomore forward Emily Potter, 6-foot-1 senior guard Paige Crozon and junior wings Malia Nawahine and Tanaeya Boclair.

Potter, who is from Winnipeg, averaged 15.1 points and 10.2 rebounds. She also set a single-season school record with 83 blocked shots.

Crozon, who is from Humboldt, Saskatchewan, averaged 13.1 points and 8.2 rebounds in a team-high 34.3 minutes. She shot 36.6 percent from the 3-point line.

"We're deeper than we were last year, too," Roberts said.

Utah opens its season with an exhibition game against South Dakota School of Mines on Nov. 3. The regular season begins Nov. 12 against Montana State.

The Utes play seven of their 11 non-conference games at the Huntsman Center, including in-state games against Southern Utah, Utah State, BYU and Weber State during an 18-day stretch before Christmas.

"We have a good schedule," Roberts said. "We've got some games that will test us, which is good. But I think we've got an opportunity to be competitive in every game."

Potter and Crozon agree, apparently.

Regarding Utah's goals for the coming season, Potter smiled and said, "I don't know if I should give away any team secrets."

But Crozon said, "Emily and I, we have never been to the [NCAA] tournament so …"

Roberts isn't as specific.

"I'm really not an outcome-driven coach," she said. "If we won 18 games last year, I'm not going to say, 'O.K., we're going to win 22 this year.' I don't do that because I learned the hard way it doesn't work. ...

"Our goals, as a group, will never be end-of-season. Let's just get better every week and be the toughest team in the conference. That's my goal. If you focus on process-type goals, I think, the outcome will take care of itself and expectations are met."

Twitter: @sluhm —

Utah women's basketball update

• Lynne Roberts starts her second season as the University of Utah women's basketball coach.

• Last season, the Utes finished with a record of 18-15 and won two games in the Women's NIT.

• Utah returns four starters, led by sophomore forward Emily Potter and senior guard Paige Crozon.