Freshman Duo Making Strides for the Utes

woops vs colorado079 Kim Brenneisen

The U women’s basketball team is in the midst of a 14-7 season and while there have been some ups and some downs, one of the bright spots seems to be Utah’s freshmen duo of Megan Jacobs and Kiana Moore. Jacobs and Moore took the floor against Colorado as starters for the first time in their young collegiate careers.

“They’re getting a lot of minutes for freshmen on a team that has some experienced returners,” said head coach Lynne Roberts of her two freshmen. “They’ve played in every game, and they’ve done a nice job.”

The duo has been playing basketball for the majority of their lives. Both players have been involved in the sport since they were five years old.

“I grew up around it — everyone in my family played,” Moore said. “My parents and brother all played, so I kind of grew up in that environment. I grew up thinking that I really wanted to play basketball in college and maybe professionally one day.”

While Moore comes from a basketball family, Jacobs said her family’s focus was football since her brothers played the game, and her dad even played it in college.

“It was my sister who kind of got me involved with basketball,” Jacobs said. “She helped me to find my niche in basketball. When I was younger, she was in high school, and whenever I got the chance I would play against her.”

Though both are in the first year of their careers at the U, they both feel at home in Utah. Mentioning how strong and close the team was, and how the coaches factored into their decisions, they knew immediately that the U was the right place for them.

“Utah was my first official visit, and I had three more visits scheduled after that,” Jacobs said. “After that [first] visit, I called each of the other coaches, and told them that I wasn’t going to be making the trip, because I was ready to play for Utah.”

While both players are still young and learning the game at the college level, no one can deny the talent and skills that both players bring to the Utes. Jacobs, at 6-foot-1-inch, can play and guard four of the five positions on the court. Roberts describes Jacobs’ versatility as a big asset to the team. Moore, on the other hand, says that her biggest strength is the intensity she brings to the game.

“I think Megan’s biggest strength is her versatility, [and] that’s huge because it provides more opportunity for [her] to play. ” Roberts said. “Kiana is an explosive athlete and probably the best athlete on our team. She has a scorer’s mentality. She played the 2-guard with Erika Bean on the floor, and I thought that was a good lineup. She’s continuing to learn the mental side of the game, and as she does she’ll become much better.”

Both Jacobs and Moore know that they’ll need to utilize all their talent with the remaining schedule. Coming into town this weekend is No. 10 Washington, followed by a tough Washington State team. The Huskies boast both the best scorer in Kelsey Plum and the best rebounder in the nation. Moore and Jacobs, however, aren’t deterred.

“I think we’ve just been getting better each game,” Moore said with a smile.

j.walch@dailyutahchronicle.com

@JaredWalch