Jan. 5, 2012
OREM, Utah - Utah Valley's second half comeback attempt came up short Thursday afternoon as San Jose State held on to defeat the Wolverines 57-45 at the UCCU Center in Orem.
UVU (6-8) trailed by as many as 23 points early in the second half but fought back and pulled within nine twice late in the game but couldn't get any closer as the Spartans (5-10) picked up the victory.
"We're pretty good at playing from behind and fighting back," said UVU head coach Cathy Nixon. "We need to find a way to get off to better starts however. We truly gave ourselves a chance to win this game but there isn't much room for error when you have to come back from a deficit that large."
UVU struggled early in the game and didn't get on the scoreboard until nearly five minutes into the contest when Erika Newbold hit a free throw to cut the deficit to 9-1. The Wolverines then scored six more unanswered points to pull within two, at 9-7. Jenna Johnson sparked the rally as she scored the other six points during the stretch.
The game then stayed close until the last couple minutes of the first half when the Spartans got hot. With SJSU on top by just six at 21-15 with 5:02 to go, the Spartans closed out the half on an 8-1 run to take a 29-16 lead at intermission.
San Jose State then continued right where they left off in the second half by quickly turning the 13-point advantage into a 23-point lead, at 41-18 with 14:34 to play.
The Wolverines then countered by putting in their defensive lineup, which was led by Alle Finch and Ashley Klemz. The duo along with a couple of other UVU players helped cause 18-second half SJSU turnovers and 11 steals that aided the Wolverine comeback. The deficit was just too much for Utah Valley to overcome however, as in the end the Spartans survived with the win.
Johnson led the Wolverines in the contest with a season-high 21 points while Finch and Klemz each finished with three steals apiece. Finch also added six points, three rebounds, two blocks and an assist, while Klemz also had three points and a team-high five assists. Despite just five points from Sammie Jensen, the UVU junior added a game-high 18 rebounds.
Sara Plavljanin's led San Jose State with a near triple-double, as she recorded 15 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists. Myesha Broaden also added a double-double for SJSU with 14 points and 10 boards.
"If you fight and compete on the defensive end you can be in any game," Nixon added. "When we started to fuel our intensity on the defensive end, things started to come together on offense for us."
The Wolverines will return to the court Saturday when they head to Logan for their final in-state contest of the season. UVU and Utah State will tip-off Saturday at 2 p.m. at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum.