Jan. 28, 2012
NEWARK, N.J. -- Utah Valley trailed by 10 with 15:16 to play, but answered with a huge 25-4 run over the next 13 minutes to defeat NJIT, 61-54, at the Fleisher Athletic Center Saturday afternoon. Sammie Jensen led the Wolverines with another double-double, this time finishing with a game-high 21 points and 12 rebounds.
"This is a very satisfying win for us," said UVU women's head basketball coach Cathy Nixon. "The end of the first half had the same pattern as when we fell behind at Chicago State [Thursday night], and I was concerned at the start of the second half. But I was very pleased with the way the girls responded and for us to close out this difficult road trip with a win is big for us."
UVU's second half run came on the heels of an equally impressive run from NJIT, as the homestanding Highlanders responded to an eight point first half deficit with a 19-3 rally, capped by back-to-back-to-back treys, to take a 29-21 lead at the break. NJIT then ripped off seven consecutive points early in the second period to build a 10 point cushion, its largest lead of the game, with 15:16 remaining.
At that point, the Wolverines came alive as Erika Newbold drilled an 18-footer then converted a layup inside to ignite UVU's rally. The run, powered by a stalwart defensive effort and solid post play from Newbold and Jensen, saw the Wolverines limit NJIT to just two field goals and force seven turnovers over a thirteen minute span. Newbold scored eight of her 13 points during the pivotal stretch, while Jensen added four. UVU also got six points apiece from Cydne Mason and Whitney Jenkins, whose right-handed runner in transition culminated the series and gave UVU a 51-40 advantage.
NJIT kept things interesting, getting jumpers from Sarah Olson and Melanie Griffin in the closing moments, but the Wolverines put the game away at the foul line on their way to shooting 26-for-35 for the game at the charity stripe, compared to only four total free throw attempts for NJIT.
Three Wolverines finished in double figures, led by Jensen's 21 and followed by Newbold's 13 and Jenkins' 11. Cydne Mason also added eight points and Abbie Beutler scored five. Jensen also grabbed 12 rebounds in the contest, while Jenkins finished with six.
NJIT was led by Rayven Johnson's double-double performance--18 points and a game-high 13 rebounds.
UVU now returns to Orem for a four game homestand beginning Thursday when Texas-Pan American visits the UCCU Center. That game is slated for a 7 p.m. tip-off. The Wolverines will then host Houston Baptist the following Saturday afternoon in the Activity Center.