Feb. 28, 2012
OREM, Utah - The Utah Valley University women's basketball team clinched second place in the Great West Conference and a first round bye in next week's GWC Tournament with a 71-36 win over Houston Baptist Tuesday afternoon in Orem.
"I thought the kids came out with great resolve defensively and this time of year we just want to be getting better regardless of who we play," said UVU head coach Cathy Nixon. "Our first five got us off to a great start and every kid coming off the bench did their job."
All 14 players scored for the Wolverines in the 35-point win and UVU improved to 14-13 overall and 6-3 in conference play. Freshman Taylor Huber led the way with 16 points, which included 4-of-6 shooting behind the arc while junior Sammie Jensen penciled in her 15th double-double of the year with 10 points and 12 rebounds in just 20 minutes of action.
"It's great to see everyone get in there and to reward some of the kids who don't get as many minutes," added Nixon. "This team works so hard every day in practice and it's icing on the cake to see them be able to prove that in game situations."
With just six players in uniform for HBU (1-25, 0-9 GWC), the Huskies kept the score close the first 11 minutes of the first half as they made 4-of-7 treys during the stretch.
With UVU up by just two with nine minutes to go in the opening period, the Wolverines went on 12-3 run over the next five minutes to pull ahead at 30-19. Utah Valley stayed hot the rest of the half as it took a 38-21 lead into the break as they held the Huskies scoreless for the final 4:39 of the first frame.
Huber led the Wolverines in the first half by scoring eight points off the bench, while senior Jenna Johnson and Jensen each finished with six points apiece. Jensen also recorded seven first half boards.
In the opening period the Wolverines committed just one turnover in the while the Huskies had 12.
In the second half UVU continued to control the contest as HBU did not score it first point until Joselyn Pugh netted a free throw with 13:38 to go in the game. The point from Pugh stopped 20-0 run for UVU as well as put an end to an 11-minute scoreless streak for HBU.
UVU outscored Houston Baptist 33-15 in the second half and outrebounded the Huskies 27-9. For the game the Wolverines held a 46-24 advantage on the glass, which included a lopsided 21-4 tally on the offensive end.
Behind Huber and Jensen, junior Kyra Prause recorded a season-high eight points and added five boards, a steal and an assist. Devyn Weymouth led HBU with 10 points.
The Wolverines will conclude their 2011-12 regular season at home in the UCCU Center Saturday at 3 p.m. versus North Dakota. The Fighting Sioux recently clinched the regular season conference title so the contest will feature the first and second place teams. Saturday will also be Senior Day for the Wolverines; Abbie Beutler, Johnson and Tasha Sanborn will all be honored before the game.
The Great West Conference Tournament will then be held March 8-10 in Chicago, Ill. With a first-round bye, UVU will not play until the semis on March 9.
"We didn't come into this to get second place, but we'll take it especially with the chance to get that first round bye," added Nixon. "I feel like we're a program that has peaked at the end of the year and hopefully we'll be able to do some good things at the tournament."