Nov. 23, 2011
FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. - Utah Valley trailed Northern Arizona by just one point with 16 minutes to play in the opening contest of NAU's Hilton Garden Inn Thanksgiving Classic but turnovers and a late 11-0 run by NAU (3-3) helped propel the Lumberjacks to a 73-59 win over the Wolverines (1-2) in Flagstaff, Ariz., Wednesday night.
"This is a team that needs to learn to compete and overcome the odds on the road," UVU head coach Cathy Nixon said. "I feel like we are on track to be a good basketball team and tonight we were right there (with NAU). We can take away a number of things that we did well and a few that we can do better at, and learn from them for Friday's game."
Trailing by just three at the half, 36-33, UVU came out and looked strong in the early stages of the second period. A Jenna Johnson jumper pulled the Wolverines within one at 41-40 with 16:43 to play but UVU then struggled and NAU capitalized by going on an 11-0 run to take a 52-40 advantage with 11:30 minutes left.
Utah Valley later cut the deficit to single digits, at 56-45, after a Kim Bell free-throw but the Lumberjacks were too much down the stretch as they pulled ahead by as many as 18 points and won the game by 14.
Off the bench Bell paced the Wolverines with 14 points and seven rebounds. Johnson too toped double digits with 12 points and a team-high five assists. Abbie Beutler also chipped in nine points while Sammie Jensen added eight. NAU was led by Amy Patton and her double-double of 17 points and 12 boards.
The first half was tightly contested and saw no lead greater than eight points. UVU took its first lead at 9-8 after a made Kyra Prause jump shot. Bell then scored a layup to extend the Wolverines advantaged to 11-8, which capped off a 7-0 spurt for the Wolverines. Northern Arizona later pulled ahead by six points, at 19-13, but UVU quickly answered with a Beutler three-ball and a Kaycee Mansfield steal and fastbreak layup to trail by just one at 19-18 with 10 minutes left in the first half.
NAU then pulled ahead by eight points, at 31-23, with four minutes to go until the break but UVU answered and closed out the half on a 10-5 to trail by just three at intermission.
The game was the first all-time meeting between the Wolverines and Lumberjacks, but the two teams will meet up again later this season when NAU travels to Orem on Dec. 17.
The Wolverines will stay in Flagstaff over Thanksgiving and will conclude play at NAU's Hilton Garden Inn Thanksgiving Classic on Friday when they play Kent State at 2:30 p.m. in the Rolle Activity Center.