Dec. 5, 2013
BOISE, Idaho -- Katie Kuklok's last-ditch three at the buzzer went begging as Utah Valley University dropped a barnburner, 63-60, to Boise State Thursday night. Kuklok finished the game with 29 points, but it wasn't enough to keep the Wolverines from falling for the sixth straight game.
"I thought we did a lot of things really well tonight and controlled the game most of the way," said UVU head coach Cathy Nixon. "We did a great job on the glass and shot the ball well enough to win. We maybe had a few too many turnovers and maybe needed one or two more players to hit shots when they had good looks. But overall I thought we played a great game and it's disappointing to not be able to reward this team with a win."
Trailing by three with only eight seconds to play, UVU (1-7) was granted one last chance when Tonishia Childress of Boise State (4-3) missed two consecutive free throws. After hurrying the ball into the forecourt, Utah Valley drew up one final play after a timeout from Nixon. Kuklok, who converted all four made 3-pointers for the Wolverines on the evening, inbounded the ball to Rebecca MaWhinney beyond the right wing. MaWhinney came down with the pass and immediately passed back to Kuklok who had cut back into play. With the game clock expiring, the sophomore's 30-foot attempt was on line but too long as it skidded off the back iron.
That last play capped a final 10 minutes of action that saw four ties and four lead changes as the two teams battled for late game momentum. After leading by as many as 11 in the first half, Utah Valley surrendered the lead for the first time since early in the game at the 10:06 mark when Childress put in a layup. But Tina Doughty, who scored 14 points for the game, answered with back-to-back midrange jumpers to restore the lead to Utah Valley at 54-52.
Back came the Broncos, though, as a 6-0 spurt gave the home team a 58-54 with just under five minutes to play. A Doughty layup and a tough finish inside from Whitney Jenkins
promptly tied things for the Wolverines, but after a three-point play from Boise State's Miquelle Askew, UVU would get no closer than a triple.
Askew, who entered the game as the Broncos' leading scorer at 14.2 ppg scored 12 points -- eight of which came in the second half. Meanwhile, it was Yaiza Rodriguez that stole the show for Boise State, scoring a season-best 21 points on 9-of-15 shooting. The freshman from Spain also hit a trio of 3-pointers to help power the Broncos to their fourth home win.
In a bit of a homecoming trip, UVU's Sam Loggins was a bucket and a rebound shy of a double-double. The Boise, Idaho, native scored nine points and hauled in nine rebounds on Thursday night.
Only three other Wolverines got into the scoring column in the game as Jenkins tallied four points while Kyra Prause and Rhaiah-Spooner Knight each added two. In all, the UVU bench was outscored 12-2 by its Boise State counterpart.
Utah Valley looked to have the game under control in the first half as it answered an early deficit with one of its most efficient stretches of basketball this season. Trailing 13-6 to begin the game, the Wolverines rattled off 20 of the game's next 22 points as it grabbed a 26-15 lead. Included in that rally was an extended, 16-0 run ignited by Kuklok's first trey of the evening.
Kuklok would go on to score 11 points during the spurt, hitting two more threes as well as a pair of free throws. Mixed in was a jumper from Loggins and a driving layup from Doughty as the Wolverines enjoyed their largest advantage of the game midway through the first half.
Thursday marked the second time this season that UVU was defeated despite winning the rebounding margin. The Wolverines outrebounded the Broncos -- a feat that has eluded Utah Valley over its last few outings -- 45-31, including 15 offensive boards. The last time UVU lost despite a rebounding advantage was Nov. 16 at Longwood when it secured a 45-26 margin but lost 59-57.
Utah Valley won't have to wait long for a chance to snap its losing streak as the Wolverines will be in action Saturday at Weber State. That game tips off at 2 p.m. at the Dee Events Center in Ogden. UVU is 5-3 all-time against the Wildcats.