Dec. 17, 2011
OREM, Utah --Five Wolverines scored in double figures as Utah Valley shot their way to a 73-56 victory over Northern Arizona Saturday night in the UCCU Center. UVU shot 57% in the first half and finished the game at 49%, including 67% from beyond the arc, in the win.
"We capitalized on our opportunities tonight and got some good open shots," said UVU head women's basketball coach Cathy Nixon. "We got some good looks in transition because of our defensive efforts and we executed our plays well. If we can move the ball to get open looks, we have the kids who can knock down shots."
With a slim 22-20 lead midway through the first half, UVU (5-4) got a critical 14-4 run highlighted by a series of big plays. Sammie Jensen ignited the run when she buried an 18-footer. That bucket was immediately followed by a layup from Jenna Johnson off a lengthy bounce pass from Cydne Mason, then a trey from Alle Finch. Another Johnson jumper in transition followed by a tough three-point play from Erika Newbold put the Wolverines in control at 36-24 with 5:22 remaining.
A 12-6 run closed the half as UVU took a solid 48-32 lead into the locker room. Johnson was instrumental in the first half swing, scoring 16 points in the opening 20 minutes. Finch and Abbie Beutler each added nine points apiece in the half and combined for three 3-pointers.
A quick, 10-0 burst from NAU (5-6) out of the locker room put UVU on its heels, as the Lumberjacks whittled the deficit to just 48-42 with 17:13 to play. But the Wolverines would slowly pull away as they worked the lead back to double digits after a Kim Bell jumper, and eventually stormed ahead by as many as 18 after a free throw from Newbold.
For the game, UVU had five players finish in double figures. Despite not scoring in the second half, Johnson's 16 were enough to lead the Wolverines while Finch and Beutler each added 12 and Newbold scored 10. Jensen registered her fifth double-double of the year by finishing with 14 points and 11 rebounds. Newbold also had a game-high three blocks.
"We did some really good things on both ends of the floor," said Nixon. "With five players in double figures, that shows we can be pretty tough to defend. It was a good team effort for us."
UVU was able to hold NAU's leading scorers, Amy Patton and Amanda Frost, who combine for nearly 23 points per contest, to a combined eight points.
The Wolverines have a quick turnaround when they return to action Monday afternoon for the final game of their five-game homestand. UVU will face former Great West Conference rival South Dakota at 3 p.m. in the UCCU Center.