Dec. 19, 2011
OREM, Utah - Utah Valley shot just 5-of-34 from the field in the first half against South Dakota and ended up falling 63-54 Monday afternoon at the UCCU Center. The Wolverines (5-5) staged a late comeback and pulled within six in the final moments but the slow start was too much to overcome as they came up short.
"We didn't capitalize offensively," UVU head coach Cathy Nixon said. "We had good looks at the basket and had the opportunities to score but we just couldn't."
Utah Valley started the game shooting the ball very sluggish from the field as they scored just two points in the first six minutes of the contest and fell behind 13-2. South Dakota (7-2) later extended its lead up to 17 in the half, at 27-10, but Sammie Jensen's seven points and six boards in the opening period helped the Wolverines stay in the game and trail by just 13 points at intermission.
Despite shooting just 5-for-34 from the field in the opening half, the Coyotes couldn't put the game away as they went cold and didn't score for the final five minutes of the first period.
In the second half USD -- a former Great West Conference foe of UVU and now a Summit League member -- stretched its lead to 20 points with 12:35 to play. From there the Wolverines pecked away at the large deficit and pulled within 11 after two back-to-back three-pointers from Taylor Huber and a Jensen layup made it 53-42 with 4:23 to play.
With 1:06 to go, UVU made it a 10-point game and after a USD missed shot and a Wolverine steal, UVU got all the way within six, at 58-52, after four made free-throws -- two from Huber and two from Cydne Mason -- with 31-seconds to play. The Wolverines tried to cut into the deficit even more but the Coyotes lead proved too large to overcome as UVU dropped the game by nine points.
Jensen led UVU in the contest with game-high totals of 21 points and 14 rebounds. The double-double marked her sixth of the young season. Huber also had a nice game off the bench for the Wolverines, as she added 12 points in the second half. Mason too finished with a solid stat line for UVU, with eight points, five boards and four assists.
Amber Hegge led the Coyotes in the game with a near triple-double of 19 points, 11 boards, seven assists, four blocks and four steals. USD's Jodie Boss also tied a Coyote school record with seven blocks in the contest.
The game marked a conclusion to UVU's five-game homestand. During the home stretch the Wolverines went 3-2, with wins over Tulsa, Weber State and Northern Arizona.
"We've had the blessing of being able to play a stretch of home games here but I told the kids, now we have to hit the road." Nixon added. "It will be more of a test for us in terms of preparation and our mental toughness. Hopefully this is a team that can respond to the challenge and be ready to go on Wednesday."
The Wolverines will now hit the road for the first time in nearly a month and head to Ogden, Utah, to face Weber State for their final game before Christmas Wednesday night at 7 p.m. The game will be the second meeting of the season between UVU and WSU. The Wolverines will look for the season sweep as they came away with a 63-59 win over the Wildcats in Orem a couple of weeks ago.