Dec. 28, 2011
SALT LAKE CITY -- A quick start and a hot shooting touch propelled Utah to victory over Utah Valley Wednesday night, 82-51, in the Jon M. Huntsman Center. Sammie Jensen led the Wolverines with 12 points and Cydne Mason added 11.
"Every game is a learning opportunity for us," said UVU head women's basketball coach Cathy Nixon. "Hopefully in this game we learned that there's no room for us to come out and fail to compete from the beginning. We got down, they made shots, and we got a little shell shocked. We competed better in the second half, but Utah is a good team and tonight we saw we still have a ways to go."
Utah (7-4) sprang from the gates with a 16-3 run to open the game, converting six of their first seven field goal attempts, including three treys. Abbie Beutler responded with a three of her own to make the deficit ten, at 16-6, with 14:34 remaining in the frame, but the Wolverines (6-6) would come no closer.
Behind a sizzling 63-percent shooting for the half, Utah led by as many as 25 in the first twenty minutes. Kyra Prause and Mason drilled back-to-back three pointers to cap a brief offensive flurry for the Wolverines late in the half, but Utah maintained a 48-25 lead heading into the locker room.
In the second half, UVU ratcheted up the defense, limiting Utah to just 39-percent shooting, but could never find the offensive flow. The Wolverines cut the deficit to 21 a couple of times in the half, once at 15:11 and again at 9:50, but could never break that deficit. UVU turned the ball over only four times in the second period, compared to 11 in the first, and finished the game with 11 different players in the scoring column.
"Anytime we can get a contribution from the kids off the bench and can be a little more well-rounded, that's good for us," said Nixon of the balanced scoring.
Besides the contributions from Jensen and Mason, UVU got six points from Beutler and five from Prause. Four players finished with three points and two more dropped in two.
In the contest the Utes, who improved to 6-0 at the Huntsman Center with the win, were led by Iwalani Rodrigues' 26 points.
UVU remains on the road to close out the 2011 portion of its schedule when it travels to Boise, Idaho, to face the Broncos of Boise State in a New Year's Eve matchup. The game tips off Saturday at 2:30 p.m. The Wolverines will then usher in the New Year when they play host to San Jose State the following Thursday in the UCCU Center.