Wolverines home for Thanksgiving, host two this week

WOLVERINEGREENDOTCOM Junior guard Tina Doughty
Junior guard Tina Doughty

Nov. 26, 2013

SAC STATE: Live Video | Live Audio | Live Stats

NAU: Live Video | Live Audio | Live Stats

OREM, Utah -- Utah Valley University will look to snap its three-game skid when it returns home for a pair of contests that wrap around either side of the Thanksgiving holiday. The Wolverines will host Sacramento State on Wednesday at 1 p.m. MT, then return to action on Saturday at 3 p.m. when Northern Arizona comes to town. All of this week's action will take place in the UCCU Center.

Live video of both games can be accessed through UVU TV and live stats are available through StatBroadcast. Both services will be provided free of charge.

The Last Meeting
Utah Valley62
Sacramento State74
November 20, 2012
Sacramento, California
UVU Women Close Trip with Loss at Sac State
Utah Valley University senior Sammie Jensen had 18 points and 18 rebounds but it wasn't enough as the Wolverines concluded their three-game Northern California road trip with a 74-62 loss at Sacramento State Tuesday night.

The Last Meeting
Utah Valley62
Northern Arizona44
December 15, 2012
Flagstaff, Arizona
Nixon Notches Number 300, UVU Runs Past NAU
Utah Valley University women's basketball coach Cathy Nixon picked up her 300th-career victory Saturday afternoon as her Wolverines (3-9) ran past Northern Arizona 62-44 in Flagstaff.

In its lone game last week, UVU (1-4) concluded a three-game road trip with a 74-63 loss at Southern Utah. Trailing 21-20 with just under seven minutes to play in the first half, the Wolverines went without a point for the next six minutes of play as SUU reeled off 16 straight. The huge run sent UVU to the locker room trailing by 13 and the visitors would get no closer than 11 in the second half on their way to a third straight defeat.

Sophomore guard Katie Kuklok maintained her early season scoring barrage in Cedar City, pouring in 24 points on 8-of-14 shooting to go along with four made three pointers. That performance pushed her season scoring average to 22.0 ppg -- a figure that stands alone atop the WAC scoring list.

On a national scale, the Poway, Calif., native is tied for 31st in the country in points per game and is second in made 3-pointers per game (4.60). Her 3-point field goal percentage of 53.5 (23-of-43) is good for 21st in the nation while she currently sits tied for first in the NCAA in free throw percentage at a perfect 100 percent (17-for-17). Kuklok has led the Wolverines in scoring in four of their five games this season, eclipsing the 20-point mark each time. Her season-low of 11 points came in UVU's 82-64 loss at George Mason on Nov. 14.

Behind Kuklok comes junior guard Tina Doughty, who is averaging 12.0 ppg, and redshirt freshman forward Karlee Kartchner with 9.6 points per outing. Kartchner also paces the squad in rebounding at a clip of 7.8 a game. Guard Georgia Agnew, another redshirt freshman, entered the week ranked second in the WAC at 4.8 assists per game.

Utah Valley will be playing its second and third consecutive game against opponents from the Big Sky Conference this week as both Sacramento State and Northern Arizona, like SUU, are members of the BSC. Overall, the Wolverines face five Big Sky foes this season as games at Weber State and at home against Idaho State linger on the horizon. UVU is 19-24 all-time against the Big Sky.

After a 19-12 season in 2012-13, Sacramento State (3-1) saw fourth-year head coach Jamie Craighead leave for the same position San Jose State. That departure opened the door for first-year head coach Bunky Harkleroad and his wide-open, run-and-gun system.

Through four games this season, the Hornets rank eighth in the NCAA in scoring offense at 90.5 points per game -- over 18 points per game better than their output last season. A big reason for that scoring increase comes in Sacramento State's nation-leading 14.5 made 3-pointers per game. The Hornets are attempting almost 45 treys per contest and are connecting at a rate of 32.4 percent.

Defensively, Sacramento State employs a high-pressure system to match its up-tempo offensive set. The Hornets are second in the country at 16.0 steals per game and are ninth in turnover margin at 9.75.

The frenetic pace on both ends of the court has led to wins over San Diego State and Oregon this season for a Sacramento State team picked to finish ninth in the Big Sky preseason coaches' poll.

Three Hornets currently average double figures, led by senior guard Alle Moreno's 15.5 ppg. Junior Andrea Chenier is next at 12.8 ppg while junior Shanti Smith sits at 10.8 ppg.

The Wolverines will be looking exact a measure of revenge Wednesday against Sacramento State as they fell to the Hornets 74-62 last season in the first ever meeting between the two programs.

"They are a team that really tries to control the tempo of the game on both ends of the floor," said UVU head coach Cathy Nixon of Wednesday's opponent. "We're going have to be very disciplined on offense to take care of the basketball and not get too sped up. And defensively, we'll have to limit their open looks on the perimeter. Their style of play will challenge us in a lot of ways, but we just have to keep our composure and stick to the game plan."

Meanwhile, Northern Arizona enters the week at 0-2 off losses at home against Hawai'i and at UTEP. The Lumberjacks return just one starter from last season's 8-21 squad that finished eighth in the Big Sky in senior guard Amanda Frost. Through two games, Frost is averaging 17.5 ppg.

Behind Frost comes Raven Anderson's 9.0 ppg while Erikka Banks is grabbing 10.5 rebounds per game to go along with 6.0 points per contest.

This is the third consecutive season that UVU and NAU have met on the basketball floor, with the Wolverines holding a slight 2-1 edge overall. Utah Valley prevailed last season in Flagstaff, 62-44, to give Nixon her 300th career victory.

"I expect NAU to be similar how they've been in the past which is a good, solid team with talented personnel," said Nixon. "We'll need to be tight on the defensive end and better on the boards to keep up with both of the teams we face this week. And if we can do that, I expect us to be right in it."

Up next, UVU embarks on another three-game road trip when it travels to Boise State, Weber State, and Utah over the next two weeks. The Wolverines faced both BSU and WSU last season and will be meeting Utah for the first time since the 2011-12 season.