Dec. 27, 2013
INFO: New Orleans at Utah Valley | Sat., Dec. 28 | 3 p.m. | UCCU Center - Orem, Utah
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OREM, Utah -- The Utah Valley University women's basketball team brings its non-conference schedule to a close when it takes to the UCCU Center to face New Orleans at 3 p.m. on Saturday. The game is part of a basketball doubleheader with the men's team that will take on Tennessee Tech at 7 p.m. later that night.
UVU (2-10) will be seeing its first action since last Friday when it snapped its nine-game losing streak with a 59-56 victory over Idaho State. The Wolverines led for the majority of the contest, but had to battle back from a deficit late in the game to seal the win. The scoreline marked the fifth occasion that a Utah Valley contest had been decided by three points or fewer and the first that resulted in a Wolverine victory.
"We feel like we have progressed as a team over the last couple months and are hoping to collectively start playing the kind of basketball we know we are capable of," said UVU head coach Cathy Nixon entering the week. "We are hoping to build on our momentum going into the New Orleans game and carry that over into the conference games next week."
True freshman Rhaiah Spooner-Knight led UVU to the win with 21 points -- 17 of which came in the first half -- and seven rebounds. Guard Katie Kuklok chipped in 13 points while Georgia Agnew scored seven and hit three crucial free throws over the final minute to help lift the Wolverines to the win.
Kuklok's 13 points were enough to keep her atop the WAC leaderboard in scoring with an average of 20.3 ppg. She also sits among the nation's leaders in three shooting categories: second in made 3-point field goals per game (3.67), seventh in free throw percentage (93.4), and 11th in 3-point percentage (50.6).
Fellow guard Tina Doughty
is second in scoring at 13.0 ppg and put up seven points against ISU after missing the previous two games with an injury. Forward Karlee Kartchner
paces the Wolverines on the glass at 7.1 rebounds per game.
Meanwhile, New Orleans comes into Saturday's contest with a record of 0-10 and will also be playing their final non-conference tilt of the season. Like Utah Valley and the WAC, UNO is set to be playing its inaugural season in the Southland Conference beginning in January.
The Privateers roll into Orem off an 83-61 defeat last Friday at the hands of Southern Mississippi. Junior forward Melissa Jensen scored a team-high 16 points against the Eagles. That loss was preceded by another setback on Dec. 16 against No. 10 North Carolina.
On the year, UNO is led offensively by Jewel Angelo, a 5-11 guard from Manvel, Texas. The true freshman is averaging 7.8 points in 23.3 minutes per contest. Not far behind is Octavia Wilson, another true freshman guard, with 7.2 ppg. Sophomore guard and Central Connecticut transfer Danielle Davis is next with 6.9 ppg and a team-leading 1.7 steals per outing.
In all, the New Orleans roster features ten newcomers, including seven true freshmen and three transfers. Forward Amber Clay and guard Samantha Clay are the only seniors on the 2013-14 roster.
The Last Meeting
February 14, 2013
New Orleans, Louisiana
Late push not enough for Wolverines in New Orleans
Despite a spirited comeback effort late in the game, the Utah Valley University women's basketball team could not overcome a poor shooting night as it fell to the University of New Orleans 55-51 Saturday night.
"We played New Orleans last year at their place and learned that we need to play well to beat them," said Nixon. "We will need to play smart defensively to contain their penetration and limit their second chances on the glass."
Utah Valley and New Orleans met last year in The Big Easy with the Privateers pulling out a 55-51 victory at Lakefront Arena. That was the first-ever meeting between the two teams.
Following Saturday's game, the Wolverines will have a week to prepare for its WAC-opener. A familiar foe will be on hand for that one when Bakersfield visits the UCCU Center on Jan. 4 at 3 p.m. Utah Valley and Bakersfield met twice a season ago and the two programs split the season series with each winning at home.