Denver University simply could not survive.
Especially when the Wolverines shot 56.4 percent from the field, a season-high 26 assists and 31 made field goals to give UVU two straight wins for the first time this season.
Denver came out early with the hot hand, but the Wolverines played tight defense. Utah Valley withheld Denver to zero fast break opportunities and came up with 12 fast-break points in the process.
“I was most satisfied with our process defensively. I thought we were excellent,” said coach Cathy Nixon. “They were a very good shooting team. I felt like we needed to be strong defensively. I thought our girls did very well answering and setting the tone early.”
An added boost for the Wolverines was the all-around offense and defense of Sandy Wall. Coach Nixon said Wall is an emotional leader for the team. She plays relentless all the time. She is intense everyday at practice and her game shows it.
For the second straight game, Sandy Wall matched a school record with five three-pointers. She finished with a season-high 23 points on 8-for-14 shooting and has hit 10 of her last 12 three-point attempts.
Robyn Fairbanks finished with 30 points and nine rebounds. The reigning Great West Conference Player of the Week, Fairbanks upped her nation-leading scoring average to 25.3 per game.
Julie McMurray added 13 points and Erika Newbold had career highs of seven points and six rebounds while Asumi Nakayama dished out nine assists and Hollie Beaman added six.
“I sometimes don’t like to admit it to the team but when we’re clicking offensively we are a better team,” Nixon said. “The thing is we had Julie and Robin on the bench in the first quarter and we still had an edge.”
“There is definitely a different feel out there and competing and just wanting to win rather than doing it individually,” Wall said. “As a team this is by far the best that we have played together.”
The final score 87-72 brings the Wolverines record to 8-8. UVU will play Weber Sate Jan. 27, a team that recently beat University of Utah. The first 500 fans in attendance will receive a free pink Utah Valley Basketball t-shirt. Portions of the ticket sales and fans donations will go to help Orem resident Joyce Wheeler, who is currently fighting breast cancer.