Unlike the Chicago State contest, turnovers didn’t define the game against the Highlanders. The lady Wolverines kept their turnovers to 11 and only allowed NJIT to translate them into six points, but the Highlanders ultimately took the game from Utah Valley 55-52.
“We did a lot better job taking care of the basketball and really gave ourselves a chance to win,” said Coach Cathy Nixon. “Looking at the statistics, they are almost identical. I feel like our game plan worked well, and the kids worked their butts off. I’m heart broken for them that it didn’t translate to a win, because they are fighting.”
Sophomore Kaycee Mansfield got the lady Wolverines on the scoreboard first with a layup only seconds into the game.
The first half saw Utah Valley stay within safe distance of NJIT, as the Highlanders led most of the first half but by no more than eight points. Going into the half, the Highlanders only led the Wolverines by three, with the score at 30-27.
The second half saw much of the same thing, with the lead toggling back and forth between teams by only a few points. With just under two minutes left in the game, Highlander Jessica Gerald hit a jumper from behind the arc, giving them a three-point lead.
The Highlanders took their lead to as much as five in the next minute and a half, not allowing Utah Valley to pull ahead.
Junior All-Star Jenna Johnson led the lady Wolverines offensively with 15 points. Following Johnson was Abbie Beutler with 13 points and eight rebounds, and Kali Roche with 10 points and leading defensively with 10 rebounds.
Despite the loss, Nixon had nothing but positive words about her roster.
“I’m really proud of the way they competed, and it’s not easy to be disappointed game after game, but these guys are working hard and it’s going to happen for us,” said Nixon.
After returning from a road trip this last weekend, the lady Wolverines will be back in home court action on Saturday as they host the University of Texas-Pan American in the Activity Center at 4:30 p.m. for Throwback 80’s night.