A big defensive game for Utah Valley wasn’t enough for the lady Wolverines to extend their winning streak as a bigger offensive game by South Dakota was enough for them to take the 53-42 win.
“I felt like we had a lot of momentum on the defensive end and I was really pleased,” said Coach Cathy Nixon. “I felt like we had them on balance on the defensive end. We held them to 53 points and that was with them shooting 14 free throws.”
When the lady Wolverines met the Coyotes earlier this year, Utah Valley lost in a 44-72 blowout and the Coyotes came looking for the same result, but the lady Wolverines put up a fight defensively, giving them a close chance at a win.
Utah Valley took a lead early on in the first half and took that lead to as much as 11 before going in to the locker room at the half with a one-point lead, 25-24.
The second half saw a somewhat different result by Utah Valley as they went scoreless for just over the first four minutes of play until junior Abbie Beutler put up a jumper with 15:49 left in the game.
Just over 10 minutes into the game, Utah Valley had only added four points to their half time score while South Dakota had taken a lead of eight points and took that lead to as much as 11.
After remaining scoreless for just under seven minutes, UVU’s Kim Bell hit a jumper putting their gap to nine.
The lady Wolverines brought their gap within seven, but the Coyotes took their lead to 15 over the final four minutes.
“I felt like the difference in the game was that we didn’t hit shots,” said Nixon. “I felt like our kids came out, played hard and honestly executed our game plan about perfectly. This is a good offensive team. South Dakota has a lot of fire power on the offensive end and I think our kids defended great.”
Utah Valley was led offensively by junior Jenna Johnson, finishing with 13 points. Johnson was followed by sophomore Sammie Jensen as she finished with a double-double, putting up 11 points and bringing down 15 rebounds.
“It’s disappointing to not win this game because I felt like we had every opportunity to win it and games like that we’ve got to step up and make it happen,” said Nixon. It’s been good for us to get some wins and I think it’s built some confidence in the girls and I don’t want this game to set us back in our confidence because I think we did the things we needed to do other than hitting shots.”
The lady Wolverines will play their final regular season home game this Saturday in the UCCU Center at 4:30 p.m. as they host Houston Baptist.