After a season-opener upset Saturday against Boise State with an 80-63 deficit, the Wolverines came back to defeat Utah State last Monday 78-62 at the UCCU center.
“I’m just really proud of the kids,” said head coach Cathy Nixon. “Utah State’s a very good team and I felt we came together defensively and gave ourselves a chance to take care of it on the offensive end by playing good defenese when the other team has a lot of scoring power.”
Utah Valley dominated the court at the end of the night, but a notable mention was senior forward Sammie Jensen. Jensen reached her career-high with 31-points and 14 rebounds. Her double-double left the Aggies with no chance to lead the game.
“Every double-double is pretty hard to get and it seems new every time I get one and I’m so happy when I do get one,” Jensen said. “Tonight was different. We knew Utah State was a big rival for us and we had some pretty hard feelings coming in from last year and we wanted to put it to them and try and get a win.”
In route to her career-high earnings, Jensen shot 12-for-16, which led to the teams overall shot of 29-for-57.
“Sammie just did awesome,” Nixon said. “She did really well tonight and I combine that with some other kids that made a good contribution. It’s just great to have a kid like her on the team. She goes about her business every day and somebody we have been able to depend on.”
Utah Valley lost to Utah State last season with a score of 43-61 but took the loss as motivation to push harder which resulted in an exciting win. Redeeming themselves proved that the Wolverines have a chance to take it all and continue the season with more confidence and determination.
“Hopefully this preseason will get us prepared for the Great West Conference season and put ourselves in a position where we can win a championship there,” Nixon said. “I think we are developing a nucleus of kids. I think they’re playing really well with each other. I don’t want to make too much of this win early on but I do believe it’s definitely something we can hold on to and hopefully move on and we need to be good in the next couple of weeks.”
The Wolverines set off to Northern California over the weekend for their first road stretch of the season. They took on San Jose State Thursday and Santa Clara on Saturday. Sacramento State will be their last stop on the road before they head back to Happy Valley and take on Long Beach State.
“It gives us a lot of confidence for the road because we all know what we do every day in practice, we just got to put it in the game,” Jensen said. “We’ll continue to work hard and play well together and whoever’s open, give them the ball, especially on defensive. Big stops lead to big offensive plays.”
Rachel Anderson, assistant sports editor