After missing a shot to lose to Cal State Bakersfield, the Wolverines found themselves in a similar situation against New Jersey Institute of Technology. UVU trailed by three with 22 seconds left, but Taylor Huber and Cydne Gray were unable to make shots that could have sent the game to overtime.
“Things won’t always go your way,” said Head Coach Cathy Nixon. “We didn’t play particularly bad, we just missed some shots that we normally make and they made some shots they (NJIT) normally miss.”
The Wolverines have an road record this season of 1-10, with their lone win at Air Force. Normally, the Wolverines would fall behind early and then fight their way back in the second half. Against NJIT, it was a different story. They took an early 11-0 lead, letting NJIT get within two at the break.
“We haven’t had a lot of games where we got up early,” Nixon said. “We’re more accustomed, unfortunately, to fighting from behind, and the result was we definitely got less aggressive.”
Kaycee Mansfield led the Wolverines with 18 points and 11 rebounds, her fifth double-double of the season. Sammie Jensen finished with a game-high 14 rebounds and ranks in the NCAA top ten in rebounds per game.
Even though the Wolverines suffered their first conference loss of the season, they are still in the driver’s seat to win the regular season conference championship as well as capturing the number-one seed in the conference tournament at season’s end in Chicago. If they win both the regular season championship and conference tournament championship, then playing in a post-season tournament is likely.
“All of our goals are still out in front of us,” Nixon said. “We can still do exactly what we set out to do. We just need to continue to get better, and we need to win on the road to accomplish our goals, ultimately.”
If the Wolverines want to accomplish their goals, they must win their remaining three road games. New Orleans and Chicago State should be wins, but the matchup against Texas Pan-American will be difficult. The first game between those two teams was an overtime thriller that UVU won at home. A regular season title would be unlikely without a road win against the Broncs.
“We absolutely, from the beginning, have had the goal of winning a Great West Championship,” Nixon said. “That’s important to us. Why play if that’s not your goal?”
February is the month of love, hopefully that will wash away the heartbreak and bring the Wolverines late-game luck that will help them accomplish their goals.