The women’s basketball team fell to Chicago State University 42-69 on Thursday, their second conference game of the season. CSU held Utah Valley to a 29.1 percent from the field as forward Sammie Jensen was the only player to reach double digits at 16 points.
“Each game is a puzzle to be solved,” head coach Cathy Nixon said Friday morning. “Last night we didn’t do a great job at being smart at both ends of the floor.”
Utah Valley’s competition against CSU provided a large contrast to their conference opener against North Dakota University last weekend. UVU took home a close win against UND 58-54. The Wolverines had three players reach double digit scoring and the team improved their field goal percentage to 38.8 percent.
With six more conference games on the schedule, consistency will be where Utah Valley aims their focus to continue to contend for the conference championship.
“It’s a big challenge,” Nixon said. “That’s probably the underlying challenge in each of the games we struggled in this season is lack of consistency; as a team being consistent and individually.”
According to Nixon, the Wolverines will target consistency by creating momentum on both ends of the court and capitalizing on opportunities to make buckets, a struggle in Thursday night’s game. Struggling to make those looks, UVU turned the ball over 30 times allowing Chicago State to capitalize 24 points off of the turnovers.
“When we got good stops I thought we had opportunities to get good open looks,” Nixon said. “But the kids weren’t shooting when they had those looks. Turning over the ball destroyed momentum.”
Nixon described her team as one that played hard on Thursday night but failed to play smart.
“We want to come out in the first five minutes and dictate what happens on the defensive end and be smart on the offense end,” Nixon said.
By starting the game out strong, UVU hopes to take control of the game early in the first half to regulator the pace of the game on each end of the court. Their strong efforts will continue Thursday night as the team prepares to play The University of Texas-Pan America for UVU’s first conference home game.
“We do consistently work hard,” Nixon said. “Effort has never been the question, but it’s working smart that leads to better results.”
By Kevin Olsen