Wolverines take the wheel

There’a a reason everyone wants to be in the driver’s seat. It’s comfortable, there’s more legroom and the person sitting in it has total control. After dispatching NJIT (New Jersey Institute of Technology) 64-47, the Wolverines are experiencing the feeling of being in total control.

NJIT came into the game with sole possession of first place in the conference after defeating the Wolverines by three in New Jersey a few weeks ago. UVU got revenge in their second meeting in Orem. This was a game the Wolverines needed to win if they wanted to achieve their goal of being conference champs, and they did just that.

“In terms of us executing our game plan, offensively and defensively, this is probably our best game,” said Head Coach Cathy Nixon. “I thought we really did defend the way we wanted to defend, we understood their personnel. Offensively, we controlled the tempo and we shared the ball. When you plan that in practice and then you go see them do it. It’s a great feeling, and that was the highlight of the game for me.”

Screen Shot 2013-02-17 at 9.22.49 AMThe Highlanders got off to quick 6-0 start before Nixon called a timeout to settle her players down. Following the timeout, the Wolverines went on a 17-2 run and never looked back. Sophomore guard Tina Doughty led all scorers with 16 points, most of which came in the first half.

Senior forward Kaycee Mansfield was excellent as well, especially defensively. She had a tough assignment guarding the Highlanders’ leading scorer Ravyen Johnson. Mansfield and others held Johnson to only nine points.

“I think it all started on the defensive end,” Mansfield said. “We were locked in and focused and we buckled down on Ravyen Johnson.”

Forward Sammie Jensen made her return following a two-game absence for a stomach illness. She didn’t miss a beat. She recorded her fifteenth double-double of the season with 14 points and 17 rebounds.

If the Wolverines win their remaining conference games, they will be GWC champions. That looks likely considering the way Jensen and Doughty have been playing lately. Jensen has played great all season, but the emergence of Doughty as a perimeter threat has added a new dimension to this team.

In non-conference play, Doughty was averaging a respectable nine points per game. Since conference play, she has exploded onto the scene with record-setting performances, and her points per game average has increased to 15.

Not only has Doughty answered the call at just the right time, but the Wolverines now have a player they can build around for next season, their first in the Western Athletic Conference.

But first things first, the Wolverines have a chance to enjoy the driver’s seat for the rest of the year and even into next year. In order to retain their seat, they will need to win two more conference games on the road, something the Wolverines have struggled with all year.

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