Ottawa University Arizona participated in their first collegiate women’s basketball game against UVU – and the Spirit put up a fight. OUAZ kept it close in the first quarter, scoring 12 of their 16 points off of three pointers.
“I expect every team we play to show up and work hard. There’s not one team on our schedule that isn’t going to come out and play hard,” said Cathy Nixon, UVU head coach.
The Wolverines responded with 18 points of their own, six being put up by sophomore guard Gabrielle Leos. It was clear from the beginning that this would not be a low intensity exhibition game for either team. The first quarter ended 18-16 with the Wolverines leading.
Leos continued to play well, putting up another five points and helping the Wolverines create a substantial lead in the second quarter. Britta Spencer, junior guard for UVU, put up nine points of her own in the first half. The Wolverines only allowed two three pointers from OUAZ as they finished the second quarter ahead 38-30.
The third quarter started with a run from the Spirit, and they kept it close. Taylor Christensen, senior guard for UVU, kept the Spirit in check with two great and-one plays in the third quarter. The Wolverines increased their total lead to 14 points, leading at the end of the third 52-38.
The Wolverines dominated the fourth, playing well as a team and limiting OUAZ to 51 points. The Wolverines finished with 69 of their own. Despite an initially close game, UVU played dominantly and ran a fluid offense in the second half. Leos finished with 17 points as the leading scorer in the game, with Mariah Seals finishing with 13.
Christensen stuffed the stat sheet and by the end of the game had 10 points, 4 rebounds, 4 steals and 4 assists. Visibly she was the emotional leader for the team, and previously had said that creating energy both on and off the court was one of her major focuses this season.
“Playing a game against an opponent just gives us a chance to evaluate ourselves. Compared to a practice, you get a heightened sense of awareness with your players,” Nixon said. “Today we showed some things that we definitely need to get better at.”