Wolverines upset GCU in double-digit win
A 13-0 run to start off the game was just the momentum the Utah Valley women’s basketball team needed to take down top-ranked Grand Canyon University. The Wolverines walked into the Lopes home court, took the 64-54 win and walked out with smiles on their faces on Saturday, Feb. 22.
While holding the 15-9 Lopes to only four points in the first period is impressive, holding them to under 10 points in two quarters is almost unheard of. Well, the Wolverines did just that, outscoring GCU 13-4 in the first quarter and 13-9 in the final quarter.
“The girls came out and set a good defensive tone right from the beginning of the game,” said UVU head coach Dan Nielson to the UVU sports information director.
Senior forward Jordan Holland led the charge for the Wolverines, putting away 20 points, a season-high for her, on 6-of-14 shooting and an impressive 3-of-4 from behind the arc. She didn’t start to shine until the second half, as she only had five points in the first half.
The Wolverines led by as many as 15 points in the second quarter, at 24-9, but the Lopes cut into that deficit drastically, scoring 22 points in the quarter alone. Luckily for UVU, they put up 20 of their own points but they only sat on a seven-point lead heading into the locker room at halftime.
GCU came out eager to outscore the Wolverines, putting 19 points on the board. UVU didn’t give up though, adding 18 points of their own. The deficit was cut scary close for the Wolverines, when GCU’s senior forward Da’Jah Daniel made back-to-back layups, making it a two-point game early in the third quarter.
UVU never gave up the lead or gave the Lopes the chance to tie the game. In fact, that two-point lead only happened three times the whole game. The rest of the way, the Wolverines held more comfortable leads.
The final quarter of play started with UVU up 51-49. Holland came out and added eight more points to almost equal the entire point total for GCU in the quarter. The Wolverines would end the game with a 10-point win, when who else but Holland kissed the ball off the glass for an easy layup.
“We got into some foul trouble and had to adjust a lot and everyone who came in stepped up and played big,” said Nelson. “I’m especially proud of the defensive effort and our execution down the stretch. It speaks a lot to the resiliency of this group to go out and get two road wins this week.”
An area of play where the Wolverines have continued to strive is getting to the foul line more than their opponents. They not only got to the line, but they put up 17 points from the line — GCU only took eight shots from the line the whole game. Out rebounding also played a big factor in this game as UVU pulled down 16 more boards.
With this win, UVU for now, holds the solo third spot in WAC standings while the loss for GCU bumps them down to second — though they hold the same record as number one Kansas City.
The Wolverines will return home to play their final home game of the regular season on Wednesday, Feb. 25 in the Lockhart Arena when they face Cal Baptist.