The women’s basketball team faced off against UC Riverside on Thursday, Nov. 21, in sunny Riverside, California. Poor shooting inside, outside and from the free throw line led to a Utah Valley loss, their fourth of the season.
Both programs entered the game with desperate desires to win. UVU looking for their first win on the season, while UCR looked to break their three-game losing streak. Only one would have their way and the Highlanders made sure the 0-4 Wolverines wouldn’t get theirs.
UCR came out of the gate shooting extremely well, knocking down nine of their 11 field goals and 3-of-4 buckets from deep. Add 100 percent from the charity stripe in the first quarter, and the Highlanders were on their way to having quite a night.
The Wolverines didn’t quite have the same opening luck. Putting up only 11 points, UVU struggled from every aspect of the floor in the first 10 minutes of play. It was sophomore forward Eve Braslis who scored first for the Wolverines, almost four and a half minutes into the game with a single free throw. This would ignite a good night for Braslis as she finished the night with 16 points, four rebounds and a steal.
“Losing is really hard, but one thing I love about sports is the opportunities it provides us to be pushed outside of our comfort zones,” said UVU head coach Dan Nielson on Twitter after the game. “Accept it and you’ll grow. Fight it and you’ll get passed by. It’s pretty simple. I’m excited for (this team) to keep growing and improving.”
Two Highlanders took control of the game and nearly outscored the entire Wolverine roster. Junior guard Keilanei Cooper and senior guard Jannon Otto combined for 43 points, 21 and 22 respectively. The duo were perfect from the free throw line and shot an impressive 17-for-24 from the field together.
It wouldn’t be until the fourth quarter that the Wolverines would find part of their rhythm. Statistically speaking, UVU shot the best in the final 10 minutes of play, with 38.5 percent from the field — a big improvement from 14.3 percent in the previous quarter.
A silver lining in all of the sub-par statistics was, and has continued to be, the success from the charity stripe. The Wolverines are shooting 64.2 percent from the line on the season, they shot on par with the season with 64.3 percent on the day, getting to the line 28 times. On the other end of the ball, UVU controlled their fouling composure and only allowed UCR six trips to the line.
After 40 minutes of play, the horn sounded with a score of 53-67 in favor of the Highlanders. The Wolverines were able to stay as close as they did with a defensive presence the final three quarters, as they held UCR to fewer and fewer points each quarter.
The Wolverines will play one more game on the road at Boise State on Nov. 26 before returning home to host the University of Antelope Valley on Nov. 30.