Another down-to-the-wire game took place on Saturday, Jan. 25 for the Utah Valley women’s basketball team. The Wolverines hosted a 7-8 Grand Canyon University team, who held an even .500 record in WAC play before the game. GCU ultimately came out victorious, taking down the Wolverines 66-59.
The game started out on a positive note when UVU senior forward Jordan Holland sunk her 1,000th-career point. An and-one opportunity gave the Wolverines their first three points of the game, followed by two successful charity stripe points by sophomore guard Maria Carvalho.
This game, like the loss to CSU Bakersfield, came down to the last few minutes. Everything was squared away at 44 points a piece to start the last 10 minutes of play.
UVU has had a history of solid fourth quarter performances thus far this season. Missed shots and confusion on the defensive end tarnished that history and kept the Wolvines from taking the lead the entire quarter.
“It came down to the small things,” said UVU head coach Dan Nielson. “I know it’s cliche to say, but it’s the truth; it’s easy to do the small things when you’re frustrated with losing, when you start winning are you able to continue doing those?”
An 11-point lead loomed over the Wolverines with three and a half minutes left to play. Holland, with the help of sophomore forward Nehaa Sohail, was able to cut that deficit to five points with two minutes remaining. However, the Lopes would answer nearly everything the Wolverines put up.
“Once they got that big lead we were kind of scrambling,” Nielson said. “A really frustrating game by us, probably the worst defensive half we’ve played in a month.”
With 24 seconds left, the Wolverines found themselves again within five points after free throws from GCU sophomore guard Laura Piera got them a seven-point lead. Holland made it to the line to shoot two but only converted one to the board.
The rest would be history as the Wolverines were forced to foul to keep GCU from running off the clock.
“The good news is we are still 5-2 in conference, and the way the conference is, we still have a chance to win it, but we are going to have to buckle down and get back to the basics,” said Nielson.
Four players from both teams saw double-digit points in the game. The leading scorer was GCU freshman forward Mae Bryant who came off the bench with a double-double of 16 points and 10 rebounds.
On the Wolverine side of the ball, it was Holland who led the way with 15 points, giving her a total of 1,013 career points. Sohail, Carvalho and sophomore center Josie Williams were the other three Wolverines who put up double-digits.
The Wolverines will now hit the road for two away games, first against California Baptist on Wednesday, Jan. 29 then at Seattle on Saturday, Feb. 8.. With this loss, the Wolverines are now tied for the top spot with Kansas City.