Tough loss to start the season for women’s basketball

Senior guard Alexis Cortez fights her way to the basket. (Photo by Hunter Hall)

The start of the women’s basketball season didn’t go as planned for Utah Valley. They lost on the road to the University of California, Santa Barbara, 59-51 on Tuesday, Nov. 5.

After a promising, high-tempo win in their exhibition game the week prior, the Wolverines still had plenty to work on — outside shooting in particular. UVU took 20 shots from behind the arc, only making three. Sophomore forward Eve Braslis, senior forward Jordan Holland and senior guard Alexis Cortez contributed the nine points from downtown.

The Gauchos started off the afternoon with an 8-0 run, half of those points coming from early free throws. Holland was the first to get the Wolverines on the board with an easy jumper, but that would be the only basket for UVU for a while. Meanwhile, UCSB would go on another run of nine unanswered points, giving them a 13-point lead halfway through the first quarter. 

UCSB maintained control through the majority of the second quarter as well, but not without Braslis putting up a fight. She put up seven points, shooting 3-7 from the field and added her shot from deep. If it weren’t for baskets from Holland and sophomore guard Maria Carvalho, Baslis’ seven points would have been it for the Wolverines in the quarter. The half ended with the largest deficit of the afternoon 37-23, in favor of the Gauchos.

UVU head coach Dan Nielson must have given a powerful speech in the locker room, because the Wolverines outscored the Gauchos 19-8. This time it was Cortez who took charge and put up eight points of her own. The fourth quarter on the other hand was the exact opposite, being outscored 9-14. 

“Offensively we got into a flow in the third quarter and were able to cut it to one, but ultimately we need to learn to execute better down the stretch. We’ll get back to practice tomorrow and correct some things and get ready for SUU on Saturday,” said Nielson.

The Wolverines trailed the Gauchos the entire game, getting within one point in the fourth quarter, 45-44, but never quite got over the hump. 

UVU will return home to play Southern Utah University on Saturday, Nov. 9, at 4 p.m. MST.

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