Sophomore guard Maria Carvalho did it again when she led the Wolverines to their fifth-straight win. Utah Valley University hosted Seattle University on Saturday, Jan. 11, and battled every minute to see the final score of 70-58 in favor of the Wolverines.
A sloppy first half from both teams didn’t make for great basketball, but the competitive edge by the Wolverines seemed to help. Very few buckets were unanswered as the largest lead of the half was only four points. A big thanks to Carvalho, who shot 75% from the field and the arc, resulting in eight first-half points.
“Maria’s last two games she’s been awesome, I’m proud of her for turning the corner,” said UVU head coach Dan Nielson. “I think it’s safe to say she’s comfortable and we wouldn’t be winning like we are without her.”
Both teams came out of the break playing significantly better. SU more than doubled their points, while the Wolverines got pretty close to doing the same in the third quarter alone. UVU found themselves with an early 10-point lead in the third quarter, but SU free throws and a five-to-nothing run brought some hope to the Redhawks.
Seattle was given the opportunity to rack up 15 free points from the charity stripe in the third quarter alone. Luckily for the Wolverines, only eight of those attempts resulted in points on the board, but the point difference to end the quarter was a scary one point in favor of UVU.
The defensive effort by the Wolverines made all of the difference to close out the game. They held the Redhawks to only 12 points in the final 10 minutes of play — only allowing three players a chance to score. UVU capitalized on their defense by dropping 23 points in the quarter among five players.
Carvalho finished the night with 19 points on 6-of-9 shooting and 4-of-7 from deep and played the entirety of the game. Three teammates also racked up double-digit points, including 15 from senior forward Jordan Holland.
Sophomore center Josie Williams added a double-double with 11 points and 10 boards, with senior guard Alexis Cortez contributing 10 points. Cortez, Holland and Williams were all perfect from the charity stripe, combining for 16 made free throws.
The buzzer sounded, signifying the end of the game with cheers in celebration of the Wolverines going 3-0 in WAC play. UVU will now travel for their first away WAC matchup to face reigning WAC Champions, New Mexico State, on Thursday, Jan. 16.
“Mentally we have to prepare for New Mexico State, they’ve won this league a lot of times for a reason,” said Nielson.
The WAC standings showed the Wolvines back on top, with CSU Bakersfield next in line with a record of 2-0. The only other team to have a perfect WAC record is NMSU at 2-0 at the end of the night on Jan. 11.