Wolverines fall to No. 1 seed SFA in WAC semi-final

Dan Nielson talks to his team during a timeout (Photo courtesy of Nathan Jackson).

The Utah Valley women’s basketball season came to a close as the Wolverines were run out of the Orleans Arena by the regular season WAC champions Stephen F. Austin, 68-42 in the semifinals of the Hercules Tires WAC Tournament in Las Vegas.

The Wolverines struggled to break SFA’s full-court press all afternoon, being forced into a season-high 26 turnovers. Josie Williams recorded her 24th double-double with 10 points and 15 rebounds, but all the points and all but two rebounds came in the first half.  

Second team All-WAC honoree  Zya Nugent was unstoppable in the second half for SFA, posting 19 of her game-high 25 points after intermission. The Ladyjacks outscored the Wolverines 41-16 in the second half. 

UVU went blow for blow with SFA in the first half, leading by as many as six midway through the second quarter, but momentum began to shift in the Ladyjacks’ favor towards the end of the second quarter. SFA shot 40% compared to the Wolverines’ 42.5%, but the Ladyjacks took 27 more shots thanks to the turnovers and 14 offensive rebounds. 

The two teams traded the first two buckets of the second half, but the turnovers finally started to catch up to the Wolverines with a 28-8 SFA run across halftime. 

Despite leading by over 20, the Ladyjacks continued to press up until the closing moments. The Wolverines scored the first four points of the fourth quarter to cut the lead down to 11 at 49-38, but UVU scored just four more points in the final eight minutes of action.

The Wolverines have a lot to look forward to next season, returning the entire team in addition to new additions coming into the program, and many of the top teams in the conference are losing their top players.

SFA advances to the WAC Championship on Saturday, March 11 at 3 p.m. MDT on ESPN+ and are looking to repeat as conference tournament champions for the second straight year after winning the Southland Conference tournament last season. 

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