Maria Carvalho sets up the pick and roll (Photo courtesy of UVU Athletics).

The Utah Valley women’s basketball team defeated WAC opponent Chicago State at home on Thursday by a score of 82-62. The Wolverines improved to 9-10 on the season and 4-4 in conference play.

The Wolverines got off to a strong start going up 11-3 in the first three minutes of the game. Chicago State responded and the Wolverines gave up a 6-0 run to cut their lead to 11-9. Utah Valley called a timeout and came back out refocused as the team went on a 7-0 run of their own to go up 18-9. The Wolverines continued to play well and found themselves leading 28-19 after the first quarter.

The Wolverines were on fire in the first quarter as they had nine assists as a team and shot 77% percent from the field. However, turnovers prevented them from having a bigger lead as they committed five in the quarter. Junior forward Babalu Stewart led the team in scoring with a 12 point quarter. Junior guard, Maria Carvalho added eight points in the quarter. 

For as well as the Wolverines had played, they were unable to pull away to a big lead as Chicago State was able to keep things close. However, once the Wolverines got into the penalty they were able to go on a 7-0 run to end the half and go up 47-31.

As a team, the Wolverines took advantage of their free-throw attempts by going 13-17 from the line. The team cooled down shooting a bit as their percentage dropped to 60% from the field however, their defense was strong as they were able to hold Chicago State to 37% shooting in the first half. Stewart had a great first half as she had a career-high 18 points by halftime.

Coming out of halftime the Wolverines struggled with turnovers as they had seven in the half. Their defense remained strong, holding the Cougars to just four points halfway through the third quarter. Towards the end of the quarter, the Wolverines were able to find breathing room and build a 59-35 lead. The Wolverines struggled to close the third quarter as Chicago State went on a 10-2 run and closed the gap to 61-45 at the end of the third quarter. 

Chicago State looked like they may come back on the Wolverines as the lead was cut to 13 points early in the fourth quarter. Utah Valley responded by going on an 8-0 run to go up by 21 points and regain control of the game. The Wolverines went on to win 82-62.

As a team, the Wolverines shot 57% from the field and had a great passing game with 21 assists. The team did struggle with turnovers as they committed 19 but played well enough in other areas to still win by 20. Carvalho finished the game with 20 points and seven assists. Stewart had a career-high 22 points and added five rebounds. Junior center Josie Williams did a little bit of everything as she finished with 18 points, 16 rebounds, six assists, and five blocks.

The Wolverines’ next game will be at home against Stephen F. Austin on Thursday, Feb. 3, at 6 p.m. MT. The game will be aired on ESPN+. 

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