Wolverines’ season comes to an end after a 72-68 loss to Trailblazers

Reading Time: 2 minutes Despite a hard-fought game, the Wolverines were unable to hold on to win against the No. 5 Utah Tech Trailblazers in round one of the WAC Tournament on Monday afternoon.

The Wolverines attempt to wrestle the ball free from a Trailblazer player (Photo courtesy of UVU Athletics).

Reading Time: 2 minutes

The 12-seeded Utah Valley University women’s basketball team’s season came to an end after falling 72-68 to the No. 5 Utah Tech University Trailblazers in the first round of the Hercules Tires Western Athletic Conference Basketball Tournament on Monday afternoon at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.

After the Trailblazers took a 23-19 lead at the end of the first quarter, the Wolverines were able to outscore DSU 22-13 in the second quarter to take a 41-36 lead into halftime. However, the Trailblazers outscore the Wolverines 36-27 in the second half to steal the win over the Wolverines with a final score of 72-68.

As a team, the Wolverines shot at a 43.1% field goal percentage, 36.4% three-point percentage, and 90.9% from the free-throw line. UVU was able to score 24 points in the paint and 15 points on second-chance opportunities.

Shay Fano led the way for the Wolverines, recording a double-double with 18 points and 12 rebounds. Fano also went 5-for-6 the in her one-and-ones. Kaylee Byon also scored in double-digits, adding 16 points, four assists, and four rebounds. Five other Wolverines scored five or more points in the game as well.

The Trailblazers opened the first quarter with an 11-0 run in the first two minutes of play. The Wolverines, led by Fano and Eleyana Tafisi with nine combined points, were able to respond with a 15-4 run to take their first lead of the game with a 15-14 advantage with 3:22 remaining in the quarter. However, DSU was able to close the period out on a 9-4 run to go up 23-19.

The Wolverines opened the second quarter on an 8-0 run to retake the lead 27-23 with 7:49 left to be played in the half. The Trailblazers were able to outscore the Wolverines 13-8 over the next five minutes to commandeer the lead 36-35. Though, Elina Tausinga was able to help the Wolverines close out the half strong, scoring five points in contribution to a 7-0 run to help UVU take a 41-36 lead into the locker room.

DSU came back into the game in the third quarter like an avalanche, outscoring the Wolverines 18-9 to retake the lead 54-50 with 2:22 left to play in the frame. Fano and Tafisi quickly helped give the Wolverines a 5-0 run in response to claim a 55-54 edge over the Trailblazers with 1:15 remaining in the quarter. However, DSU went on a 4-2 run to close out the quarter, stealing a 58-57 advantage over the UVU. 

The Wolverines kept fighting hard to start the fourth quarter, opening the period with a 9-2 run to go back up 66-60 with 5:28 left in regulation. The Trailblazers then erupted for a 12-2 run to close out the game to take a 72-68 victory over the Wolverines and advance to the quarterfinals.

DSU also finishes the season 3-0 against the Wolverines.

UVU finishes its season with an overall record of 6-24 and a conference record of 3-15 in the WAC. Through their 30 games played, the Wolverines went 5-9 at home, 1-14 on the road, and 0-1 in neutral-site games. The Wolverines also finished their season on a seven-game skid.

The Wolverines now look to bounce back with a strong campaign in the 2023-24 season as they potentially return a now experienced young roster with stars such as Fano, Byon, and forward Jaeden Brown.

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