Wolverines suffer worst loss in program history after losing 97-27 to the Utes

The Utah Valley women’s basketball team suffered a 70-point defeat to the Utah Utes on Friday in Salt Lake City.

Eleyana Tafisi brings the ball up the court (Photo courtesy of UVU Athletics).

Utah Valley University’s women’s basketball team (1-1) was dominated 97-27 by the University of Utah Utes on Friday afternoon at the Jon M. Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City, Utah.

The loss comes as the Wolverines gave up 23 points or more in each quarter and failed to score 10 points in a single quarter.

The 70-point loss marks the worst in program history. 

The Wolverines haven’t given up this many points since a 98-69 defeat to the California Baptist Lancers on Jan. 8, 2021. UVU hasn’t scored less than 30 points since Jan. 13, 2005, when they lost to the University of  New Mexico Lobos 69-29 which was the first and only time they scored less than 30 prior to playing the Utes.

The Wolverines had 12 points in the paint and scored 11 points off the bench. Meanwhile, turnovers were an issue for the Wolverines as the Utes scored 50 points off turnovers, 45 points from their bench, and 42 points inside the paint. Utah also capitalized on second chances, putting 11 points in their put-backs. 

Sophomore Eleyana Tafisi led way for UVU, putting up seven points, five rebounds, and three steals. Wyoming transfer Jaeden Brown complimented Tafisi with seven points of her own, five rebounds, one block, and one steal. Tessa Chaney was the next-highest scorer for the Wolverines with five points while three other Wolverines scored two points. Junior Shay Fano was held scoreless after scoring a team-high 21 points against Park University. 

After a quick score by Brown, the Wolverines opened the first quarter with a quick 2-0 lead before the Utes went on a 20-0 run to take a 20-2 lead with  1:30 left in the quarter. Brown ended the run with a three but the Utes scored five more points to finish the quarter with a 25-5 lead.

The Utes’ momentum continued into the second quarter as they opened up with a 20-3 run in the first six minutes. With a little over two minutes left, Chaney scored four points consecutively to end a 4:09 scoring drought for the Wolverines and cut the deficit down 45-12. The Utes then ended the quarter with a 5-0 run of their own to take a 50-12 lead into halftime.

Utah used three separate big runs in the third quarter to outscore the Wolverines 24-6 in the frame to take a 74-18 lead. The Wolverines six points came from two free throws from Brown, a jumper from Mae Afoa, and another jumper from Kayla Anderson

Tafisi opened the fourth quarter for the Wolverines with a layup before the Utes erupted for a 12-0 run to take an 86-20 lead with 6:19 left in regulation. Kylee Mabry ended the Utes’ run with a fastbreak jumper to put UVU at 22 points. The Utes would then go on a 9-2 run before Tafisi scored her final three points. Isabel Palmer called game for the Utes with one final layup to give the Utes the 97-27 victory. 

Since their first-ever matchup in 2004, the Utes lead the series against the Wolverines 9-0. Eight of those games have been played at the Jon M. Huntsman Center.

The Wolverines will next travel to the Cox Pavilion in Las Vegas, Nevada to take on the UNLV Rebels (2-0) on Wednesday. The game can be streamed on the Mountain West Network.

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