If only the women’s basketball team could have captured an ounce of its play at home to take on the road this season, things would have been much different.
A perfect 12-0 at the McKay Center with a 94-82 win against Cal State Bakersfield in their final game in Orem, the women could do no wrong at home.
Wins against Gonzaga and Seton Hall came at home. But in unfriendly confines, the team lost to the New Jersey Institute of Technology and Cal State Bakersfield.
On the road, they’ve done little right.
Utah Valley lost nine straight road games – 10 straight away from the McKay Center, with the loss to Chicago State in a game that was moved to Timpanogos High School – to finish out its regular season.
The Independent tournament in Texas over the weekend gave the Wolverines a chance to improve on their 3-8 road record.
"If we play well, I feel like we can win the tournament," Utah Valley coach Cathy Nixon said.
They opened the tournament with a road game against the host school, Texas-Pan American but their road woes continued in a 71-64 loss.
The two games the women played against Bakersfield are perfect examples of the transformation that happens when the team hits the McKay Center hardwood.
On the road, Utah Valley fell 94-78 to Bakersfield, trailed by as many as 33 points, and turned the ball over 20 times. The Wolverines couldn’t stop the Roadrunners’ outside shooting as Bakersfield hit 10 3-pointers and out-shot Utah Valley 58 percent to 23 percent behind the 3-point line.
"We came out with a defensive mindset, and they missed some shots," Cornejo said. "Sometimes on the road our shots don’t fall in, and we let it go on defense and offense."
At home, against the Roadrunners, the Wolverines were never threatened. The outside shots fell as Utah Valley led by 15 points at halftime, made 7-of-16 behind the 3-point line and four Wolverines scored in double figures, led by Robyn Fairbanks with 23 to go with 10 rebounds.
"Offensively, we shared the ball well and made it difficult for them to pressure us," Nixon said. "We kind of got a little bit of rhythm and confidence back offensively."
Confidence has been something the team hasn’t had much of on the road. With games against Duke, New Mexico State and BYU on the road, it wasn’t an easy schedule.
With a loss in the first road of the Independent tournament, Utah Valley failed to win a road game the final three months of the season.